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What Is A Scratch Track?

If you’re a musician or are somebody that has been around music recording sessions. Scratch track is obviously a term that you’ve come across before.

A Scratch track is simply a rough recorded guide of a section or a song that acts a reference when recording the final takes of instruments or vocals. A Scratch track can be a vocal or instrument play through that a person follows as the guide When it’s time to record vocals or instruments.

Scratch tracks are very important and are something you’ll find used in all genres because it makes work easier and can be a great way to illustrate and communicate the intent behind a composition or song.

Having worked with so many musicians, I know for a fact that Scratch tracks serve and play an important role in the creation of music.

With that said, let me get into some finer points that make Scratch tracks a key important thing.


If you’ve been in enough music recording situations you know how important it is to have some general direction as to how the recordings should go.

For the artist, having a scratch track laid out can make it that much easier to simply write and record in accordance with the general direction that the scratch track is offering.

This can save a whole lot of time that would otherwise be spent trying to figure out how to record through a song.

The same goes for instrument players. A Scratch track can give them an idea of how they can record and play their instruments in accordance with what is needed.

Sometimes you may be working on a song and communicating an idea to a musician so they can play out the idea can prove to be difficult….

but if you record a scratch track, they can easily follow what you have laid out for them rather than using words to describe how they should play their instrument

A scratch track acts a rough playthrough guide of a song or specific section of a song that vocalists and instrumentalists can follow when recording. So it is very important for all recording.

Loosening up

Scratch tracks can also be a good way to psychologically make a musician feel at ease.

Let’s face it, recording, whether vocals or instruments can be taxing on the nerves especially if you’re new to the world of recording.

Your engineer can therefore have you record a scratch track which can easily be you mouthing off ideas or humming melodies that need not be perfect.

This can help you loosen up and get used to both the environment and the task of recording. So scratch tracks are definitely important.

Most song writers are known for their heavy use of scratch tracks when they’re writing for somebody else. … this is because they can lay down the foundation that the artist can follow when recording the vocals and/or instruments.

Great way to present demos

Another great way that scratch tracks can be used is when you’re submitting a demo.

To prove your ability, you can simply record a scratch track as it can serve as a great way to show what you can do.

Furthermore scratch tracks are a great way of showing your ability to come up with ideas.

Therefore you can record various scratch tracks on various instrumentation so you can show the label your range.

Great way to sell beats

Selling beats is a tough business and so is getting your record placed on a major artist project.

To effectively sell beats these days you have to be more creative with not only how you make beats but also how you present and sell them.

One effective way to sell your beats or ensure that an artist uses them for a placement is by recording a scratch track over the beat you send them.

This is not to say they’ll use your idea but it can give the artist some general direction and alternative ideas of how they can go about recording over the beat.

In some cases, if the scratch track idea is good enough. The artist may end up using your idea and if you lucky, they can credit you as one of the writers.

Great way to collaborate

When collaborating with people in different locations it can become pretty difficult to communicate ideas to them.

An effective way of collaboration as well as making sure your collaborator does what you want them to do on a record is by recording a scratch track.

The scratch track can act as a guide that can help collaborators record in accordance with what you need for a song.

So, if you’ve never used a scratch track for collaboratolion, try and use them for your next collaboration and explain to your collaborator that the scratch track is what they should use as a guide and reference.

Great way to paint a picture easily

This a point that has obviously been covered through out this article.

Scratch tracks are a great way to paint a picture and provide enough detail for people intended to record either vocals and instruments.

Good scratch tracks can be a great way to get over writers block or any other creative block that you may experience.

What Is A Scratch Track?
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