Copying Referenced Recordings

Reinventing the wheel?

If you are looking to achieve a special sound or feel, it can be useful to use a reference recording as a template for your track.

If you are inspired by a certain track or artist, you may insert that track into your own, and build upon that.

Find the tempo of a reference audio track
  • Drop a copy of the referenced track onto an empty track in your DAW.
  • Temporarily edit the beginning so it starts on the first clearly defined beat.
  • Align this point with a whole bar in your DAW,
  • Adjust DAW tempo to keep sync from this point.
  • When the tempo has been found, edit the start point back to get the full intro of the track

It is beneficial to match the tempo as closely as possible while copying elements from the reference, so you can play your version and the reference alongside each other for the full duration. Keep the reference music on a muted track in your arrangement and listen to it periodically to check if your track is heading the right way.

Copy first, change later.

A useful technique when creating a track to match a reference song, is to first copy the main elements from the reference – the structure, the groove and the signature sounds. Once your track starts to sound like the reference you can start to change and add bits and parts to differentiate it. If you keep everything in MIDI or time/pitch editable audio, you can even change the key and speed later to further alienate it from the reference.