Thursday, May 21, 2020

You Be the Drummer - Milton Banana, "Cidade Vazia"

If you listen to a lot of music from the 1960s, when stereo was the new hip thing, you may notice that there is some seriously hard panning, presumably because the technology was still relatively new.  Sometimes things are panned to the point where certain instruments are only heard out of one speaker.

This can be really beneficial when transcribing, as it's possible to cut out half of the instruments and isolate more of what you want to hear.  A little bit of fiddling with the EQ can make this even more effective.  I've done this quite a lot in my own transcribing, but for some stupid reason it never occurred to me to do this in reverse.

The idea struck me the other day as I was transcribing "Cidade Vazia", and in playing around with it I figured out how to take this concept a step further in order to make play along tracks.

In this recording, the piano and bass are panned hard left, with almost no drums on that side.  So I dropped the track into GarageBand and panned the channel hard left.  I then copied the file to a new track and, using a built-in GarageBand plugin, flipped the signal so that piano and bass were in the right channel, and then panned that track hard right.  What I was left with was a version of the song with the drums almost completely gone.  I then dug into the EQ, bringing the bass up a bit amongst a few other things, which further pronounced the effect.

So, I now have the original Milton Banana recording of "Cidade Vazia" with almost no drums in it, essentially creating the best play along track you could ask for, and I share it with you today.  Check out the transcription in the previous post and enjoy!


  1. Brilliant job, a young student of mind who for some unusual reason is actually getting into Bossa will really benefit form this.

    1. Glad to hear it! I'll try to get a few more up soon.

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