Glossary of Terms for Singing
An audio track created to act as a metronome under your song. It will help keep everything lined up so you can more easily make corrections and record punch-ins.
Refers to the first drafts of singing that act as a roadmap for the band or engineer/producer. These are not needing to be your best quality as they will not typically be heard by the public unless you are recording a “Live” album.
Shorthand for voice or vocals
A sheet used by musicians to display the chords of a song/tune in a shorthand form (the same as a lead sheet – see below)
Refers to each time you run through the tune and record. (1st take, 2nd take etc)
The act of recording tracks (vocal, instrumental, background Vox, etc)
Punch in (or Drop in)
Refers to any spot where you are recording a small portion of a larger section. Usually used for recording a better take in one part of the piece or phrase that needs correction. (example “Let’s punch in that spot where you ran out of breath because the rest of the section was awesome!”)
How much of your recording you hear and can sing along with before the engineer will punch in your new take. (Example “Can you start the pre-roll on the last phrase of the verse and I will punch in at the chorus?”)
bpm-beats per minute
Refers to the metronome marking that will be used to create a click track.
Used by musicians to play and follow along, will include chord symbols and lyrics but not full written out orchestrations. Typically used in jazz, pop, etc tunes that are not arranged with written out parts.
Offers lyrics for singer to follow along with and make notes during the session. This will also help the engineer quickly recognize the form of your song.
Headphones used in the studio so you can hear the song/instruments you are singing along to
The microphone.method the producer or engineer uses to talk to you via the headphones while you are singing.
A method of recording/tracking where the singer sings and records the exact same part twice. It gives the effect of a thicker stronger sounding vocal in the final production.
A very short delay in the sound which the human brain uses to understand the nature of the room. A cathedral has a long reverberation time whilst a small room (eg a tiled toilet) has a short ‘rev time’. Trying singing on each one and you’ll get the idea.
Fancy tone controls which can change the sound of recorded audio such as boost the bass or treble, but with a great deal more accuracy than bass and treble controls.