What is a drum track?
Drum track (singular) refers to a recording of a drum set performance in a piece of music. Other terms used are: drum groove, beat (slang). A drum track is usually a drum set recording mixed to a stereo track.
What are drum tracks?
Drum tracks (plural) usually refer to a multi-track recording of a drum set. All drum components (eg. Hi-hat, snare, kick) are separately miked up and simultaniously recorded to individual tracks of a multi-track recorder through separate channels on a mixer or a mic preamp. This allows for post processing and manipulation of individually recorded drum components. All of the individual tracks play simultaneously in sync with each other to recreate the exact drum performance that was captured. A single song can have anywhere from 2 up to 16 (or more) individual drum tracks that play synchronized.
Drum tracks can also stand as plural of a drum track, representing a recorded collection of individual drum performances rather than individually recorded drum components. Synonym term: beats (slang), drum grooves.
Multi-tracking of drums emerged in the 70's when they were recorded to a 2” magnetic tape. In order to overdub other instruments, it was necessary to have the original 2” tape with the drum session on it. The evolution of digital hard-disc recorders and hi speed Internet has enabled quick and easy transfer of recording sessions to other studios without risking a master copy. This has sprouted into easy collaborations of recording studios and artists physically world-apart.
Thanks to this technology and decreasing cost of recording gear, drummers have been able to record their performances in their own studios (thus eliminating the need for travel, set up, break down) while other instruments can be recorded at separate locations.
Online session drummers have emerged to offer an alternative to traditional ways of recording.