ShowTrax is a type of accompaniment CD that can be used as an instrumental track for bands, choirs, or show choirs. ShowTrax is used to help directors with the rhythm, tone, pitch, and dynamics of songs as well as provide an instrumental backdrop when such instruments aren't available.
ShowTrax was created by the Hal Leonard Corporation and is now available for almost all of their songs. A piece that has ShowTrax accompaniment available for it will display one of the two logos at the right on its cover along with the item number. ShowTrax is available on over 1400 musical selections. Upon purchase, a CD is sent with a variety of "Trax" that correlate to the song. The usual order of songs on the ShowTrax CD's is:
- A "full performance" of the piece with vocals (Or side A on a ShowTrax Cassette) There may also be a full performance track for more than one voicing.
- An "accompaniment only" track that includes only the instrumental version of the arrangement. (Or side B)
In addition, some CDs include more "Trax" that start the song at a certain measure of the arrangement for both the full performance and the accompaniment. These "Trax" are generally only used for rehearsal purposes.
Some older ShowTrax cassettes have a spoken introduction. The introduction usually consists of a brief description about the song as well as an advertisement "plug" for an introduction about the song. Sometimes, it has a brief history or origin of the song. However at the end it will always say, "Here is SONG" and then the song will begin.
Here are three examples of a ShowTrax introduction:
"This Kirby Shaw classic captures all the special charm of the great holiday season and is good swingin' fun all the way. Here is 'Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.'"
"Don't miss this powerful Kirby Shaw classic rock arrangement of the eighties mega-hit...Flashdance...What a Feeling"
"Here's a bold, energetic, African style original by Kirby Shaw with Swahili and English Text. That's an exciting show opener, show choir number, or concert theme. Don't miss--Make a Joyful Noise!"
Alfred Publishing offers identical accompaniment CDs for it its choral arrangements which are called SoundTrax CDs.