How many instruments playing at once in your track?

I find myself overloading my music with too many tracks, maybe too many sounds at once…

I read in a magazine some time ago that a featured producer (sorry can’t remember who) mention that he always found that the optimum for getting space into music was to have 3 instruments playing at the same time, with maybe 4 max, eg. drums, bass, guitar, keys. But if another sound was added, to drop one at the same time so that the balance of instruments is about the same throughout.

I know this seems like a generalisation but how many instruments do you find yourself using… at the same time in a track, and do you drop an instrument when adding another?

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It all depends on genre of music.
Usually I have around 30-50 tracks in my project.
In cinematic music it goes far more than this.
And it’s always more than 4 instruments.Only in the bowed-string section there are 4 instruments and there much more in the brass and woods,percussion.
Just look at the notes of different orchestrations.
Maybe in dance music 4 instruments could be enough,but there will be some outstanding layering technique for sure and many-many cool Hooks and Sound Effects to add depth and motion to the track.
Also 4 instruments could be more than enough in live rock-band situation,where just single distorted guitar can create a lot of noise )))

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Thanks for the comment…

That a lot of tracks! … but if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.

Yes the producer may of been referring to rock music - I imagine even Led Zep were in the 4 instrument region with maybe some double tracking and layering?

I usually have aout 20-30 tracks and try to keep everything neat and clean.
My best seller has 28 tracks :point_down:

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It depends on what kind of music you do. EDM need more sound and tracks layered than band kind music. Piano music is just Piano and some string background, acoustic can be only guitar…

It depends.
For pop tracks : about 15-20 tracks (but not at once)
For orchestral tracks : minimum 30 tracks (all at once !)

But sometimes it’s just one or two tracks (piano, guitar)

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I reckon this producer was talking shit. I’m VERY sceptical about a lot of the nonsense these producers and mixers talk about in interviews, it’s always exaggerated or deliberately obtuse or over simplified general advice. They create rules which are more honoured in the breach than in the observance.