Arrangement – The structure, instrumentation, and harmony of a song. This would also include harmonic variations, key changes, and general rhythmic feel.
Orchestration – Similar to arranging, but implies the use of a classical orchestra, or orchestral instruments.
Electronic Orchestration / Realization – Same as above, but instead of using live musicians, electronic versions of orchestral sounds are utilized. This is a less expensive alternative, but will not have the same sonic quality as the “real thing”.
Score – Printed document which has all the notes and other musical information for all the instruments in the arrangement / orchestration.
Part – Printed page which contains the notes and other musical information for an individual musician to read.
Tracking – The recording of the basic instrumentation of a song.
Rhythm Section – Usually consists of Piano/Keyboard, Bass, Drums and Guitar. This provides the harmonic and rhythmic backbone of a song. May not be needed if arrangement is primarily orchestral.
Overdubbing – The recording of additional instruments, or other elements, which will be added to the basic tracks.
Sweetening – The recording of acoustic instruments to augment, or replace sounds which are created electronically.
Comping – The process of combining the best parts of several different recordings, or “takes”, to create the best possible performance. This is standard procedure for a lead vocal. In addition, there are many tools available which can help to perfect a lead vocal by removing any anomalies of pitch or rhythm.
Mixing – The process of combining all the recorded tracks into a single stereo audio file. This includes adjusting the relative volume of all the tracks, adding equalization, reverb, and other effects to create the final mix.
Mastering – Processing of the final mix to maximize volume and sonic impact of a song.