In most digital recording programs, you have the option to send audio tracks to either side of the speaker, almost like you are moving a person to the right or left while they are singing. This really makes a mix sound nice and full, and helps to differentiate certain parts of a song.
Often times, in the Chorus or "hook" of a song, you will hear multiple tracks layered, and by sending each track to a different side of the speaker, you can get a great blend. Most panning is triggered by a wheel or virtual knob that you can move to the left or right.
A great method for mixing is to imagine that there are several singers standing around a mic in a semi-circle. Move each track by a different amount, virturally placing the different background parts in a fan shape, left to right, with the lead vocal in the middle.
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