GarageBand Book


Listen -- GarageBand's playing your song

Do you want to bring out your recording artist within? Or do you just believe that life needs a soundtrack? Either way, GarageBand will turn your Mac into a recording studio, and when Tony and the Mac Man strt jammin' in these pages, you'll discover all the amazing things you can do with it. Learn to use loops, make tracks, play real or software instruments, mix and ...
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Listen -- GarageBand's playing your song

Do you want to bring out your recording artist within? Or do you just believe that life needs a soundtrack? Either way, GarageBand will turn your Mac into a recording studio, and when Tony and the Mac Man strt jammin' in these pages, you'll discover all the amazing things you can do with it. Learn to use loops, make tracks, play real or software instruments, mix and shape the sound, distribute your creations--and free the music you have inside.
* Offers insight from stars like Pete Sears, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith
* Covers MIDI keyboards, recording, mixing, using real instruments, managing music, and more
* Lavishly illustrated and loaded with anecdotes, tips, and ideas

"I've discovered a way you CAN live out your fantasies...
Everybody dreams of rock-and-roll glory. But what has held us back for lo these many years? A profound lack of God-given talent. GarageBand is the great leveler, and it's for everybody. Even if you wouldn't know what to do with a Rickenbacker 425 solidbody if Eric Clapton came to your house and personally beat you to death with one, GarageBand still welcomes you into the Family of Jam. You might not be as talented as the Music Gods...but at leat with GarageBand, you can have as much fun making music as they do."
--Andy Ihnatko
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764573224
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/30/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.96 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Bove has played harmonica since he was nine, in various bands you never heard of (such as the Graceful Duck, the Mystic Valley Ramblers, and the Great Next Whatever). But as a founding member of the Flying Other Brothers (, Tony has recently performed with Hall-of-Fame rockers and now uses GarageBand to compose songs.
Tony has kicked around the computer industry for decades, editing the influential Inside Report on New Media newsletter and writing for weekly and monthly magazines, including Computer Currents, Nextworld, The Chicago Tribune Sunday Technology Section, and NewMedia. He also cofounded and edited Desktop Publishing/Publish magazine. Computer trade shows and conferences were known for their informal music gatherings, and Tony was a founding member of Random Axes and other nerd-musician configurations at these events.
When not playing music or doing all those other things, Tony found time to write 20 books on computing, desktop publishing, and multimedia, including The iLife ’04 Book with Andy Ihnatko, iLife All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, and iPod and iTunes For Dummies with Cheryl Rhodes, and a series of books about Macromedia Director, Adobe Illustrator, and PageMaker. Tony has also worked as a director of enterprise marketing for a large software company and as a communications director and technical publications manager. (Got work? Look him up at his site,
Tracing the personal computer revolution back to the Sixties counterculture, Tony went out on a limb and produced a CD-ROM documentary in 1996, Haight-Ashbury in the Sixties (featuring music from the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and theJefferson Airplane). Tony also developed the Rockument music site (, with commentary and radio programs focused on rock music history.

Andy Ihnatkohas been a leading voice in the Macintosh community for over fifteen years. Currently the Chicago Sun-Times’ technology columnist, he contributes to numerous periodicals and is a favorite conference speaker.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Songs in the key of iLife 3
Ch. 2 Adding prerecorded loops 17
Ch. 3 Making music tracks 33
Ch. 4 Mixing the tracks 49
Ch. 5 Playing in iTunes 57
Ch. 6 Using software instruments 73
Ch. 7 Using real instruments 91
Ch. 8 Recording and performing 111
Ch. 9 Editing tracks 133
Ch. 10 All about effects 145
Ch. 11 Mixing and shaping the sound 171
Ch. 12 Managing your music 187
Ch. 13 Putting songs on an iPod 207
Ch. 14 Burning CDs and sharing music 225
Ch. 15 Making slideshows and videos 245
Ch. 16 Putting music videos on DVD 285
Ch. 17 Tips and resources 303
Ch. 18 Twenty GarageBand questions from Aunt Estelle 311
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First Chapter

The GarageBand Book

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-7322-5

Chapter One

Making Music Tracks

In This Chapter

Adding tracks and regions Recording a region of music into a track Moving, copying, and pasting regions Splitting and joining regions Adding a song or song sample as a track

In the '60s, the state-of-the-art recording equipment consisted of four separate tracks. The Beatles had to put their vocals, guitars, bass, and drums on three of the four tracks, reserving the fourth for tape loops. Recording and then playing back the tape loops on different tape machines and feeding the result into that fourth track was even more complicated. Today, studios have an unlimited number of tracks, with at least one track for each instrument.

With GarageBand, you can use as many tracks as you need (up to the limit of what your computer can handle) for both recordings and loops. When you're finished with your song, you can then mix all the separate tracks into two stereo tracks without any loss in sound quality.

An arrangement is a description in writing of how to play a song, much like a recipe. Because it describes notes played in a sequence over time, an arrangement has to show information about the song over time. Arrangers put together charts, sometimes with meticulous musical scores, to produce an arrangement. GarageBand offers a visual depiction of the song using a timeline, with instruments separated into tracks that extend from the beginning to the end of the song, with each track containing a separate musical instrument or voice.

This chapter shows how to create new tracks and add loops and recorded performances to them. It provides a brief overview of the timeline view of the tracks, and shows how to copy and move regions of music within the tracks and to other tracks.


The main part of the GarageBand window shows a timeline of horizontal tracks with different regions representing music. Each track has a header that shows the instrument icon and name. To the right of the header you find the Mixer section of the track, and after that, the timeline area of the window. The timeline area offers a beat ruler with a playhead you can drag to different locations within the song; you can also use the ruler to align regions to beats and measures.

The track's audio information appears as a region within a track, with its duration measured by the timeline beat ruler. A region is the colored rectangle that indicates the duration of a particular track in the timeline. The region shows a waveform representing a Real Instrument sound, or a set of notes representing a Software Instrument sound. Tracks are where you record performances and drag loops; each performance or loop is a region. You can drag the regions within the track to arrange the music.

Creating and deleting a track

To create a track, follow these steps:

1. Click the + button under the track headers to create a new track.

You can also choose Track [right arrow] New Track. The New Track dialog appears, as shown in Figure 3-1, with two tabs: Real Instrument and Software Instrument.

2. Click the Real Instrument or Software Instrument tab.

You can use either a Real or Software Instrument to define a track. Apple Loops come in both flavors. To record a performance with the onscreen keyboard or a USB MIDI keyboard, choose a Software Instrument. To record vocals (or anything else) through the Mac's built-in microphone, choose a Real Instrument such as a one from the Vocals category. Chapter 6 provides more detail about recording with Software Instruments; Chapter 7 describes how to record with Real Instruments such as guitars, and how to use the Mac line-in and microphone options.

3. Select the type of instrument.

Select a category from the list on the left, and then select an instrument sound from the list on the right.

4. Click OK. A new track with the name of the instrument you selected appears in the timeline.

After creating a new track, you can drag a loop from the Loop Browser and drop it into the track: a Real Instrument loop into a Real Instrument track, or a Software Instrument loop into a Software Instrument track. The loop takes on the audio characteristics of the instrument you choose for the track.

To delete a track, select the track by clicking the track header, and choose Track [right arrow] Delete Track. Poof, it's gone.

Tip You can undo just about any action in GarageBand by choosing Edit [right arrow] Undo.

The next section describes the basics on how to record into a track, but to learn more about recording a performance with a Real Instrument, see Chapter 8.

Recording a region of music

To record a performance with a Software Instrument using your onscreen music keyboard, the MidiKeys onscreen keyboard, or a USB MIDI keyboard, or to record your vocals using the Mac's built-in microphone, follow these steps:

1. Click the track header for the track you want to record into.

You can record into a new track or an existing track. To record using the onscreen keyboard or a USB MIDI keyboard, use a Software Instrument track; for vocals, use a Real Instrument track. 2. (Optional) To have the metronome and the Count In option play one measure before starting to record, choose Control [right arrow] Metronome and Control [right arrow] Count In, respectively.

3. (Optional) Vocalists should check their microphone input before singing into your computer.

Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu and click the Sound icon to open the Sound pane. Click the Input tab, and in the list of sound input devices, select the internal microphone (see Figure 3-2). As you sing or speak, you should see purple highlighted indicators that show the input level. Make sure you have highlighted indicators extending to the right but not so far as to reach the right edge. If the indicators reach the edge, the sound is clipped.


For more details on recording with your internal microphone, see Chapter 8.

4. Click the red Record button to start recording, and then start performing using your onscreen keyboard, USB MIDI keyboard, or Mac's internal microphone.

GarageBand starts recording in the track while playing any other tracks, and it lays down a new region in the track's timeline, as shown in Figure 3-3.

5. When you're done performing the new music, click the red Record button again to stop recording, and click the Play button to stop playback.

You can press the spacebar to stop recording and playback simultaneously.

To hear your recording, drag the playhead in the timeline back to the beginning, or to where the new recorded region starts, and then click the Play button or press the spacebar. (The timeline area of the GarageBand window offers a play-head you can drag to different locations within the song.)

GarageBand represents the music with a region in the timeline showing graphically what the sound looks like:

Real Instrument regions: Loops are blue regions showing waveforms, and recordings are purple regions showing waveforms.

Software Instrument regions: Both recordings and loops are green regions showing dashes in a musical scale, with dashes in the upper part of the region signifying higher pitches.

Tip As building blocks for your song, regions help you define pieces of music that may change, depending on the arrangement. For example, you may record a part into a separate Software Instrument track, and then copy the region of that one performance to several places in the timeline, so that you only need to perform the part once.

Changing the beat ruler and timeline

The timeline beat ruler indicates how musical time is broken up into beats and measures. You can use the beat ruler to align musical regions precisely. The timeline offers a grid to snap these segments into place: to turn it on, choose Control [right arrow] Snap to Grid.

You can set the grid to different note values in the time measure, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, thirty-second notes, quarter-note triplets, eighth-note triplets, and so on. To set the grid to a different note value, click the grid button in the upper-right corner of the timeline, as shown in Figure 3-4, and then choose a grid value from the menu. In addition to the note values, you can set the grid to Automatic so that the grid becomes more precise as you zoom in or out with the timeline zoom slider (located under the track names).


The reason why you may want to record pieces of performances into separate regions, rather than performing a part for an entire song, is that you can move and copy the regions as well as edit them in the Track Editor (described in Chapter 9).

You can move regions easily within tracks, make copies of regions, and place copies anywhere you want. You could perform a piece of music once and use it thousands of times. You can even copy multiple regions in different tracks at once; for example, if a set of regions for bass and drum tracks are perfect for a few measures, and you want to use them throughout the song, select the regions and then copy and paste them to another place in the song.

Moving, copying, and pasting regions

Click a single region to select it. To move a region within a track, changing its starting point in the song, simply drag it to the left or right. You can even drag a region up or down from one track to another if you want the region to take on the characteristics (sounds and effects) of the destination track.


Real Instrument regions can be moved only to other Real Instrument tracks, and Software Instrument regions can be moved only to other Software Instrument tracks.

When you drag a region over another region in the same time slot, as shown in Figure 3-5, the region underneath is shortened to the edge of the region you are dragging over it. If you completely cover a region with another region, the region underneath is deleted.

Shift+click each region to select multiple regions. Select multiple regions at once by dragging a selection rectangle around all the regions you want to select; as you drag from a point in the timeline, any regions intersecting your rectangle are highlighted to show that they are selected, as shown in Figure 3-6.

To copy or cut a region, select the region by clicking it, and then choose Edit [right arrow] Copy (or press Command+C) to copy, or Edit [right arrow] Cut (or press Command+X) to cut. To paste the copy at a different location in the timeline, move the playhead to the point where you want the copied region to start, as shown in Figure 3-7, and then choose Edit [right arrow] Paste (or press Command+V).


To automatically make a copy of the region, drag it while holding down the Option key; dropping the copy is just like pasting it into the new location. Delete a region by selecting it and then pressing Delete on your keyboard or by choosing Edit [right arrow] Delete.

After pasting one or more regions, the playhead moves to the end of the first pasted region. This is convenient because you can choose Edit [right arrow] Paste again (or press Command+V again) to paste another copy right next to the first one.

To delete regions from one location and paste them into another, choose Edit [right arrow] Cut instead of Edit [right arrow] Copy. However, it may be faster to just drag the selected regions to the new location in the timeline.

Looping, shortening, and extending regions

Although pasting over and over quickly repeats a region over time, GarageBand makes looping a region a lot easier with the loop pointer. When you loop a region, it repeats without any seams in between. You can loop anything: Real Instrument recordings, Software Instrument recordings, and loops of both types.

To loop a region within a track, follow these steps:

1. Move your pointer to the upper-right edge of the region.

The pointer changes to the loop pointer (a circular arrow), as shown in Figure 3-8.

2. Drag the loop pointer to extend the region.

Drag the region to the point where you want it to stop looping, as shown in Figure 3-9. The notches at the top and bottom show the beginning and end of the piece of music. You can drag to extend the entire looping region, so that the entire region repeats, by extending to an end notch. You can also extend to the middle of a looping region, stopping the loop anywhere you want.

You can shorten a region so that only the visible part of the region plays. You can also lengthen a Software Instrument region, adding silence - but only to Software Instrument regions; Real Instrument regions can only be shortened or returned to their original lengths.

To resize a region, follow these steps:

1. Move your pointer over the lower half of the region's right or left edge.

The pointer changes to the resize pointer, as shown in Figure 3-10.

2. Drag the edge of the region to shorten or lengthen it.

Splitting and joining regions

Splitting and joining regions may seem like a bit too much, but what if you recorded a great performance at the beginning and end of a region, but stank up the place in the middle? You can split the region into three parts - the good one, the stinky one, and the final good one - and then join the first and last parts into one region. Nice.

You can join regions together as long as they are already adjacent to one another on the same track, and have no space between them. Software Instrument regions (green) can be joined only to other Software Instrument regions, and Real Instrument recordings (purple) can only be joined to other Real Instrument recordings. Real Instrument loops (blue regions) can't be joined to other regions.

To split a musical region into two or more parts, follow these steps:

1. Select the region.

2. Move the playhead to the point in the region where you want the split to occur, and choose Edit [right arrow] Split.

The selected region is split into two regions at the playhead; any notes at the split point in a Software Instrument region are shortened so that they don't extend past the split point.

To join two or more regions, follow these steps:



Excerpted from The GarageBand Book Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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