Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
To create a new software instrument track, press Option+Command+N, and select Software Instrument if you intend to use a MIDI keyboard, drum controller, or wind controller, any MIDI-capable input device, to trigger sounds from within GarageBand. You can use a MIDI keyboard to play grand piano sounds, or analog lead synth sounds, or any of a huge variety of sound effects in virtual instruments like cellos, horns, electric piano, and drums. You've started out with a Grand Piano sound selected by default, and to change this or to explore the sound library on the hunt for that perfect instrument, you can just explore the Track Info panel and hit Command+I if it's not showing.
Or press the little i button in the lower right--that will open and close it. And just start clicking and playing your MIDI keyboard and see if there are some things that you like. (music playing) You know you can actually get into all sorts of crazy stuff here. (music playing) We have a whole horn section.
This brings up a good point. The small arrow to the right of any of these sound names, you will see that in a few of the categories here there, Mallets don't have any, Keyboards have two, so this is an indication that these were among the sounds that were not installed when you first ran your GarageBand installer or when you got your new Mac and GarageBand was already on there. They don't install all of the loops and software instruments from the very beginning, so it sort of makes for a quicker installation process. It's especially helpful now that GarageBand is available through the Mac App Store and no longer on the iLife DVD that used to just be able to install all the libraries at once.
So they leave them out, and you can just click on them and you get this message, "Software Instrument or Apple Loop selected is not currently installed." And if we want to install them. let's just go ahead and say Download Now and click OK and it'll go ahead and find out what we need and bring up Software Update. Now you can either just click Install or if you want to say Show Details, you can see exactly what Software Update thinks your system currently needs. Looks like we need a couple of other updates here as well, but the one that I want to point out is GarageBand Instruments and Apple Loops, you will see, is something that you can download to complete the full installation of GarageBand.
It's 1.2 gigabytes of sounds and loops. Right now I am not going to go ahead and spend that time. You certainly don't need to watch this progress bar go. But you may want to actually run that on your own version of GarageBand and make sure that you have all of the loops and software instruments that you might want. I am going to say Not Now. Let's move back to GarageBand here. So for now we can't use Grant Piano Punchy or On Stage because they are not currently installed. So we'll just switch back to Grand Piano, and that's our sound that we have going. And notice that GarageBand continues to update the name of our track each time we click a new software instrument.
You can always change the name. If I don't like the name Grand Piano, I can just click and name it. Give it a better piano name. I'd like to point out that every single thing in GarageBand is editable and customizable. I may like this Grand Piano sound just fine. (music playing) But I may want to actually make some modifications to that, make it into a sound that's more to my liking. So I am just going to click the Edit tab. First of all, I can activate Compressor that's already been inserted here for me just by turning on the little activation button on the left. And if I want to edit the Compressor settings, just click on the Edit Parameters button here on the left, and I can edit the Threshold, Ratio, Attack, or Gain of my Compressor.
(music playing) I am going to make it compress a little bit more to get that ratio up a bit, and I'll lower the Threshold as well, so that softer sounds are compressed and it doesn't have to wait for the louder sounds to kick in. And I will make the Attack a little bit faster and give a little more juice to this piano sound by raising our Gain up a little bit. (music playing) Sounds pretty good. (music playing) Let's just go back here and bring our Threshold down just a little bit more, Ratio up just a little bit more, and our Gain up just a little bit more.
(music playing) That sounds pretty punchy, so we will keep that as our piano sound for now. A couple more things about editing software instruments while we are here, and this applies to editing the presets of real instrument tracks and electric guitar tracks as well. You can add a new effect to the chain just by clicking here and choosing one. I will add a Phaser, for example. Now I can edit those parameters if I want to by clicking here, or even click the little green light to bypass the Compressor if I want to just hear this as I'm editing it. Okay, now that I have a Phaser on there-- (music playing) --you can hear the effect that it's giving.
It actually sounds a little bit more like an electric piano now. (music playing) Lower the Intensity of that a bit and make it a little bit faster, make it a little bit gnarlier with some of this feedback that can come around in here. (music playing) That sounds pretty good. And you'll also notice, if you watch the level meters up here in the upper left, that it's impossible for me to peak if I even pound on this.
(music playing) That's the loudest that this sound can get up to. MIDI notes aren't capable of clipping because they're basically just data that you could always go back in later and edit them and turn them down or turn them up. It's just information about what keys you pressed and how hard you pressed them. If you find that you're actually not getting enough level, you can go back to GarageBand's Preferences by pressing Command+Comma and if we click Audio/MIDI, you'll notice there's our Keyboard Sensitivity slider, and we talked about this in an earlier movie. So if you need to actually get more volume and velocity out of your keys, you can slide that up so even when you press a very light key-- (music playing) --it's actually coming out quite loud.
If we move it all the way down here, you will see that we can get really quiet. (music playing) So less sensitivity means that you can control how intense the actual keystrokes are. (music playing) So you can actually get some dynamics in there. I actually like it to be up a little bit higher so I can hear what I am doing. (music playing) Sounds pretty good. And that's how easy it is to add a software instrument track to your project and make some edits, add some effects, edit those effects.
If you actually wanted to save this new Phaser or Compressor Piano as your own instrument so that you can use it later, just click Save Instrument at the bottom right, give it a name, and hit Save, and later on when you're browsing around in your Software Instrument Library you will notice under Pianos and Keywords that My Phased Piano is actually now available to you here. So go ahead and be creative and build up your own library of sounds and make sure you save them. You can always come back and use them anytime you like.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
73 Video lessons · 14843 Viewers
130 Video lessons · 17246 Viewers
110 Video lessons · 8605 Viewers
80 Video lessons · 11114 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.