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GarageBand '11 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Exploring Software Instrument tracks, keyboard velocity, and MIDI


From:

GarageBand '11 Essential Training

with Todd Howard

Video: Exploring Software Instrument tracks, keyboard velocity, and MIDI

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.
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  1. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      1m 13s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
  2. 23m 4s
    1. Connecting instruments, MIDI controllers, mics, audio interfaces, and speakers
      4m 24s
    2. Setting important Mac OS X and GarageBand preferences
      4m 32s
    3. Creating a project with tempo, time signature, and key
      4m 37s
    4. Creating a track
      9m 31s
  3. 25m 42s
    1. Exploring Real Instrument tracks and setting a good input level
      6m 20s
    2. Exploring Software Instrument tracks, keyboard velocity, and MIDI
      6m 59s
    3. Exploring Electric Guitar tracks and monitoring
      7m 48s
    4. Positioning the cursor on audio regions to access different tools
      4m 35s
  4. 10m 23s
    1. Choosing a genre in the Project Chooser
      2m 3s
    2. Auditioning players in the band and hiring new players
      8m 20s
  5. 16m 45s
    1. Browsing and filtering the Apple Loops library
      5m 20s
    2. Dragging Apple Loops into your arrangement and choosing from alts
      6m 33s
    3. Jamming along with your composition
      4m 52s
  6. 35m 11s
    1. Setting tempo, enabling count-in and metronome, and dragging in a drum loop
      5m 22s
    2. Using GarageBand as a scratchpad for recording new ideas
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Arrange track to create song form sections
      3m 1s
    4. Splitting Apple Loops and choosing alternates to build a drum part
      6m 36s
    5. Recording multiple takes with cycle record
      4m 32s
    6. Punching in a small section of audio
      6m 20s
    7. Using Groove Matching to tighten up the rhythm of a performance
      5m 51s
  7. 33m 56s
    1. Tuning up and tracking a rhythm electric guitar part
      4m 26s
    2. Customizing the guitar sound using amps, stompboxes, and effects
      11m 44s
    3. Using Flex Time to fix a double-tracked rhythm guitar part
      7m 40s
    4. Using Cycle Record to record multiple takes for soloing
      3m 40s
    5. Compositing a final guitar solo from multiple takes
      6m 26s
  8. 19m 25s
    1. Recording a Software Instrument track
      3m 48s
    2. Editing the parameters of Software Instruments
      8m 44s
    3. Editing MIDI notes in the piano roll editor after the performance
      6m 53s
  9. 14m 12s
    1. Recording lead vocals
      6m 39s
    2. Correcting pitch with automatic tuning
      4m 16s
    3. Reordering, duplicating, and deleting song sections using the Arrangement track
      3m 17s
  10. 1h 7m
    1. Creating successful mixes
      7m 4s
    2. Pre-mixing
      15m 31s
    3. Equalizing tracks
      5m 51s
    4. Compressing tracks
      10m 13s
    5. Adding reverb and echo effects to individual tracks
      6m 39s
    6. Creating automated volume and pan moves
      10m 41s
    7. Freezing tracks to improve system performance
      2m 0s
    8. Using master track effects and automating a fade-out
      3m 31s
    9. Creating a final mixdown: Exporting a finished song to disk
      5m 40s
  11. 12m 51s
    1. Sharing your songs with iTunes and burning CDs
      3m 6s
    2. Opening a GarageBand project in Logic
      4m 26s
    3. Archiving GarageBand project files
      5m 19s
  12. 36m 44s
    1. Taking music lessons
      7m 32s
    2. Creating ringtones
      3m 50s
    3. Creating podcasts
      14m 12s
    4. Scoring a movie
      11m 10s
  13. 53s
    1. Goodbye
      53s

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GarageBand '11 Essential Training
4h 58m Beginner Jul 29, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course is a comprehensive guide to the popular digital audio software from Apple, demonstrating the tools and techniques to create, edit, and publish music and podcasts. Author Todd Howard covers the ins and outs of the application, from interfacing with external devices, exploring Apple Loops, and recording instrument and vocal tracks to creating successful mixes, performing edits, and sharing finished projects. Additionally, the course introduces the new features in GarageBand '11, including Flex Time and Groove Matching, which provide powerful methods for editing and tightening up the rhythmic timing of tracks.

Topics include:
  • Connecting instruments, MIDI controllers, mics, and speakers
  • Creating a project and specifying tempo, time signature, and key
  • Jumpstarting the recording process with Magic GarageBand
  • Recording real instruments, software instruments, and electric guitar tracks
  • Compositing a final track from multiple takes
  • Creating, naming, and organizing song sections using the Arrangement track
  • Equalizing and compressing tracks
  • Adding reverb and echo effects
  • Sharing songs with iTunes and Logic Pro
  • Archiving GarageBand project files
  • Taking guitar and piano lessons
  • Creating podcasts, movies scores, and ringtones
Subject:
Audio + Music
Software:
GarageBand
Author:
Todd Howard

Exploring Software Instrument tracks, keyboard velocity, and MIDI

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.

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