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Playing Smart Drums

From: iPad Music Production: GarageBand

Video: Playing Smart Drums

In the previous chapter we looked at GarageBand's Touch Instruments; namely the Keyboard, the Drums and the Sampler, and all those required at least a little bit of musical knowledge in order to play. But if you're not a musician that doesn't mean you can't use GarageBand. GarageBand comes with a selection of what it calls Smart Instruments. Smart Instruments automatically generate rhythms, melodies and other musical patterns. And usually all it takes is a couple taps with your finger and you're generating professional sounding music. GarageBand has Smart Drums, Smart Strings, Smart Bass, Smart Keyboards and a Smart Guitar.

Playing Smart Drums

In the previous chapter we looked at GarageBand's Touch Instruments; namely the Keyboard, the Drums and the Sampler, and all those required at least a little bit of musical knowledge in order to play. But if you're not a musician that doesn't mean you can't use GarageBand. GarageBand comes with a selection of what it calls Smart Instruments. Smart Instruments automatically generate rhythms, melodies and other musical patterns. And usually all it takes is a couple taps with your finger and you're generating professional sounding music. GarageBand has Smart Drums, Smart Strings, Smart Bass, Smart Keyboards and a Smart Guitar.

You can tell which one is a Smart Instrument is by the little gear frame that the icons appear in. Let's go back and start with the Smart Drums. The Smart Drum interface looks a lot different than the Drum Kit interface we saw with the GarageBand Drums. If I tap the Drum's name, I get access to the same six types of drums that were available when we were playing the drum instrument earlier. Now depending on the instrument you select you'll see different drums available here on the right. Any where between 10 and 6 will appear depending on the machine you pick.

Let's try the House Drum Machine. Now you can get a sample of what these drums sound like by tapping them. (music playing) Although, that's not the way you really supposed to play them here. What you are supposed to do is use this Grid area. Notice it's labeled left or right; Simple to Complex and then from top to bottom Loud to Quiet. Basically what you do here is drag the instruments into parts of this Grid. So for example, if I wanted a loud and complex hi-hat pattern, I'd drag it somewhere in the upper right quadrant. (music playing) Like so.

(music playing) If I wanted a sound that was a similar loudness, but a little less complex, I'd drag that to the left but keep it at the same height. (music playing) You can turn the machine playback on and off with this Power button here. And now it's just a matter of dragging in other drums to create my patterns. (music playing) Now as you start to build your pattern, you might want to start by dragging a drum in towards the top so you can hear what the pattern is.

Once you settle on the pattern that you like you then drag it down to lower it in the mix. (music playing) For instance-- (music playing) Maybe I like that there, let's pull down a bit. (music playing) Incidentally you can drag the drums on top of each other if you want them to have the same loudness and complexities. So if you want the Shaker and the Bongos to be the same I can just line them up together. (music playing) To start all over again from scratch, just tap the Reset button.

Now if you're not sure of the pattern that you want to use, you can roll the die here to generate a random pattern. (music playing) Each time you tap it-- (music playing) you will get a different pattern. (music playing) You can always just start with the random pattern and then just start adding drums to it to build on that random pattern. (music playing) So it's pretty easy to get a beat going pretty quickly. Now when it comes to recording the Smart Drums you don't have to build the entire pattern out together, you can actually build it live as you are recording.

Again, we'll get more into the ins and outs of recording a little bit later, but just to give you a quick sample here I'll take the Playhead back to the beginning and just clear everything off, maybe I just want to start with say the kick, snare, and hi-hat. (music playing) Something like that. (music playing) So when I tap Record up here, those will be the notes that we hear first, and as we go through these eight bars at the top I can start dragging in more drums. (music playing) So after it gets to the end of the eight bars, it stops recording and it takes the Playhead back, and you notice it just wiped all those drums out that I added on, since I only start it out with those three original drums.

But if I tap Play again you'll see the drums added as I recorded them. (music playing) So it's really easy to create and record drum patterns with the Smart Drums, and just to illustrate this little bit more, I'll tap over to the Track View and here's the MIDI region I just created, and you can actually see it increasing in complexity towards the end here as I drag in more drums.

And all these drums are in perfect timing and I hardly needed a sense of rhythm to create that at all. So that's working with the Smart Drums in GarageBand. Again, it's incredibly easy way to create intricate and interesting drum patterns in your projects.

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iPad Music Production: GarageBand

30 video lessons · 9634 viewers

Garrick Chow
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