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Playing Smart Keyboards

From: iPad Music Production: GarageBand

Video: Playing Smart Keyboards

Now let's take a look at the Smart Keyboard. Like the other Smart instruments, it makes it easy to play professional sounding parts even if you're not an experienced keyboard player. I will start by opening up the Smart Keyboard. If I tap Grand Piano, you see I have eight different keyboards to choose from. We've got the Piano, the Rock Organ, an Electric Piano, the Smooth Clav, and we have four different synthesizers to choose from. I will keep the Grand Piano selected. Now if you saw the previous movie on using the Smart Guitar, this should look kind of familiar to you. Instead of piano keys we see these eight chord strips.

Playing Smart Keyboards

Now let's take a look at the Smart Keyboard. Like the other Smart instruments, it makes it easy to play professional sounding parts even if you're not an experienced keyboard player. I will start by opening up the Smart Keyboard. If I tap Grand Piano, you see I have eight different keyboards to choose from. We've got the Piano, the Rock Organ, an Electric Piano, the Smooth Clav, and we have four different synthesizers to choose from. I will keep the Grand Piano selected. Now if you saw the previous movie on using the Smart Guitar, this should look kind of familiar to you. Instead of piano keys we see these eight chord strips.

Again, these chords are selected based on the key of the song you're working in, which again we find under Settings and here is where we set our key. Now each chord strip is divided into eight sections. The gray areas at the bottom are your bass or lower notes. For instance on the C chord strip, the low note here is a low C, the top gray note is a higher C, but they are both below middle C and between that is the G or the fifth of that chord. The white part at the top is divided into five sections. So again on the C chord strip, we will find the C major triad here in the middle and the sections above that you'll find the higher and lower inversions.

So there is the C triad. Then we have two inversions above that and two inversions below that. You can play the note simply by tapping or sliding. If you do choose to slide, the first tap you make in the white area will play a full chord and then as you slide, you will hear individual notes. (music playing) If you slide from the bottom, you will still get that individual bass note, but as soon as you hit a white note, you get that full chord and then individual notes. And because you can play all these sections individually, you don't necessarily have to stay on the same strip between the right and the left-hand.

(music playing) Now you might have also noticed we have a couple of the buttons that we find in the regular keyboard instrument, like the Sustain which we can switch to on so we hear the sustained notes, and again, remember we can also just use that as sort of a finger pedal by holding down on it and releasing. (music playing) And we also have the Arpeggiator which I explained in the movie on using the keyboard, but again, we can turn that on.

We see the same controls here as we do with the keyboard, but this allows me to do things like this. (music playing) So again the Arpeggiator is very useful if you want to keep a pattern going without having to tap all those notes out rapidly yourself on the glass. This could also be really useful if you have a MIDI keyboard connected to your iPad. You could actually hold down a note with the Arpeggiator and then just play regular notes with the MIDI keyboard, because when you have a MIDI keyboard connected, it's just a regular piano. It just plays the regular piano notes. It doesn't try to play the chord strips or anything like that.

So that's how to manually play the Smart Keyboard. Now because it's a Smart instrument, you also have the Autoplay options available to you. Just like with the Smart Guitar and the Smart Bass, we have four different positions of Autoplay. Notice as soon as I select that the sections disappear. But I still can choose different right-hand and left-hand parts. (music playing) And we add the bass in. (music playing) So in this case, I have an A minor bass going on, but I still have the C going on with the right-hand notes, choose a different pattern and just like with the Smart Guitar again we have access to those hidden Autoplay patterns by tapping with two or three fingers.

(music playing) So there is two. (music playing) There is three. (music playing) So you can do that with all four of the different Autoplay patterns giving a total of 12 different patterns you can choose for Autoplay. Now again, bear in mind that just because these eight chords are the ones that GarageBand has picked as the most useful in this particular key, you are not locked into those for all of the chord strips. Remember, you can go to your Settings, you can keep things in the key of C, but there are plenty of other chords that can be played in the key of C.

If you want to change one of the other chord strips, just tap Edit Chords and again here you can dial in the chord you want by first selecting the chord you want to change, changing its Settings, and then hitting Done. You can always go back to the way it was by tapping Revert too. So that's how to play and work with the Smart Keyboard. Again, if you're not a piano player, this is still a great way to get some great keyboard sounds into your songs, but even if you are an experienced keyboard player, you can maybe turn on Autoplay for some inspiration or just look at the different chords and come up with different ideas to help you compose the songs you are working on.

So again that's the Smart Keyboard. We've got one more Smart Instrument to look at and we will do that next.

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iPad Music Production: GarageBand

30 video lessons · 9497 viewers

Garrick Chow
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