Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Bouncing and sharing the song, part of Songwriting in GarageBand.
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Now that I have a rough mix of my song, I'm just about ready to get it out of GarageBand and into a format I can share with others. But first, I want to deal with this abrupt ending that we have. Now, I'm going to scroll all the way to the right, and this is kind of an interface quirk you have to deal with here. I need to grab the End of Song marker here in the timeline, but it's sitting here behind the Zoom controller. So I need to make sure my cursor looks like this. That way I know it's actually over the marker, and now I can drag that marker out from behind the Zoom controls. I'm going to drag that all the way to the left, to where my song actually ends.
Actually dragged it too far there. Let's drag it all the way back. There we go. And as I say, it's kind of quirky. So, I gotta make sure I grab it there, not drag it too far, and there we go. Right about there should be good. So, now you can see, I can only scroll basically the length of the song here. Now, if you don't move the End of the Song marker, when you export your song from Garage Band it may assume that you intended to leave however many minutes of sounds there are between the last region and the End of the Song marker. Now GarageBand is supposed to cut out long stretches at the end of songs, but I'd rather just make sure the marker is placed manually, and that way there's no room for doubt where the song ends.
Next, once you've set all the levels, panning, and effects for your individual tracks, and you've set the end point, you should take some time to work with your songs master track. The master track allows you to work with the overall volume, effects, and pitch of the song as a whole. Think of the master track as the track all of the sounds from all the other tracks go through before hitting your speakers. So basically, anything you do to the master track affects the sound of the final mix. This is basically your chance to give your song one last coat of polish before sending it off into the world. To view the master track, we choose Track > Show Master Track, and it appears here at the bottom of all the other tracks.
And the master track looks like the other tracks, but notice it doesn't have a mute or solo button. It does have a Volume Fader, which controls the overall level for the entire song. And I have been noticing that that overall volume of the song is a little bit loud. So I'm going to play back a little bit and adjust the Master Volume slider. Again, if after adjusting that you want to hear your song a little bit louder, remember to use your system volume controls to increase the volume of your Mac. Now, with the master track selected, I can also open up the Smart Control panel, and here, I can adjust the compression and EQ settings for the entire song.
And I'm going to go just play around with this a bit. >> Or alternately, we can also open up the library and choose from a selection of preset patches here. These patches are designed for different purposes like ballad, classical, hip hop, jazz, modern, and so on. Like the patches we looked at before in each individual track, you can use these as jumping off points and then continue to adjust the sounds from there. I think I kind of like the Modern patch. I can also adjust the master track's the volume and panning. Again, I can turn on the automation. Make sure automation is on on the master track here.
And I'll select Volume, because I do want to add a fade at the end. So just click that envelope line to activate it. Scroll to the end here towards the end of my song, and now, I can just add fade points to fade at the end of song. Click at the first point. And I click to add the second. And I'm going to just drag that down to create my fade, or move it over to the very end of the song there. Now, this is if I want a long fade, but in this case, I want it to be a little bit shorter than that. And we do something like that. And we'll hear how that sounds.
Okay. So that's much preferable to the way the song just cutoff originally. So lets say we're now ready to export this track. GarageBand gives us several options, which you'll find under the Share Menu. The first option here is Song To iTunes. You can choose this option to export your songs to your iTunes library. That opens up a window where you can add the data for the song that will show up in your iTunes library or on your iPod or any other device that can play this file. By default, GarageBand names the song with the name of the file followed by the date and time, which I think it's kind of nice, especially when you are exporting rough mixes and you need to keep track of multiple versions of the same song.
You can also choose the quality of the exported file from this menu here at the bottom. These top four items are all compressed versions of the iTunes AAC format. Or you can choose an uncompressed AIF for the highest quality. Whichever one you choose, once you click Share, you'll find the file in your iTunes library as soon as it's been fully exported from GarageBand. I'm just going to cancel that for now. By the way, also notice that you can check Export Cycle Area Only for Length of Selected Regions. So that allows you to turn on the cycle region if, let's say, for instance, you wanted to give your guitar a player just a section where they need to play a solo so they can practice over it, you could turn on the cycle region, and just chose which part of the song to export.
Alright, now the next sharing option is Ringtone to iTunes, and as you can probably infer, this option is for when you're specifically creating a ringtone for your phone. Ringtones have to be 40 seconds or less, and they'll be exported in the .MR4 format, which is used for iPhone ringtones. But notice if I choose this option, I get this message telling me that I need to adjust the length of the song because it's obviously longer than 40 seconds. The next sharing option here is media browser. Choosing this option immediately bounces down your song, meaning a single audio file version of the song is generated, just like when you export to iTunes, but this version of the song will appear in the media browsers of other Apple apps, like iMovie and Final Cut Pro.
Once there, you'll be able to use your song in any project you create in those apps, but this option isn't very useful if you just want to send the audio file to someone else rather than using it for another project of some sort. The next option here is Sound Cloud. Sound Cloud is a free online service for sharing audio files. You just need to go to Soundcloud.com to create an account, and then you'll be able to log into your account from here in GarageBand when you choose this option. This is probably one of the most convenient for quickly sharing your project with other people, as opposed to say, burning CDs or trying to email a large audio file to someone.
With a Sound Cloud account, you can just upload your file right from here, and then send your friends a link so they can listen to your song online. We also have Export Song to Disc, and this is like exporting to iTunes, except your saving the file somewhere else on your computer. This can be a convenient option to use when you want to export your song, but you don't want to add it to your iTunes library or to your media browser. This also gives you the option to choose to save the file as an AAC an MP3 or as an uncompressed AAF format. You can also choose the quality level here, based on the option you choose.
All you have to do in this case is just title your file. We'll just leave the default name here, choose a place to save it, and click Export. And that'll bounce down your song into a single file again. And if I go out and look at the Desktop, you can see the file sitting here. And now I can put this file on a flash drive, I can email it if it's not too large, or I can send it in in any other way that I need to. And the final option here in the share menu is Burn Song to CD. This option is only available if you have a recordable CD already inserted into your Mac's optical drive.
If you do, you can choose this option to burn a CD containing your song that can then be played in a standard CD player. I think fewer and fewer people are using this ability these days, though, in favor of sharing songs over the internet, but it's good to know the option is here if you want it. So, that's run down of the options that are available to you for sharing your project from Garage Band.
Want to learn about other tools for songwriting? Check out Songwriting in Pro Tools.