Join Todd Howard for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a track, part of GarageBand '11 Essential Training.
Creating a track is probably the most fundamental task to building up a GarageBand project. You need a track to actually record any type of audio input, and you even need a track to introduce Apple Loops into your arrangement. I will press Command+L to open my Loops Browser, or you can just click the little loop icon in the lower-right part of the interface, which is right here. You will notice the gray text in the main GarageBand timeline area indicating "Drag Apple Loops here." So anytime you drag a Loop from the Loop Browser into your timeline, GarageBand will create a track for you and you can play back that Loop in your arrangement.
Let's explore a few other areas of the interface. Here we have three different views for our Loop Browser. At the moment I'll switch over to column view and go ahead and click on By Instruments, and I can look at all the different instruments that are available, a whole lot of different voices you can use. I am just going to start here with the All Drums selection. I notice that in this last column, in the parentheses, it tells you how many loops are available in each of those different categories. So I will just click Acoustic Drums and find a beat I can lay in to create a new track. One thing I would like to know though, before I start browsing throughout these beats is, what is the tempo that currently exists for this beat? So right now it's telling me for instance Live Edgy Drums 03 is a 16-beat loop, but I've no idea how fast or slow that original loop was recorded at, so I don't know how it's going to work with my 154 Tempo.
So I just click to preview any one of these. (music playing) And click again to stop, I feel like-- (music playing) --these are pretty fast beats. (music playing) So if I'd like to see the original tempo displayed, I am just going to hit Command+Comma to go back to Preferences and click on Loops, and down here at the bottom is a check box that says, "Display original tempo and key," so if I click that, I am going to add those two columns to my Loop Browser. So now I can see that these original loops are recorded at 110, and since my tempo is 154, it will speed them up to match 154, but it may just actually sound kind of sloppy and be too fast, like that's a really quick hi-hat pattern.
I mean, I am sure somebody could play that, but it doesn't sound very natural. So I am going to drag this into my timeline. You will notice that as I am doing this, there is a green plus next to my cursor saying I am going to actually add a track if I drop this off. You can see that Live Edgy Drums is hovering in the area below the one track that I had created to create a new track. So if I just drop it off here, GarageBand creates this new track for me, gives it a generic name, Kits. It's Drum Kits basically, and here is my Stereo Loop. So if I press the spacebar to play, you can here how fast this is in my 154 Timeline.
(music playing) Okay, so here is an example of let's slow the tempo down and see how GarageBand affects this loop. I'm going to bring it down to maybe 120, which is a little bit faster than it was originally recorded at, but certainly a little more suitable for this beat. And I am going to double-click in the ruler to play it this time. (music playing) Okay, and spacebar to stop. For the moment since I am not actually going to be tracking anything. I don't need to hear the sound of the metronome, which here, I'll play for you just by itself.
(metronome ticking) So I can just turn that off temporarily by clicking Metronome down here in the bottom of the interface. I'm going to press Home to go back to the beginning and spacebar to play. No metronome. (music playing) and there is our beat. So I create a new track by dragging a loop in from the Loop Browser into my timeline and I can continue to do that here by maybe going to Bass and Electric Bass. And now I am just improvising here, and I suggest you do the same, because you literally have no idea what you'll come up with just by dropping a few loops into your timeline and listening to them play together.
I'm going to preview a little bit of Bass here. (music playing) That's pretty cool. Let's try that one. Drag it in. I am actually going to line it up with the same start point as my previous loops, so they can play together. And I will double-click before to play them both. (music playing) Cool! Both of these loops have created real instrument tracks. These are actually made from audio recordings that are loops.
There is also MIDI loops that you can use, and you have to look for the green icons to find those. All right, I am going to scroll down to Piano here and try to find a MIDI loop that we can use. How about some Clean Piano? (music playing) Classic Rock Piano, Delicate Piano (music playing) That's not going to work too well with the funky bass, but I am going to keep looking here. Latin Lounge Piano. (music playing) Actually, that might be kind of fun. Let's try that.
Drag it in, put it on its own track. You'll notice this one is green. Green indicates that it's a software instrument loop, or a MIDI loop, as opposed to an audio loop, and drop that in. The other way you can tell that it's MIDI is you can actually see little square notes in there. That's basically the MIDI data of that loop. We'll explore this more in upcoming movie, but I am going to play this together now. (music playing) Pretty cool, that's a funky little deal. I am into it. And we did bring this down to 120. I can maybe try it again.
Let's go down to 110 and see how this sounds. (music playing) Little more pocket to it there. GarageBand always names newly created tracks appropriately, if somewhat generically, but you can rename them yourself just by doing a slow double-click on the name. The first click selects the track, and the second click activates the name editing field. If you double-click too fast, GarageBand will think you want to open the track Info panel on the right. So if I actually just do this, it takes me over to the track info for that instrument or closes it and then reopens it. Even if you do it sometimes right on the name, you end up with that.
So a slow click to select and a second click on the name to edit is the most reliable way to make sure you're actually editing it every time. All right, I'll name that Drums. Let's type it in and hit Enter to save it. Now throughout this course I'll be talking about regions. Audio objects within tracks are called regions. Specifically real instrument tracks contain audio regions and software instrument tracks contain MIDI regions. Audio regions are actual digital audio waveforms that are digital representations of sound that you recorded into GarageBand through a mic or through a line in and in this case through loops, but they were actually recorded as audio files to begin with as well.
Those are actual recorded audio. MIDI regions contain data and no actual audio waveforms. They capture information about which key, knob, or button you pressed on your MIDI keyboard and how hard you pressed it and how long you held it down. The software instrument track itself is where you actually specify which software instrument the data is going to trigger. So you can click on the little i button in the lower right to open up Track Info or double-click the track header like we did before, to gain access to the library of software instruments.
So you can actually record some music on your MIDI keyboard and while recording have it set to a piano sound, like we have right now, and with a software instrument track you can decide later that you actually want that part to be triggering say a church organ instead. GarageBand lets you easily change the software instrument through the Track Info panel anytime you like, and that goes from MIDI performances that you record as well as every software instrument loop in your Loops Library. Like a loop that comes with GarageBand but don't like the sound of it? Change it anytime you want. And this one here is our-- (music playing) --Latin Piano. It's very easy to just choose a different sound, like right now I am clicking on Organ, Pop Organ.
It's asking me, do I want to change this Grand Piano setting? I can say Continue, and now we've got the Pop Organ sound. (music playing) It doesn't work quite as well as piano, but you get the point. There are three other ways you can create tracks. You can go to the Track menu and choose New Track, or you can use the keyboard shortcut of Option+Command+N, or perhaps the easiest way is just to click this Plus button in the lower left. All of these methods will bring up this overlay where you can choose whether you want to create a software instrument track, a real instrument track, or an electric guitar track.
Electric guitar tracks are just real instrument tracks where you plan to record an electric guitar plugged directly into your interface or into your Mac, and use the amps and effects that Apple has designed to make your guitar sound like it's being played through a whole range of amps and speaker cabinets with 15 effects stompboxes at your disposal to create the pedalboard of your dreams. We'll come back to this, but I also want to point out that when you're creating a track, you can disclose the Instrument Setup triangle and switch your global input and output settings on the fly.
If you want to switch back to another input setting the next time you create a track, you'll have to switch it back one more time, either on the fly or in your Track Info panel. Here let's actually create a real instrument track by double-clicking, and you'll always have access to your input source here. I am going to click another new track, and if I wanted to change it here on the fly, I could go ahead and do that. During the next chapter, we are going to explore these basic track types for recording, and we will set up one of each for the song that we will be recording later on, the song I wrote in preparation for this course, it's called Easier to Find.
- 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