325 and Film 385AB:
Introduction to GarageBand and iTunes
Highlights of this lab:
- What is GarageBand and iTunes?
- The GarageBand Environment
- Creating Music with GarageBand
- Exporting to iTunes
- The iTunes Environment
- Retrieving File Info
- Converting Audio Files
:: What are GarageBand and
"turns your Mac into an anytime, anywhere
recording studio packed with hundreds of instruments and a recording
engineer or two for good measure. It’s the easiest way to
perform and record your own music whether you’re an
player or just wish you were a rock star. And GarageBand is the newest
member of the iLife family, so you can add your original music to your
slideshows, your DVD menus, burn it to CDs or score your iMovie
is "Recognized as the
world’s best digital
music jukebox (hmm, yes, I'd like to mention that this is right from
the Apple website so bias = true!). Acclaimed as the leader against
which all online music stores are judged. iTunes continues to delight,
offering music lovers the easiest way to manage the music they own and
the absolutely best way to discover and purchase even more music, as
well as audiobooks."
:: The GarageBand Environment
Here is a picture of
:: Creating Music with
This section will look at how
to create music with GarageBand. Music
can be created by manipulating the predefined audio clips that
GarageBand offers as well as plugging in your own MIDI-compatable
instrument and performing exactly what you want.
Music in GarageBand is organized into tracks. To add a new track to
click the button in the lower
left. You will see
Choose a track type that fits your needs:
- Software instruments:
- can be controlled with
your keyboard or a MIDI input device
- sounds can be changed
easily by choosing an different
- notes can be added,
removed or edited manually
- Real instruments:
- use recorded audio from a
microphone or line-level device
like a guitar or bass
- you can apply
pre-configured filters and effects, or set up a
custom effect of your own.
- the audio can be cut up
and moved around
You use the track info panel to select software instrument sounds, or
to apply effects to real instruments.
To view a track's info, click on
the button. If it is
already open, the
button looks like this: . The
track info panel will open on the right side of the
Garageband. You can close the Track Info window by
the button again.
By default you will see a simple view. To see detailed settings for an
instrument or effect, click on "Details". There you can customize
things to your heart's content. If you are happy with your changes you
can save them to use again later.
the Default Audio Clips
GarageBand comes with a
number of audio clips called Apple
Loops that you can use to
build or enhance your project. To
access them click on the "eye" button, i.e. . The loops panel will
appear at the bottom
of the environment:
Click on a category to see some loops. You can refine your
selection by clicking on other categories. If you don't see what you
want, click the reset button and try again. To add a loop to your song,
simply drag it onto the timeline. You can repeat a loop by clicking and
dragging its upper right corner.
Take a look at the loops - they have some important features:
You can create your own loops from both software instruments and real
instruments. Simply trim down the part you are interested in looping,
and click Edit
| Add to loop library.... If that sounds like too much work, you
can loop anything in place just like a real Apple Loop.
- Color and icons: There
are two different kinds of loops. The green ones with
a note icon are Software Instrument loops and the blue ones with a wave
icon are real instrument loops. If either one is dragged into a blank
area - one with no track - a new track of the right type will be
created. You can also drag them onto existing tracks of the same type.
If you do that the loop will pick up the instrument or effect that has
been applied to the track. This is very strange when you drag drums
onto a melodic instrument track or vice-versa.
- Tempo and key: some
loops have a known tempo or key that they were recorded at. They will
adjust speed and/or pitch to match your track. If there's no tempo,
then they won't adjust. Be careful - if a real instrument adjusts too
far it will sound bad.
- Beats: this is how many
major counts long the loop lasts. This corresponds to the number on
Recording Your Own Music
There are several ways to control a software instrument in "real
Try setting a start point in your song and playing along. Once you are
happy with the result, you can record by pressing the red record button.
- A MIDI-compatible music
controller - The
keyboard against the back wall can be used to play software instruments
like a piano. To do this simply turn on the UDML keyboard, select a
software instrument track with whatever instrument you want to mimic
and play away!
If on the first go the keyboard is not functioning,
leave the keyboard on and restart the computer. This should
- A click to play keyboard -
Click on a software
instrument track, select Window |
and pick at notes.
- The computer's own
keyboard - Click on a
software instrument track, select Window
| Musical Typing
and have fun!
You can also enter and edit notes with the keyboard. Click on the
scissors icon to see the editing view. You can click on and drag notes
to change their pitch, timing and duration. You can also add notes by
Command-clicking. If you want to create a blank canvas to enter notes,
then Command-click on an empty bit of a software instrument track.
To record a real instrument you can use the built-in microphone or you
can plug in an instrument. Select which one you want by going to GarageBand | Preferences... | Audio/Midi
Under Audio Input select
Built-in Microphone or Built-in Input as needed. If you have an
external USB recording mixer or microphone, you should find it listed
here. However most USB recording devices are automatically detected by
GarageBand and it will ask if you want to switch to using them.
Select a real instrument track. You can exeriment with effects using
a live monitor - look in the info panel toward the bottom. Be careful
though - monitor will cause feedback if you aren't wearing headphones.
When you are ready to record, make sure your real instrument track
is selected and your play head is correctly positioned, then press the
red record button.
To playback a section of your
composition, be it just to find the right notes and practice, click on
the "circled arrows", the rightmost button in location G (Again, see
above). You will notice a yellow bar above the time line. This can be
expanded or shrunk for whatever sections you want to repeat. Newer
versions of GarageBand will let you use this feature to audition
several takes so you can choose the very best one.
:: iTunes ::
After you are done your musical
masterpiece you may want to capture
it so you can play it on any computer and share it with your friends.
You do this with the Share
menu. You can save directly to disk, which is fine, but if you are
going to share the song with someone else, you might to add some
information and maybe even art to the song. To do this you can share to
Getting an MP3 of Your Song with iTunes
Share the song with iTunes
- In GarageBand, choose
Share | Send Song to iTunes.
- Make sure that "Compress" option is
and click on the "Share" button
- iTunes will start. You may have to agree to some Terms of Service.
In iTunes, you need to set up
what file type you wish to convert your
files to. To do this follow these steps:
- Click on iTunes | Preferences
to get this window
Finally, right click on your song and
choose Create MP3 Version
- Go to the General tab
the Import Settings...
- Switch Import
Using to MP3 Encoder
setting Good Quality.
Then, click OK to dismiss all pop-up windows.
To retrieve your file you
- Your song will now be duplicated. Check the file info (see next
section) to learn which one is the MP3. You can delete the other one.
- Learn the location of
your song from its Summary info
simply drag the file out of iTunes into the folder
you want, like the Desktop.
:: Working With Media File Info ::
To see and edit your songs information (MP3 tags)
right click on the song and choose Get
Info. From here a dialog will pop up. The most important bits
:: Assignment ::
For this lab assignment:
- create your own musical
composition using GarageBand.
- Try a variety of techniques:
- Apple Loops
- recordings of real or software instruments
- or hand entered software instrument music.
- experiment with different instruments and effects.
- work with volume and Tempo.
- Use iTunes to convert your file and edit its info:
- File type: 128kbps stereo MP3
- Add song
information such as artist name (you), and song title. The album can be
the class name if you like.
- Optional: add cover
art and lyrics.
- 1: Attendance
- 0-1: Technical requirements - song length, file type, tags,
evidence that you knew what you were doing in GarageBand.
- 0-1: Art - quality and creativity.
What to submit:
This is due at the
beginning of your lab next week.
- GarageBand project file. (By default it will be in GarageBand
folder in your Music folder.)
- MP3 of your song.
description file with any little extras you did (you used your own
sounds, modified an instrument, etc/)
:: Online Source(s) ::