MacMost Now 601: Changing the Tempo Of Tracks in GarageBand 11

It is difficult to change the tempo of an individual track in GarageBand because all tracks will match the tempo of the song by default. But if you copy tracks into new loops, you can hold the speed of those tracks steady as you adjust the tempo of the song.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 601: Changing the Tempo Of Tracks in GarageBand 11.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let me show you how to change the tempo of a single track in GarageBand.
So you can search all over the internet on how to change the tempo of a single track in GarageBand and come up with the answer that it can't be done.
Most of those sites don't bother to explain why you can't do that at least not easily and of course there is a work around.
Let me show you. So here I've got a pretty simple set of two loops in GarageBand. That's what it sounds like. And suppose I want to increase the tempo of this drum track here without increasing the tempo of the electric guitar track.
So doubling the speed of this keeping the speed of this the same well it doesn't seem like you can do that. If you go to this one track here and simply go down to the bottom I have project selected down here I can increase the tempo, double it, and it will double the tempo for the entire thing. Now, if I want to increase just the one track it doesn't matter how I select it or what I do to select which one. It's going to increase the tempo of the entire project which isn't what I want.
But first let's take a look at why is this happening. Its pretty easy to find out if you go down here and you look at the track editor you could see that if I have a track selected it has follow tempo and pitch turned on. Both of these tracks have follow tempo and pitch.
Now this is a fundamental part of GarageBand because you have all these loops here on the right and they're actually all recorded at different tempo and pitches and when you bring them into a single project it matches them together.
That's how you can use all of these different loops together. Otherwise you'd only be able to use loops of a certain tempo and pitch with other loops of the same.
So if I were to select this one here and turn that off you can see what happens that track actually is shorter in one measure. It's actually a lot slower. This is what it really sounds like if I solo it. A little faster if I turn on follow tempo and pitch. That is matching to the 120 beats that the track is set to.
So because I'm using follow tempo and pitch for all the tracks of course if I adjust the tempo it adjusts them for everything. So I want to get away from follow tempo and pitch in order to adjust a track. If I turn it off of course then it's not going to match.
But if I leave it on and then go to edit and add to loop library I get to basically make a copy of that loop and this could be something I recorded so it doesn't have to be something from the actual loops there. And I'm going to just do a test one and go into create it and that's going to create a new loop. Now it won't actually even be there I'm gonna search for it here on the loop browser and just search for it by the name that I gave it test and there it is. I'm gonna to bring that in and you can see that its identical to this one. Matter of fact if I were to solo both of the tracks I'd just get double that. They're both the same.
The difference is is that if I start this one and I say don't follow tempo and pitch you can see it doesn't change because its default tempo and pitch is the 120 beats down here whereas the default for here is the original recording.
Now I can delete that track and I have this track here - the guitar track set to be follow tempo and pitch so it's going to change speeds and this one here to the the default for each track that's not going to follow tempo and pitch. It doesn't matter if I select that cuz they're both 120 beats per minute
so now what I can do is I can change the tempo of the entire thing and I could double it and what will happen is because I've doubled that and this is not following tempo and pitch it actually slows down this track. It stretches it out over twice the amount of time.
So when I play back, what's happened is I‘ve doubled the tempo of this one cause it's following tempo and pitch but I have not doubled the tempo of this one at all. It's remained the same because it's not following tempo and pitch. And in fact, I've sped that one up twice and I've kept that one the same.
So it's kind of counterintuitive because what you're doing is you're taking the tracks where the speed is exactly what you want and you're duplicating them as a new loop and then you're turning off follow tempo and pitch.
So those are kind of like locked in to that speed. Then the remaining track or track where you want the speed to adjust those are still set to follow tempo and pitch and you can adjust your entire song as necessary to speed up or slow down those while the other ones are held steady.
Of course the other solution is to this that you may see elsewhere is to isolate the parts that you want to speed up in a single GarageBand project and then speed them up get them the perfect speed export them and then bring them back in as an audio file. You could do the same thing using another sound program like say audacity go and change the tempo of them as a separate audio file and bring them in.
I think this is a little bit easier and still leaves everything open and editable in some way.
So there are some options for you. Hope you found this useful. Until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 14 Responses to “MacMost Now 601: Changing the Tempo Of Tracks in GarageBand 11”

    Kevin Shepardson
    7 years ago

    I teach dance & just want to slow down some of our favorite waltzes so everyone doesn’t have to dance so fast. The music is good.. just to fast.

    While I am here I have an unrelated question…

    I love my mac but speakable items seems useless. Especially if you compare it with seri. Do you think there will be something like it for the i-7 or macbook pro? Or am I underestimating speakable items?

    Thank you. Kevin

    7 years ago

    awesome! thanks! really really helped

    7 years ago

    I realized why this is not working for me, it is because the button for “Loop” is grayed out and not available no matter what I do. “One shot” is automatically chosen for me. How do I enable the “Loop” button?

      7 years ago

      Hard to tell where you might be going wrong. Play around with it. Try a new project. Try different things.

    Justin Carrion
    7 years ago

    Im trying to change the tempo & pitch of one of my tracks and,I cant. My follow tempo & pitch tab is grad out, even if I press control option G. I was able to do this before. Im still able to do it to some projects, but if I make a new one It won’t work. Please help me I would like o make songs for my movies.


      Bob Smith
      7 years ago


    Justin Carrion
    7 years ago

    Yes I do thank you Bob

    7 years ago

    And Bob it’s MEAN not MEAT

    7 years ago

    This was really, really useful. Thank you!

    7 years ago

    Even when I un-follow tempo and pitch it still changes everything… what do I do?!?!?

    Jim M
    6 years ago

    Excellent! Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the lesson!

    6 years ago

    I experienced what Sara said- I restarted the project made an individual adjustment on a loop that didn’t follow tempo and it still adjusted tempo on all my tracks. Also if you have 2 loops that don’t follow tempo can you theoretically have multiple tracks that have different tempo? Can you recommend another easy-to-use audio editor that allows this function?

    Jeremy Rose
    6 years ago

    It appears that if the loops original tempo is not half of the tempo you want to use, this won’t work. I keep trying this with “Synth Array 19” and I can’t get it to line up with the measures if the project tempo is 120.

Comments Closed.