MacMost Now 840: Using GarageBand for iPad Part 3: Keyboards

Learn how to use the Keyboards and Smart Keyboard instruments in GarageBand for iPad. You can choose from dozens of different keyboard instruments, each with its own set of features and controls. You can use scales and chords to easily make usable sequences of notes for your songs.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 840: Using GarageBand for iPad Part 3: Keyboards.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at playing the keyboards in GarageBand for iPad.

When you go to the instruments in GarageBand you can see that there are two keyboards. The regular keyboard and the Smart Keyboard. Let's start with regular keyboard.

When you go there you get a keyboard at the bottom and lots of controls at the top. Basically to play you tap a key. Then you can tap more than one key at the same time and you could even tap and then move your finger to play multiple keys.

Now you are not stuck with just this view of the keyboard. If you press the button at the very right you can see that you can stack the keyboards, one on top of the other like that. Then you can see there are different octaves that are shown at the top and at the bottom. You can go back to single layer and you can also change the width of the keys to one of three varieties. You have a velocity control there as well.

If you want to change which octave is shown then that control is on the left. It says zero. Tap on the button there and I can change the octave. So here I get middle C is that. Then go up two octaves

You also have a sustained control. So I can turn that on and you can hear the sustain, it will just keep going. Then if I turn it off you can hear it doesn't sustain.

There is also a scale button here. If I press that I can then look and change from a regular keyboard to a scale, say a major blues scale. Now instead of a keyboard there that looks like a piano, I have just the keys to fit that scale. It makes it very easy to play interesting music.

Another interesting setting here is this one. I think it is pronounced Arpeggiator. You can turn that on and then you can simply hold a key down and it will basically play something like this. Of course you can adjust the controls there to change the exact sequence of notes that are played.

Now if you really know what you are doing you may actually want to go and play keys that are beyond the end keyboard. The only way to get there is by switching the octaves with the arrow keys or you can change the middle control here to Scroll. Instead, when I move my finger left to right, instead of rolling over to the next note it actually scrolls the entire keyboard. I can scroll left to right. If I want to hit the individual notes and then hit and hold and scroll to actually bring the keyboard left to right. So I can play a wider range of notes that way if I'm quick with my fingers.

Okay, now let's look at the instruments. If I tap on the Grand Piano at the top there I can see there are tons of instruments here because I've got these tabs at the top. Right now I'm looking at Keyboards and I can go and choose another keyboard like Classical Grand or Electric Piano. All sorts of different ones. You can see some of these even have controls. So I can change say Decay and I can work with other things as well. Even some of these, like there is a pitch control on the upper left. I can use this. Obviously this is for simulating electronic instruments. You can see the different controls here for the Classic Rock Organ. There are tons of different things here.

Now I can dig deeper into instruments by using the tabs at the top. So for instance if I go to Classics here, I go to Classic Keyboards and I can choose one of these. Also I can see there are two dots at the bottom meaning I can scroll left to right and see that there are even more keyboards under here. I go to Bass and there are tons of them. Leads synthesizer there are all sorts of cool synthesizers in here. You can see I've got more controls. I can control them while the note is actually playing. I can go to Pads and there are two sets of pads. I can even go to Special Effects.

I can even save instruments. For instance if I go to synthesizer here and change some of the controls in the upper right and a few different things about it, how to play certain scales. Do are a whole bunch of things that are modifications of this keyboard. Then I go to Keyboards here and hit the Save button on the top right and give it a name and now I get another set there called Custom. I can just go to that and find my custom keyboard settings.

Now in Parts 1 and 2 of this I showed you, of course, how to play an instrument and record it. You do the same thing here. You hit the record button at the top right and then you play. Hit stop. Now if I go to my song, the loops, you can see that in addition to the ones I have previously recorded, I've got a Grand Piano there and I can select that and I can even go in and edit it if I wanted to get very technical with each of the different things here.

You can use the little keyboard on the side there where I can play the notes, and I can move things left and right, and I can drag them out.

So very quickly let's go take a look at Smart Keyboard. This is very similar to how Smart Guitar works. You can do a variety of different things. You can pick the keyboard here and then you can just get a full chord here at the top and at the bottom you kind of get the left hand. You can get the base and you can combine them. You can also do a sequence here. You can play the top and bottom separately. You can change the sequence at the top. So that is just a very easy way to add some chords and some base notes to your song without having to actually go into the full keyboard interface.

So there is a quick look at using the two different types of keyboards in GarageBand for iPad. It is a lot of fun to play with. There is a lot of different things. You really need to play around with it and get used to the interface and just have fun with it in order to learn it and then you can start to use it to compose music.

I hope you found this interesting. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.