MacMost Now 846: Using GarageBand For iPad Part 5: Building a Song

Learn to use GarageBand for iPad to build a song. You can use pre-made Apple Loops in combination with tracks that you record using GarageBand's instruments. You can mix and combine them, and add song sections. Then you can export in a variety of ways to use the music in your projects or share with friends.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 846: Using GarageBand For iPad Part 5: Building a Song.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at using Apple loops in creating a complete song in GarageBand for iPad.

I'm going to start off here on the list of song screen. If you are not there, there is probably an In My Songs button on the top let corner of your screen so tap that to go to this screen here. It's got the demo song in there. I'm going to hit the plus button and create a new song.

When you create a new song you have to pick an instrument and then start playing it. We've gone through all the different instruments but I don't want to start with an instrument. I want to start by using Apple loops, the built in music loops. So let's just create a dummy track here.

I'm going to go to Just Keyboards here and hit the record button and just record really nothing. Hit stop and then I'm going to tap the loops button at the top. It is the one right next to the keyboard button, you can see I'm tapping it there. You can see that's the track that I just recorded which I am going to throw away.

Before I throw it away I'm going to add an Apple loop to this song here so that the song just doesn't go away. A song with no tracks will just automatically disappear. So I'm going to tap the loops button which is the upper right. It looks just like a loop.

This will bring up this loops browser here. It will start off here with basically a list of all the loops which are a lot of them. So I want to narrow it down. I'm going to tap instrument here and hit all drums. Then I'm going to go to genre and select rock and blues. Then we can go further into descriptors to narrow it down even more. Let's do something that's kind of relaxed there. Let's pick the 60's Shuffle Drumset, that first one right here. We can hear a preview of it. Tap it again to stop it and if it is the one we want we simply drag it in and it creates another track.

So now we have two tracks in here. Let's get rid of the piano track. I'm going to do that by tapping on the piano icon to the left there and I get these options here. I'm going to hit delete. So now I've got one track here that is just this drum kit and I can hit play to hear it.

Now let's add another loop. So I'm going to hit the loop button again and I'm going to hit reset keyboards. This time I'm going to choose some instruments. I'm going to choose bass guitar, let's go and stick with rock and blues and let's take this Bright Tone one here and preview it. Let's drag it in there.

Now we can hear them both together by playing it. So let's add a third loop in here. We'll reset the keyboards here. We'll go to Instruments and we'll select something here. Let's go and select guitar. Then after guitar we'll select something urban and we'll do this one right here.

Now we have three tracks going on at the same time. Let's take a listen.

So it is sounding pretty good but the one thing we are missing is our own touch. After all these are three loops that anybody can just put together. There is ton a variety in choosing three different loops to put together. You can put more loops in as well. But let's go and create our own unique song by adding our own instrument here.

Let's tap the Instruments button at the top and this time let's select keyboards here. Let's go and then switch to something like a soul organ. Now notice at the top we still have this little playback tab here which can move back and forth. We can actually play the music we have so far. Then we can play the keyboard over it. So we can actually jam with the loops that we had before and add our own keyboard thing there. Which is great for trying to figure out some sort of notes that we want to add.

Once we figure it out we can use the record button to actually record a track. One thing I find useful before doing that is go back to the loops there by tapping the button at the top and let's expand here, I want to drag out this part here. There is this little area in the very middle that you can use to drag. It is right below the little soul organ image. Now I can lower the volume on these so that they are not quite as loud which means I will hear my playing over what I am doing here.

I'm also going to, or I could delete that soul organ track or I can simply just double tap in it on the left and it should take me right into the soul organ track. There we go. So now when I rewind here and play the soul organ is louder. I hit stop there at the top and I can hit rewind. If I want to have it where I can kind of get a count in here in the settings so I make sure I have the Metronome set to on and the Count-in on, which means it is going to count one measure, so I can get ready to play just at the right time.

So now when I hit record I can get ready and I can play my track over the existing background sounds.

Once you have recorded something you can go back and change it again. You can see the green area at the top. I've exited and come back in here during the recording of this so there is no Undo button but there will be an Undo button at the top so you can quickly Undo and record again and just record over and over until you get it right.

Then you can hit the Loops button there at the top and you can go and see it in the context of your entire song. You can actually tap in the loop to select it and then tap it again and you get the edit button there and now you can go in and actually do some editing of the actual notes. You can also, with it selected, tap the Controls at the upper right and then do things. Like for instance this, I can actually lock the notes to the quarter note, eighth note, etc. So for me, you can see it moves slightly there, it helps timing a little better, especially for someone like me who is not great with musical timing.

Then you can, let's expand this again to the right, and now we can adjust the volumes of each of these. Bring it up a bit and we can play the complete song.

Now to add more than eight measures to your song you press the plus button at the upper right corner there and you can create and add song sections. I can add song section B there and I get a second section and I can then put other things in there and I can move back and forth between these song sections pretty easily just by dragging over to the right and you can see. There I go. I've got A and B.

So I can basically copy pieces over. I can transpose them and add different melodies and things to each one. There is a ton of stuff you can do obviously. It is a very deep tool.

So when I'm done with the song what can I do with it. Well, I can go back to My Songs here and then I can select it. Just tap and hold instead of actually tapping it once which will just go into the song for editing. I've got a Share button at the upper left. Now I can share directly to different services which will basically wrap the song up into an audio file and send it out. I can also share it via iTunes which means that it will save it out as an audio file and then I can go and sync with iTunes and find this as a document file in GarageBand so I can get the music out and over to my Mac. I can also email the song or save it as a ringtone.

So for instance one of the simplest to do is to save it via email here and I can add a bunch of different things to it. Some information to it. Then email it. You can see it is going to export the song there. So there are various different ways of getting it there. Of course if you are using iCloud you can also then access this on you Mac.

So there is the end of the five-part look at using GarageBand for iPad. Obviously all five episodes I'm still just scratching the surface. There is so much more that you can do and so much more that you can play with and other features in GarageBand. You can use it to compose complete songs or just quick little loops maybe to use in videos or for other things. It is a lot of fun to play with. I encourage you to just get GarageBand for iPad and play with it.

Of course if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch GarageBand works on there too. The interface looks slightly different but the functionality is basically the same.

Hope you enjoyed this look at GarageBand for iPad. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: One Response to “MacMost Now 846: Using GarageBand For iPad Part 5: Building a Song”

    6 years ago


    I just discovered your podcasts a few weeks ago. Wow! All the episodes are very professionally produced, with great tips. Having GarageBand on my iMac, you convinced me with your episodes that it is indeed a powerful iPad app and I’ll be downloading it today. And thanks for your Pixelmator tutorials. I just bought and downloaded the app and am following along on the iPad as I explore the features on my Mac. One of the best deals in the Mac App Store for this photo editing app.

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