Friday, December 23, 2011

SCORE Sheet Length Control - by DianaDee Osborne

Have you ever highlighted a GarageBand music track in its "Score" mode, clicked on
File > Print > Preview
and watched a DOZEN pages of music sheets pop up on your screen?
Before you waste all that paper (and confuse anyone who might try to read your score), there are
TWO SIMPLE METHODS for shortening the length of your score:

(1 - The QUICK easy one). While the Score for the music track you want to print is in the window, you can adjust the width of the music measures you see with the slider at the bottom left right below "Auto Align to".
HINT: The SCORE will include the Track's Name under the Project Title; you can change it to be longer, more descriptive, if desired.
a. Slide it to the left to make your measures more narrow.
b. Return to File > Print > Preview.
c. If there are only a few lines of music notes on one page, repeat steps 1a and 1b to tighten them.
d. Return to File > Print > Preview AND set the print range to pages 1 through the last page that has music notes on it.
e. Then when you print, whether to a printer or to a PDF file, you'll get a MUCH shorter SCORE!

(2 - Still easy but more time consuming). Let's assume you want to print the PIANO score.
a. Highlight your piano track (not the notes in the Score view) -- both the MIDI track and the NAME of the track (for example "Grand Piano on Stage" - my favorite).
b. Go to Track > Duplicate Track. A new UN-populated (in GB, not other programs) track appears. RE-NAME this track, such as SCORE PIANO. [All files in your computer's file list are grouped under "Score" if you put the instrument name last.] **THIS IS THE NAME THAT APPEARS on GarageBand SCORE printouts. You ARE allowed odd characters like & or +).
c. Hit the HOME key to move the red line (playhead) to Measure 1.1.001.
d. Return to the piano track and copy its MIDI notes onto the new track (Ensure still at 1.1.001).
e. Play your music, and then STOP and SPLIT the track at the end of the first Verse+Chorus (etc.) -- in front of music that repeats.
f. If you have a special ending such as a Tag, do a SPLIT in front of that also.
g. Delete the MIDI region (if any) in between the main region and the Tag region.
h. Ensure SNAP TO GRID is on (Control Menu). Then slide the Tag region to begin after the main region, with at least 3 empty measures so musicians can see the break.
i. IMPORTANT --- now MUTE the new track! Otherwise you'll get an 'interesting' result when you play your project!

THAT'S IT! An easy way to shorten your score!

Future hint under DianaDee Osborne GarageBand Hints will be for

Much joy in music to you as we enter another year of opportunities and doors!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

An updated version published 27 April 2018.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Music Box in GarageBand

How do you create a music box sound without recording someone's probably-copyrighted music off a purchased music box? In GarageBand, it is easy.
1. Create a music track that uses the CLEAN GUITAR or STEEL STRING ACOUSTIC, or some similar guitar.
2. Play the melody you want for the music box.
Now, how do you get the cool harmony?
You might notice that music boxes often have a low note that continues frequently through the song. This is called a "pedal tone."
3. Select a lower note that often fits with the melody note.
EASY music creation that combines steps 2 and 3:
Select chord progressions that have a common note, and keep that note on the bottom. Example
Dm > G/D > Bm7/D (has a slight clash-y sound like music boxes) > Am7/G > resolve to Dm.
The D note stays on the bottom.
For a music box example fitting into a classical OR rock OR hip hop sound, check out my song PSALM 134 ASCENDING at my main website,
© 2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne. All rights reserved
Updated version published  24 April 2018
Much joy to you in creating innovative music!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why Doesn't Midi Instrument Hit on the Beat?

Let's say you've quantized your MIDI instrument such as violin synth or bass synth.
That is, you've selected notes, gone into the GarageBand SCORE region, and selected
Auto Align to
for all the quarter and eight notes.... but the instrument sometimes still is not "hitting" on Count 1 of the measure. Why not? How do you fix this?
There's a huge chance that your MIDI notes are too long.
1. Go into the Piano Roll view of the notation section.
2. Look at MIDI notes near the end of each measure. Are some of them so long that they cross into the next measure?
3. If so, it's an easy fix: Just shorten the long notes so they don't cross the measure bar.
NOTE: This doesn't matter so much for other counts. The ear doesn't really notice those so much.
REASON for the problem: The last MIDI note of a measure will usually continue to be heard if it extends into the next measure... and the note which you had quantized for count 1 of the next measure often can't be heard in time.
Much peace to you in the regular beats....
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Updated version published 20 April 2018

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Easy Flute and Sax Synth Hints

Synth flute and sax played on a keyboard (controller) obviously will not sound "real" to flute and sax players... but these easy hints help you get closer.
1. Remember that wind instrument players have to breathe!
Deliberately add breaks, even if they're short. Think of where *you* would have to breathe if you were actually playing the instrument. Logical places for songs with words are at the ends of sentences or phrases.
2. Don't accidentally create di-tones or chords.
That is, go into the "Piano Roll" (notation) section and ensure that the MIDI notes barely touch into each other. You don't want 2 or 3 MIDI notes in the same space for wind synth instruments. In fact, staccato (very short MIDI notes) such as for flute especially gives a playful or joyful sound. (Actual violins are played with one note blending more into the other, so the MIDI notes can overlap a little... not too much.)
If you look at the MIDI notes and see overlap,
you can often do a better edit shortening those notes if your first go to CONTROL (in GarageBand) and turn OFF "Snap to Grid". That enables you to have quarter notes that smoothly extend a bit into the next quarter notes but without the di-tone of 2 full notes being played simultaneously.
3. If there's a "muddy" sound or the meter is running 'hot,'
even after you shortened the note lengths, check (in GB) the "brighteness" of the green MIDI note to see if you accidentally played some notes louder than others. If so, select those notes, go to Velocity, and lower the volume number.
4. "Quantize" notes easily (so they hit on the metronome count):
a. In the SCORE section, highlight one note, go to Edit > Select All.
b. Go to Align To (under the Piano Roll button) and select 1/8 Note.
That gives a quick quantizing.
c. Then in the SCORE section, highlight all actual 1/4 notes PLUS the first note of a pair of 1/8th notes. Go to Align To and select 1/4 note.
d. Check the MIDI section... for faster music, some of the notes will be one above the other after quantizing. Turn ON "Snap To Grid" and then slide the 2nd note over to be in its place.
Much Joy to you experimenting with "playing" wind instruments more realistically!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

An updated version published 17 April 2018.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Out-of-Phase Drum Loops in GarageBand

Here's a fun experiment to create a "thick" grungy sound for different drum mood:
1. Create a standard MIDI drum loop, anything you like. Not TOO busy is best while experimenting. The "out of phase" will add a lot of double-hits.
2. Copy as many loops as you like; then ensure the first region begins at the very first count. (Just drag the front to count 1, adding empty space in the region, if needed.)
3. Go to Track >Duplicate Track and create another drum track.
4. By now you've probably noticed that the "Duplicate Track" command in GarageBand doesn't do what the command does in some other programs... you get an empty track! So copy your populated drum regions onto the track.
5. Hit "home" to place the marker on the very first count.
6. Paste the copy of the drum track on the new 2nd track.
Here's where the fun comes!
7. IMPORTANT: Turn OFF Snap To Grid (under Control).
8. Open the region editor of the 2nd, duplicated drum track.
9. Grab the 2nd track and very slightly drag it about 1/16th or at most 1/8th of a count into the first measure.
The result? You get an "off kilter" or "out of phase" sound
when you play the drum tracks together. Add a grungy guitar and heavy bass to begin a power packed new song.
Much joy in Experimenting with Music!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

An updated version published 13 April 2018

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


"Why won't that stupid track split right?" was my Aug 10 blog hint... this is "part 2." Let's say you've auto-aligned ("quantized") every note around where you want to split the track. (See August for hints there, too). Yet every time you try to split the track, you get a 1/32nd note or worse on one side of the split. It feels like the thing is bragging "eewww, you were SO close, tough luck!"
Here's how to "win" when GarageBand is stubborn.
1. Be sure you've selected Control > Snap to Grid. Then try again.
If that doesn't work?
2. Put the red place marker right on top of the note flag of the "after" measure. Somehow GB thinks the tiny bit of space in front means you want that space in the earlier region when you do the split.
If that doesn't work? Hey, I've tried a lot... usually something does!
3. If this is a PIANO track where you used the sustain pedal, then this is probably "The" hint for you:
When you quantize, you **must include the Ped. marks below the bottom staff.** Except perhaps to some music-purist, that really doesn't change the sound. But it (1) makes your printed score look more professional, and (2) cures a lot of track-splitting problems.
Finally -- and this is where you really "win" the battle:

If nothing else works,
go to the first chord in the measure
that you want to be Measure 1 of the 2nd region after your split is done.
1. Again quantize all of that chord "just to be sure" -- including the Ped. mark if there.
2. Go to Control > Snap to Grid and be sure it is OFF.
3. Select all the notes in the chord. Be sure to catch all -- some piano notes are widespread in chords.
4. Go to Piano Roll in the Notation View. The selected notes are a different color.
5. Move the entire set of notes slightly to the right.
6. Do the split again, and check the Score view of the notation. There shouldn't be any 1/32nd notes ending Region 1 this time.
7. Re-select that chord. Auto-align to 1/4 notes (no matter what kind of notes they are or what your signature type is).
You should now have two neatly split tracks, despite GarageBand's challenges.
Much joy to you in winning the little battles of life and music!
©2018, 20111 DianaDee Osborne

Monday, September 12, 2011

FAST Synth Bass in GarageBand

If you've already recorded a piano track for your song in GarageBand -- and other programs -- here's a quick way to get a synth bass to fill in your sound until a bass player adds live bass. REMINDER: If you don't quantize the piano before these steps, you'll have double the work quantizing two tracks.
1. Create a new track for bass.
2. Record one note, any note, to "populate" your track.
3. Extend the track to match the length of your piano track.
4. Delete your temporary note.
5. SKIP TO STEP 6 if your piano track contains only one region, since the next steps are easier if the piano is all in one track.Do Step 5 here if you have separate regions and want to keep them separate,
__5a. Select and join all piano regions.
__5b. Hit the home key to put the marker on Measure 1 Count 1.
__5c. Do steps 6 and 7 below. Do NOT do step 8 yet.
__5d. Choose Edit > Undo. Your copied notes are still on the clipboard.
__5e. SKIP TO STEP 8 (you've done 6 and 7)
6. Open the Notation view for the piano track, and select the bottom-most notes of the piano. Hit the home key to put the marker on Measure 1, Count 1.
7. Choose Edit > Copy.
8. Go into the Notation view for the new bass track. Hit your home key to put the marker on Measure 1, Count 1.
9. Choose Edit > Paste.
Here's where the work comes in -- but it's quick and fun:
1. In some places, you will have picked up a double-note bass for a count. Go to these and delete one note, usually the higher note.
2. Piano has a wider range than bass. Ensure that no notes go below a low low B (13 steps below middle C) that can be played by 5- or 6-string basses. And, since it's bass, you probably don't want notes going too high into the sonic range of other instruments including guitars and flutes.
3. Turn the piano volume down some and the bass volume up. Then play the 2 tracks.
4. Adjust notes here and there to the sound you like.
*If you're "stumped" and can't figure out what the bass note should be, it's easy to put the marker on the measure in question, then go into the piano track to look at the chord for that measure. If there are 3 or more half-steps between the two bottom piano notes, this is the guitar equivalent of a slash chord. The root is the bottom one with no space above, usually.
Piano tends to be "busier" than bass. You can optionally go into the bass track to polish the final sound:
1. For measures that copied in multiple notes from the piano track, delete bass notes after count #1 and extend the remaining bass note to extend through the measure.
2. Bass doesn't *have* to be the root note... it's your song. Use harmony notes if you like!
3. In some places the piano held a chord where a nice bass walkdown etc. would fill in....
Much FUN to you in adding depth to your life and music!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Updated version published 30 March 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Aligning Imported MP3's Easily in GarageBand

Have you ever dragged an MP3 file into your GB project to create a new track? That's a great way to add flute or "atmosphere" or other enhancements to an older version of one of your songs if you don't have a BAND file for it.

What often happens, though, is a struggle to make it align with your GB click track. Here are a couple of easy hints to try before you fret too much over the attempt:

1. First, you'll probably need some space in front of the MP3 track. So slide the track to the right to add at least one measure of room.
2. Turn OFF the Snap to Grid feature (under Control menu item).
3. Now play the metronome with the track and keep sliding the imported MP3 region until it's as close as possible to the first count of the music hitting the first count of GB's metronome (also under Control).

4. If it still is not quite "on" but you're having trouble hearing where count one comes in to match the MP3 and metronome, here's a cool hint:
--a-- Open the Notation View (the "snowflake" at the bottom left).
--b-- Click on the new MP3 track's NAME to select it. The WAV files of the MP3 will now be showing in the Notation view.
--c-- WithOUT the metronome on, play the MP3 track solo, and watch the peaks. After a bit of time, you should be able to hear the timing of the music's first counts and slide the track until the peak in the WAV file matches count 1,

This doesn't always work, but it usually does or gets you much closer before trying something else.

STEP 5 finally: You have to get rid of that space in front of the audio track if you want to clean up your project. There are two main ways:

(1) split the region on a count 1 just before the music starts, delete the unnecessary front region, and slide the 2nd region to the front of the track. Ensure that Count 1 of the track lands with Count 1 of the metronome... usually a bigger WAV peak there.

(2) Solo the audio track and send it to iTunes, bounce it, or whatever. Then bring back the now-filled-in full track with the extra front space into your project. Delete the old audio after you ensure everything is working right.
Much joy in expanding your music realms!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Updated Version published 23 March 2018.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Easy Counter-Melodies in GarageBand

One of the annoying features of GarageBand and some other software recording programs is that you can see the Notation View (the music notes on the staff) of only one track at a time. So if you want to add a synth bassline or a simple counter-melody in flute or sax, for example, you must either hope you've memorized the chord progression, or you must waste paper printing a multi-page music score you need for only a few minutes.

Easy fix:
1. Select by highlighting the track name of the track that is your main instrument (already recorded); for me it is usually grand Piano. In this case, if you select just a note within the notation view, this hint also works.
2. Select File > Print.... but don't print.
3. Click on Preview and then slide the preview window over to the side where you can see both it and the GarageBand main window.
4. Click on the new track where you want to record the counter-melody or bass (etc.) track, and begin recording, using the Preview window as your guide.

This is obviously a simple hint... but I printed out a fair number of sheets that I then discarded before I realized I could easily play from the Preview window.
Much joy in finding 'shortcuts' in music!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Updated version published  16 March 2018

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Deliberate Percussion Mistakes

Drums and percussion can add deeply to your song's mood... including to reflect angst and sorrow with DELIBERATE mistakes. For example, the ear rather expects the kick drum to always fall first on either count 1 or 2 depending on the song, and then to stay there through the song.

But suppose you keep alternating where that kick falls? An off-kilter, "something's not right" feel is added to your song. And if your words have the message that Life is off-kilter and just not right.... well, your percussion mood punches fantastic emphasis into your song.

An easy example: In my song COMFORT IN MISTAKES, I used a standard jazz 4/4 drum loop that had the quiet, sad feel of the words. BUT... the song is written in 3/4. RESULT: The kick and the high hat and everything else "feels" off-kilter when you really listen. What's really cool though is that people generally don't focus on the percussion at first unless that's "their instrument." So the song gives an off-kilter "MISTAKE" feeling that can't be explained from the main instruments.

You'll find this example song at after my studio records it next week. And this blog topic is explored further under my blog,
DianaDee Easy Songwriting Hints for Song Writers, dated 28 July 2011.

Much joy to you in *deliberately* making mistakes that reflect your song's message!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

An updated version published 9 March 2018.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Extending Live Guitar Decay Time (easy)

When you tune your guitar, your hit of the string ("attack") sets the tuner's needle "right on" when the string is in tune. But you notice that needle hold for a few seconds and then slowly drift downward as the sound dies out, called "decay".

It's easy to control decay length with guitar pedals or even amp settings. But we often record live guitar straight into the computer as a "clean" guitar, to give us full control for later changes.

Here's an easy way to lengthen your final live guitar note (or notes) even in a clean recording:
1. Leave yourself "headroom" on your guitar to move the volume knob upward.
2. After you hit the final note, as the note's sound begins to decay, gradually turn your volume knob up until the note is as long as you want.
3. Then just lower the volume control knob at whatever speed gives you the sound you want.

That's all there is to it... an easy way to let your guitar "cry" or "scream" or whatever much longer than the note(s) would last with a single hit and nothing else.
Much joy in making your guitar sing... or scream:)
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

An updated version published 27 February 2018/

Friday, August 19, 2011

Changing Music Score Key while Saving Your Music: MIDI ONLY

Have you ever created a studio project in Garageband setting the key and tempo along with the filename, then played a fantastic track.... and THEN realized that you set the project for the wrong key? Result: Your music score may have so many sharps or flats in it that only a college music major would want to try it. This hint shows -- it's NOT too late to fix your score!....

....even though the GarageBand program makes you think it is. After you've created a beautiful music track, if you look at the score (fancy GB wording: in the Notation View), you CANNOT simply change the GB key. Changing the tempo or signature there keeps all notes the same, but if you change the key, GarageBand transposes all your music to that key.

For projects with only MIDI tracks (hence ability to create score):
EASY FIX so that the score's signature shows the key you want but your recorded music won't change:
1. SAVE your project. Just in case you want to revert to the existing file :)
2. TIGHTEN your view (the slider under the top window) so you can see all or most of your track. (It also helps to do a Track > Hide Track Info for long tracks. If in the Loop Browser, first Track > Show Track Info.... another of those weird hints not in all instruction guides.)
3. Select the entire track (dark green... the track, NOT the notes in the track). and CUT.
Hey, now you understand that suggestion to first Save!
4. Select Control > Show Tempo (if you're not already there).
5. Change the Key to whatever you like.
6. Hit HOME to put the red marker at Measure 1 count 001.
7. Ensure that the correct track name is highlighted. Then do Edit > Paste.

Your original track will be pasted in exactly as it was.... NO transposition done after you changed the key. Now when you check the score, it most likely looks a lot easier to play!
Much joy to you in defeating those little quirks in GarageBand!
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne
An updated version published 20 February 2011
Updated version published   16 February 2018

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Violin Synth that Sounds More Real

How do you tell whether the music is using real violin or "fake" violin created on a synthesizer? This hint-- for any program -- will make it harder for listeners to know if you didn't use a skilled violinist for your music.

Recording programs... even basic ones like GarageBand, do a great job of giving you realistic violin sound. After studying violinists and comparing their sounds to synth violin, I found this main difference: The ending note of a violinist wavers as it fades. The ending note of a synthesizer has a nice but steady fadeout.

Easy solution for long ending violin notes: Use your Track Volume control and a lot of volume automation points. But really, only 7 pounts give a nice fade.
1. Highlight the violin track and open the piano roll. If needed, extend your final note.
2. In your track area, extend the zoom slider to make the note you'll be changing very long. (I slide to about 2/3 the zoom line in GarageBand.)
3. Click on the track name area's triangle to open the Track Volume line.
4. In GarageBand this is important (not so much perhaps in other programs): Adjust the overall volume of the track WITH the other music of the entire project to be what you want. Once you add points on the Track Volume line in GB, it's hard to change the overall volume.
5. Right after the long final violin note begins, add 7 evenly spaced automation points -- just click along the volume line. You can use more, you can use less....
6. The first point stays at the overall volume, unchanged. Raise the 2nd point above the line, the 3rd point below, the 4th point above, and etc. How much? It's up to you. In the example "Desperate Prayer" ( -- free downloadable example), I used these 7 points: 0.4 db (my main volume level), 2.7, minus 2.2, 2.7, minus 3.4, 1.2, ending at 0.4 so that the volume is set for the next region.

You won't hear much of a difference except when really listening... as musicians often do when they 'play the game' of trying to figure out if your music has live musicians or just a keyboard's great synth instrument. Just this touch adds a bit of professionalism.... and perhaps your great music will attract a violinist to ask you, "Hey, can I record live violin for you?"
Great joy in music to you! ©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

An updated version published  13 February 2018

WHY SPLIT? Hint for Perfect region copying

This hint works for any studio recording, not just Garageband-- an easy way to "know where you are" when you copy a region to another place on that track where the music of other tracks is the same. Such as, when you decide after finishing a song to add one region of your violin track to go with another verse.

An earlier hint shows how keeping regions on a track separate comes in handy when you later decide to add a verse (e.g.). This goes one step further: When your regions do not all nicely begin on the same measure, so you can't just "copy down" all the regions in a section, copy them, and paste them elsewhere.
I discovered this EASY hint while adding two more interlude sections to "Desperate Prayer" ( -- free download to check for the example) ... that was not going to be an easy addition because the violin track had multiple regions which bridged from one region to the next of every other track (such as beginning several measures ahead of piano and flute).

This hint works ok for WAV tracks (audio of any type) but it's easier in MIDI; and it assumes you've followed an earlier hint -- aligned (quantizied) notes before and after an area to split.

As always, save your project before doing any major changes so you can easily do a File > Revert to Saved if needed.
1. Put your red place marker right at the beginning of the main region; for me, it was where the piano interlude had just ended and a verse was starting. Check your Score to be sure you're not one count off.
2. Select (turns dark green in GarageBand) the region you want to copy that bridges on both sides of that marker (which, yes, has a professional name I'll skip). For me: violin.
3. Select Edit > Split (remembering that the track name must be selected/ green in GB).
4. Select the two pieces now of that region, and do an Edit > Copy. Notice that the split is right at the red marker, at the beginning of your main region (my Piano verse #2 region).
5. Now put the red marker at the corresponding place of the main track's other main region (my Piano verse #4 region)
6. Ensure the correct track name is highlighted (mine: violin). Selected Edit> Paste.
7. Test first, through the end. Then select the separate 2 pieces of your newly pasted region and do Edit > Join. Do the same for the 2 pieces of the region which you had copied.

The new regions now will fit perfectly with the rest of the music including on your main track. An easier copy than trying to match up measures for a track that goes across multiple regions of other tracks. Much joy in music to you! ©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Updated version published  30 January 2018

Friday, August 12, 2011

Keep the Mood with Ending Space

Is your goal to distribute your Indie music on the Web? Then this hint can be useful. As a musician-recording studio, you can control how long the 'mood' continues at the end of your song.

What do I mean? Here's an example: I downloaded from my website a beautiful, quiet meditative orchestra song and one of my fast-moving ragtime songs. Two MP3 tracks copied onto a CD. (They're free to download by anyone, including me:)
I listened to DESPERATE PRAYER's relaxing, peaceful, Renaissance style flute and violin music. But within a moment from the last note, my player suddenly blasted out that loud ragtime.
Well, it did awaken me quite efficiently. Thus I learned this hint:

When you go to burn a CD, you get a couple of choices of adding a few seconds between the CD tracks. You don't get that choice burning song files in MP3 format, at least in some programs. And much music online ready to be downloaded so people can learn how great your music is, is in MP3 format. The result: Your listeners just might lose the mood of your first song when the second song immediately plays and blasts away that mood.

Easy fix (in any recording program): At the end of your longest recording track (e.g., the piano track), add two blank measures. If your program assumes the song ends with the last note, it's easy to fool it (you win) by adding a fast high-pitch note at the end of that 2nd extra measure and lower the volume as far as it will go.

How much time? I just listen to the song's end and count beats in my head until I'm ready for the mood to end. A good test is to copy any loud-song mp3 onto an extra track, slide it to the end of your song, and see how much space you'd want between your song and the temporary test track. Just a hint for keeping your mood.... your song, your control! Much joy in being able to control Something in Life! c2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Reprinted 2 Feb 2018

Thursday, August 11, 2011


This hint works for any recording program: WHY would you want to split a track? Many guides tell you that you CAN but don't mention the advantages.
Three good reasons for splitting:
If you have created a music introduction and then a section that will be repeated (like Verse 1 and Verse 2), it is useful to split the track after the intro. Then you can easily copy the remaining track section through the end of verse 1 over and over until all verses are there.
HINT: Ensure the red marker bumps right up to the end of the previous section... it's easier to see this if you widen the view to make the notes larger in Score mode.
Seeing the splits also gives you visual info, to see where each verse actually is, in case you start layering in flute and other pieces that belong in a specific place within each verse.
If your kits (drum) track is more than one single sound, you might have a number of tracks kept separate so you can keep control over volume balance. As you develop the different drum segments, it's useful to see where they fit on your main track's region... especially if that region is split to show you where each music movement begins and ends. Not only does this make copying a piece easier, but you can also quickly compare MIDI notes to ensure you've copied to the right place.
Much joy in your music days! ©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Reprinted 30 January 2018

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why won't that STUPID Track Split Right???

To split a track... or REGION in the track, here's a hint that's learned "the hard way" since not generally in the manuals. Most manuals say something like (1) "You can split a track." Duh.
(2) Manual: Select the region you want to split; But no instructions on how. My previous hint does, but I'll repeat it quickly below.
(3) Manual: Move the "playhead" over the point where you want to split; another duh, though "red line" or "marker" might come to mind sooner than "playhead."
(4) Manual: Choose Edit > Split. But it doesn't tell you why that option might be grayed out in the Edit menu; my previous hint fully describes the the most common answer, but the problem is eliminated in the following hints.

(1) FIRST, you have to highlight the track name.... not simply the track, which you're already smart enough to know you'd have to select. 'Twould be nice if manuals mentioned that 'track name' thing!
(2) WHERE do you put the red marker? (Sorry, "playhead" isn't in my vocab today.) Ensure that you're in "Score" mode and not "Piano Roll"... it works either way but is a lot easier to see in Score. Put the marker right after the measure bar, but just in front of the first music note. It's ok if it touches the note.

Another question not answered in standard manuals. Deep frustration is rewarded in sharing hints one has learned with other musicians like you: If a note disappears on either side of the split, there are two easy fixes.
(1) Hit UNDO. Well, Edit > Undo or your computer's quick key, like apple-Z. That removes the frustratingly wrong splitting.
(2) Use Enhance Timing to "quantize" the notes in both the measure before and the measure after where you want that split to go. That is, select (highlight, turn them green) all quarter notes. "Enhance Timing" changes to say "Align to". Select 1/4 Note for quarter notes, and so on.
(3) By quantizing both sides of the split, you should now be able to return to Edit>Split.... after you remember to highlight that track name yet again, sigh.

Excuse me. That's a quote I've used a few times. Here's how to resist the urge to repeat it yourself:
(1) By quantizing above, the first note in the 2nd measure should be in its proper place.
(2) So if the track split still makes a note(s) disappear, most likely you have a note (or more) that's too long in the first of the 2 measures around the place you want to split. If a note goes past the measure bar, it will indeed disappear when you do a track split. Easy solution:
(3) Now it's time to go into Piano Roll, though it's easiest to have the red marker at the place you want to split first... makes it easier to find the right place. You will probably immediately see the note(s) in the first of the 2 measures that is so long it extends into the 2nd measure.
(4) Just grab the end of each note that's too long and shorten it. Then return to SCORE mode.
(5) Try Edit>Split again; this time, the split should be right along the measure bar.

GRRrrrrrr..... Note still disappearing? Tell your computer you're going to win.
(6) Return to Piano Roll. Select all the notes in the measure. Do Edit > Cut. Well, you might want to do a File > Save first:)
(7) Try the split again. If it worked right, now all you have to do is to
(8) return to that first measure and do Edit>Paste. Notes should all be there now. If not, there's always Pray-And-Repeat :)
Much Joy to you in music... despite the sometimes-frustrations of missing hints in instructions.
©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Reprinted 26 January 2018

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Join Tracks (Merge Tracks) GarageBand Hint

This hint works for ProLogic, Protools, any recording program. Example: One online GarageBand manual I found is almost 100 pages long. In 100 pages, this is what it says about joining or merging regions:
you can. Instruction: "Select the region, then choose Edit > Join."

Well, it's a bit harder to do than that. Without any manual in hand, I learned after much frustration that in GarageBand you first have to:
3. (Steps 1 and 2 are explained below).
Click on the instrument's track name (left column) to highlight it. Until then, the Edit>Join menu option stays GRAYED OUT,
___even if you've highlighted the regions you want to join,
___even if your cursor is in the editor,
___even if you've selected a MIDI note or highlighted a wave in the editor.
I'm still a bit miffed to think of all the frustrating time I spent trying to figure out why the logical Edit>Join did not work. May you have a bit more joy in missing out on that annoying omission in technical manuals that should have been user tested with complete novices like I was!

4. This step is logical even if you have no manual: Highlight the regions and select Edit>Join (duh).

5. Here's a hint I learned the hard way because it wasn't in the manuals: BEFORE you hit File>SAVE, always play your full piece of music for the newly joined regions to be sure you didn't accidentally move anything while highlighting the regions.

In fact: Here's a really cool hint (imho) I worked out from personal experience:
ENSURE YOU DIDN'T SHIFT YOUR REGIONS while highlighting them....
which is easy to do. If either region is bumped one tiny count as you touch it with your cursor, your entire piece will be off... and you will be quite frustrated as you try to repair "whatever I did." Especially if you save the file immediately after joining (merging) regions. To avoid this easy mistake:

1. BEFORE you do the three steps above, SAVE your file.
2. After you highlight the regions to be joined, go to Edit> and ensure that the Undo item is still gray. Hit UNDO if it says you need to undo anything! Especially "Change position of region"!
It's still a safety feature to check with Step 5 above, but not so essential if you've first done these two steps.
Much Joy in music to you! ©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Reprinted 23 January 2018

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ghost GarageBand Notes

Let's say you have a synth flute track that sounds pretty good except one note... and no matter how much you try to align it to a quarter note or whatever, it still sounds muddy or "thicker" than all the other notes. You've looked at the MIDI track and don't see anything different about that note. And you've checked that a same or conflicting note before it is not too long and still playing when this one begins.

GarageBand has this quirky thing... if you select a note and copy it, but forget to move your red marker to the place you want the new note before you habitually press the apple-V shortcut to copy it, GB pastes the new note right on top of the old note. So there's a possibility that you have a hidden note behind the MIDI note you see. I call this a "ghost" note. No idea what the proper word is, but hey, this describes it well.

To check to see if this is the problem, in your MIDI track's Piano Roll (shown after hitting the "snowflake" in the bottom left corner):
1. Select the problem note and drag it upward or downward.
If there's a "ghost" note, you'll see that copy still in the place from which you just moved your note.
2. If yes, there's a "ghost" -- just delete the note you just moved.
3. If no, there's no "ghost" and you need to keep investigating, just do an
Edit > Undo change position of note (or the more common apple-Z shortcut).
Then you're back where you started from but have ruled out a common-enough cause of muddy notes.

©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne;  all publication rights reserved
Reprinted 19 January 2018

Avoiding MIDI Jigsaw Puzzles in GarageBand

If you record in your home studio using GarageBand and then take your project to a studio with ProLogic, then all the tracks fall into place beautifully.

But suppose you then take those same tracks from ProLogic (since many of us can't figure out how to get MIDI tracks out of GarageBand and so take our .band files into ProLogic) to another program such as ProTools?

In my experience, every REGION of a MIDI track becomes a separate track when brought into ProTools. Worse.... every separate track begins at measure #1. Even if the region is at the end of the song.

Easy work-around I've found If you have no expectation of ever needing separate regions (see a future hint on the pro's and con's of merging regions):
1. Merge all the MIDI track's regions.
2. Check the measure and count number of the first MIDI note. Then grab the front of the newly joined region and drag it to begin at measure 1, being careful that the first MIDI note does not change location.
That's it. When you take this track to ProTools, it should come in as a single MIDI track.

Easy work-around if you DO want to keep your regions separate:
1. Create a duplicate track and carefully copy all the MIDI data into it from the original track.
2. Give the new track a name such as PIANO joined.
3. Follow steps 1 and 2 above for the duplicate track.
4. Either delete or, better, MUTE the duplicate track until you're sure you won't need it again.

Much Joy in recording music to you! ©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Reprinted 16 January 2018

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DianaDee Easy FLUTE TRILLS (etc!)

Flute trills are fun in GarageBand. And of course, the same applies for any instrument, including piano and sax, where you want a nice even timing to make your trill sound professional.

Definition: a TRILL starts at the root note of your chord (R), goes up to the next note in the chord scale (+1 in the scale, often 2 half steps), returns to the root, goes down to the next note below (minus 1), and ends on the root. [You can choose to go down first.] You can repeat the pattern as long as you'd like. Example:
R... +1... R... -1... R.. +1... R.. -1.. R

TIMING is usually 4 per count, such as 1-e-and-ah-2 for the above trill. Hint: You can easily slow the recording time by changing the tempo down, then just return it to the correct tempo after you finish Step 1.

1. Just go into your instrument track and hit Record (or R).
2. Play the trill as described above for the length you want, ending on the Root note. Note that instrument players often give a slight accent (harder hit) the the first and 5th notes plus a bit of an accent to the 3rd note. In the MIDI track, a harder hit note is a brighter green.
3. After you end the recording, listen to see if your trill is "close." If so, hit Save.
4. If you haven't already done so, hit the "snowflake" and then select Piano Roll.
5. Go to your MIDI notes (squares) for the trill. If any note overlaps the space of the next note, you need to shorten it to stay in its own space, so that each block is approximately the same (short) length. (Click on MIDI note so it turns green, go to end of note and click til you get straight line - not arrow- drag note to left to shorten. HINT: If it won't shorten a small amount, go to Control and click on Snap to Grid to turn that off).
6. Select (highlight) each note in the trill. Note the pattern -- you may need to remember it in Step 8.
7. In the Align to box, select 1/8 Note. You'll probably see the MIDI notes move a bit until evenly spaced... but some might be one above another.
8. Go back to Control and ensure that Snap to Grid is now ON.
9. Now just slide any note that's in the wrong place over an 1/8th count, to match the pattern you observed in Step 6.

That's it.... easy trills that sound professional! Don't forget to change your tempo back if you lowered it:) Much joy in music to you!
- ©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Reprinted 12 January 2018

Monday, August 1, 2011


PURPOSE OF DUPLICATE TRACKS: Full control over volume, including fade-out. This works for MIDI DRUM LOOPS that you import.... for example, that clinky bell might get on your nerves at the imported volume, but you can lower its volume in places to rest the ears IF it has its own track. Another example: I found some REALLY cool thunderstorm effects under Software Instruments at
Track > Show Track Info > Sound Effects >Nature Sounds ....
Thunder, lightening, pouring rain.... and all are MIDI notes, so I could select exactly what sound I wanted for Power songs like IN GOD'S EYE (

The problem? The rain and earthquake and crashing waves would end too abruptly--the moment the MIDI note stopped -- but if I tried continuing that MIDI note, the rain etc. lasted too long. Same for thunderclaps, etc. You can create a fade-out of a GarageBand track, but not of a single note within that track.

Here's the fun trick I figured out which might help you. Warning: This can get tediooouuussss for long songs. It's easier if you plan ahead, do these with Verse 1 before you copy it to add verses 2,3, etc. that lengthen your song.

1. Click on the track name to highlight your MIDI track. Every region of the track itself should turn rich green... IMPORTANT: This is NOT selecting individual notes in the track.
2. Select Track > Duplicate Track.
3. You now have a new track with an identical name. Notice that GarageBand (my version anyway!) does NOT duplicate the information within that track as some other recording programs do. Repeat Step 2 for each note that you have in your original tracks. Example from my simpler HOPE THROUGH DARK RAIN: Create 3 duplicate tracks.
4. As a safety measure, re-name your original track to include a word like ORIG. Example from HOPE: Storm Orig
5. Then rename each duplicated track --in order from top note's sound to the bottom -- to include the sound in the name. Examples from HOPE: Thunderclap, RainHardLtThunder, RainLIGHT.
6. Now you need the data in each track. It's easiest to first slide the button under your last trackname as far to the left as it will go, to compress your screen more.
a. Drag the first MIDI region to begin at measure 1.1.001. If you don't, the copy will start in the wrong place. (Or you'd have to move the red marker to begin *exactly* where the ORIG track begins.)
b. Put your Cursor at the end of the ORIG track (gray space), hold down the right mouse button, and then move the cursor all the way to the front of the ORIG track.
c. Go to Edit > Copy. [Note that you could not use Edit>Select all because that selects every track.) Apple-C is the short-cut key.
d. Select that track by clicking on the track name. Press the HOME key to ensure that the red line marker is at count 1.1.001. Select Edit>Paste. Apple-V is the short-cut key. (If for some reason PASTE isn't an option, no problem... you just did something else that's in the program memory now. Just repeat 6b and 6c.)
REPEAT 6d for each duplicate track.

a. Select the solo button (headphones symbol) for the ORIG track and every duplicate track.
b. Play. They should be simultaneous.
c. Fix if they aren't. If tracks don't match, one or more tracks didn't begin in the right place.... that's a hint for fixing easily that has to wait til another day, sorry! But most likely they fit. First suspect if they don't is accidentally skipping Step 6d for the last duplicate track. Future steps assume the tracks all match:)
8. MUTE the ORIG track and slide it to the bottom of your tracks, just as a future reference.

You need to have the notes section open ("snowflake" button) and Piano roll showing (no music note symbols). In this example, the notes are A#2 (Thunderclap), A2 (RainHard), and G2 (RainLIGHT)

DUPLICATE TRACK #1 (A# Thunderclap)
9. Select the first duplicate track (example: Thunderclap). Put the red marker near the end of the final track with your sounds and Play until you get to the final note("chord") of the track, ensuring that you can see it in the Piano Roll area.
10. Select the second-to-the-top note so it turns darker green. Put your cursor right after that note, hold down your right mouse button (and KEEP holding it through this step), then drag to the left until every note of the 2nd from top is highlighted AND with mouse button still down, drag downward until every note below is highlighted.
11. REMEMBER you can't use your mouse to delete notes; go to Edit>Delete. What is left is ONLY the notes that were on top. Example: Only notes on the track are A#, labeled A#2 if you hold the cursor on the green MIDI line note for a moment to see the note name and velocity (loudness).

12a. Repeat steps 9, 10 and 11 to delete all notes on the top "row). (Example: Delete all A#2 notes.)
12b. Then repeat for the 3rd "row" of notes. (Example: all G notes). Now the only notes left are those that were originally on the 2nd "row." Example: The only notes on the track now are A, labeled A2 by GB.
12. Repeat steps 9, 10 and 11 for the top two rows notes (Example all A#2 and A2 notes now deleted). Now the only notes left are those that were originally on the 3nd "row." Example: G2 notes.

You now have one track per sound and can fade in or out as needed, raise volume, even add special effects to a single sound, such as giving that thunderclap a reverb that bounces people to attention! Much joy to you in music!
 -- ©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Updated Version Reprinted in two parts January 8 and 9, 2018

Thursday, July 28, 2011

ENHANCE TIMING HINT 2, DianaDee GarageBand

"ENHANCE TIMING" is the wording GarageBand uses; other programs call it "QUANTIZING" ---- ensuring that the spacing of a note fits with the timing rather than sliding a bit sooner or later.

Why do you want to enhance timing? So you can add drumkit tracks and they'll fit right in.
Why do you sometimes NOT? Sometimes you have a song with "loose" timing, especially jazz and blues.
But if you do: Hint 1 gave a super-quick "draft" enhancing. Hint 2 is also an easy trick I learned but haven't seen elsewhere, if you want to go a step further without literally touching every note. HINT 3 will provide another easy hint for Detailed Enhancing of every note.

Hint 2:
Even in jazz & blues, if you have a note on count 1, you'll most likely want it to start on "001". Example while in a GarageBand track: Select Control > Show Measures in LCD; then hit the keyboard's home key. Your marker will move to 1.1.001. For any measure with straight timing, you'll want count 1 to be at .001.

But if you followed my HINT 1 in the previous blog, 
doing a quick enhance-timing to 1/8th notes, 
count 1 of a measure might actually be 1.1.086 even though you look at the score and your note is sitting right beside the measure bar looking like count 1. That means your drum hits a fraction before your note. Most people won't notice. But if you care:

Unlike for Hint 1, it is not any easier to first join regions.
And sometimes you may NOT want to join regions.... a future hint!

1. Select your MIDI track (notice it is always green in GarageBand; audio tracks are blue).
2. Select Score (not Piano Roll; it's harder to see measure marking and whether your note is 1/4 or 1/8).
3. Individually -- even for 1/8th and 1/16th notes -- select the first note in each measure ("note" including chord set of notes; choose together)
and hit "Enhance Timing" > "Align to" > "1/4 Note". 

This will NOT change the length of your note; it will still be a 1/8th note, or 1/16th, or whatever. But it does ensure that the note hits exactly with the drum kit.
OPTIONAL: For even more precise sound in 4/4 time, do the same for Count 3. But it doesn't usually matter for counts 2 and 4 -- our ears don't hear each slight off-ness of those counts. But we instinctively listen for the first note to be exactly on count 1....

Quantize: to restrict something to discrete values --not a continuous set of values. That is, to put the note exactly in its place instead of one of the set of {almost-good-enough} places.

Much Joy in Music to you! ©2018, 2011 DianaDee Osborne

Updated Version Reprinted 5 January 2018

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ENHANCE TIMING HINT 1, DianaDee GarageBand

The purpose of DianaDee Osborne GARAGEBand Hints is simple:
I had to learn a lot of tricks by trial and error. EVERY one I know who writes music has been very frustrated at times by trying to get the "music in my head" into Garage Band, to share with the world. I'VE LEARNED SOME REALLY EASY TRICKS, and just want to share, in case it makes *your* life more fun as you record your music!

Some examples from new songs will be provided at times.... 
They can be found in FREE down-loadable MP3 format (full song) 
with FREE matching PDF music files for many of these, 
at my website:     CLICK HERE 

No cost, no commitment, no registration input boxes!
Just ideas from one musician to others!

ENHANCE TIMING HINT 1 (MIDI tracks only.... the PIANO ROLL screen with "squares")
This feature is in the bottom left corner when you hit the snowflake at the bottom of your GarageBand screen. Why do you want to do this? To make the drum kits hit exactly "on" beat with your music notes (if that's what you want your music to do, of course!). A super-quick method for NON-syncopated music... does not work for jazz and blues, sadly!:

If you can join every region on your MIDI track, this is faster. However you might not want to.... a hint as to why will come soon! For each region on your one MIDI track:

1. Ensure that the signature (like 4/4) is correct so that the measure bars will be in the right places.
2. Select your track.
3. Select the snowflake in the bottom left corner to show the editing music feature.
4. If it's not already showing, press the Score button to show actual music notes. This method works well for Piano Roll.... but not in *this* hint:)
5. Touch your cursor on a single note (it turns green when selected).
6. Go to your top GarageBand menu and select Edit > Select all. (Or type the shortcut apple-a).
7. Every note in the region will now be green. The "Enhance Timing" label now says "Align to". Click on the up-down edge of the bar to change "none" to "1/8 note" or whatever is the smallest (shortest) note in your piece.
8. IF YOU DID NOT JOIN all the regions in your MIDI track, just repeat steps 1-7 for each region.

Now it's time for the more detailed work, but you're already a lot closer to matching whatever drum track you choose. Hints for DETAILED Enhance Timing will be provided in Hint 2. Have Fun with *your* music to the World! Much Music Joy to you!
©2011 DianaDee

Updated Version Reprinted 2 January 2018