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.