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How to use GarageBand’s Note Editor on iPhone & iPad

Use GarageBand's touchscreen MIDI editing controls to edit notes in your recordings on iPad and iPhone

mainOne of the most notable (ha!) features retained by GarageBand for iPad in the transfer from the Mac version is a fully featured MIDI note editor in the traditional Piano Roll style. This displays MIDI notes as bars on a grid, with timing represented horizontally and pitch referenced vertically against the piano keyboard running up the left side of the editor.

From here, you can perfect note length, velocity, pitch and timing with the onboard editing tools. Yet MIDI editing isn’t reserved just for parts you’ve played in yourself – you can also use the techniques outlined here to personalise parts generated by GarageBand’s Smart Instruments or any of the MIDI-based Apple Loops found in the bundled library. Here’s how it all works in nine simple steps.


Step 1

1 Record some MIDI

You can record anything you like by using one of GarageBand’s built-in instruments. Alternatively, drag in a MIDI-based Apple Loop from the loop library.

Step 2

2 Enter Edit mode

Enter Track view by tapping its icon in the control bar, then double-tap your MIDI region to bring up a palette of several options. Tap the Edit option, over on the right.

Step 3

3 Move notes

Just tap and hold a note to move it around. Drag vertically up or down to adjust its pitch and horizontally to move it to a new time position in the grid.

Step 4

4 Change note lengths

To change a note’s duration, tap to select it and drag the small white arrows to set the correct length. A white vertical line indicates where the new end of the note will be.

Step 5

5 Delete notes

To delete a note, tap to select it and a pop- up menu will appear. Tap Cut to remove the note and copy it to the clipboard, or Delete to remove it altogether.

Step 6

6 Velocity

Tap the Velocity option in the pop-up menu and a velocity slider appears. Slide this to the right to increase the loudness of the selected note, or to the left to make the note softer.

Step 7

7 Add notes

Hold the pen button in the top-left corner until it turns red and you can tap anywhere to add (and also delete) notes. Slide the button to the right to lock it for hands-free operation

Step 8

8 Select multiple notes

Tap and hold in an empty area of the note editor background until a selection rectangle appears beneath your fingertip. Drag this around the set of notes you want to select.

Step 9

9 Edit multiple notes

With multiple notes selected, tap any one of them to reveal the pop-up menu. The Cut, Copy and Delete functions will now apply to all selected notes.

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