GarageBand is a loop-based audio editor by definition. It simplifies the process of composition and digital music arrangement by building up tracks in this way. Smaller modular regions of audio are replicated as ‘loops’ over defined bars based on tempo and time signature. The suite includes preset drum, bass, piano and many more loops – ideal for creating tracks rapidly.
However, as you progress and lay on real audio recordings and input MIDI-based software instruments, you’ll inevitably form your own. Luckily, GarageBand makes this so easy you might not realise it, but there are best practice techniques. We’ll go through those here, from identifying suitable regions to cutting them down to size and expanding. To finish, we’ll look at adding new loops to your library for repeated use.
1 Ready your project
Loop creation begins with an existing project. Use your own or our ‘Loops_Start’ project, but preferably you’ll have at least two tracks, one being real audio.
2 Tighten up timing
Before creating loops, you’ll probably want to ensure your tracks are in time. Here we’ve set the drums as our Groove Track, matching our real audio track to it.
3 The Cycle mode
Toggle on the Cycle mode using the button in the top control bar. A yellow cycle bar appears in the ruler below, which we’ll drag into position to plot our loop region.
4 Seamless loop
Drag the yellow cycle marker along the ruler, elongating and shortening until you cover a region. Play to preview and adjust until you find a perfect looping region.
5 Cutting it out
Stop playback and move the playhead to the start of the cycle. Select Edit>Split Regions at Playhead or Cmd+T to cut the start point, before moving to the end to repeat.
6 Dragging out to loop
Move the extracted region into position and hover the pointer over the top-right corner. A looping cursor icon enables you to drag the loop out over a desired duration.
7 Adding loop to Library
With your loop region selected, choose Add Region to Loop Library from the File menu. A dialog appears prompting a description for the loop before saving to library.
8 Add Region dialog
New loops must be given a unique name, a type, scale criteria, genre and description. Fill these in as desired before clicking the Create button to commit and save.
9 Browse the Library
Open the Loops browser panel and search or filter for your saved loop. It should appear below for quick preview and can now be dragged from the library into any project.