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Use the different Tracks in GarageBand

Organise and edit your GarageBand projects by using the many different Tracks options

Screen shot 2015-01-08 at 10.06.00


They may be hidden away somewhat, but GarageBand’s multiple Track views have several practical uses for songwriters and composers alike. They’re found under Tracks in the menubar and enable you to perform such tasks as editing the tempo and adding a movie.
Arrangement is a highly useful tool for songwriters as you can use it to lay down markers to signify which parts of your project are which; Tempo and Transposition are good for controlling the speed and key of your piece; and Movie is the ideal tool with which to create a soundtrack or score. Finally, the Master track enables you to change the volume and panning of the whole track, as well as select from a range of preset mixes to add an extra dimension to your composition.

Find even more expert tutorials in the latest issue of iCreate.


Set up and record

Choose your project settings and record a track with defined sections. We’ve gone for a simple pop song with verses, a chorus and a bridge. This makes it easier to label in the next step.



Go to Track>Show Arrangement Track and click the + to add an Intro marker at eight bars long. Click the icon and you will get Verse, Chorus, Bridge and Outro markers – all at eight bars.



To avoid things accidentally getting moved, try locking items you are happy with in place. Select the item you wish to pin down, then from the Format tab hit the Lock button at the bottom. The Xs around the frame will now show this as being stuck.



To add a film, press Shift+Cmd+O to open the Movie track and click on Movie. Select your video and it’ll import into GarageBand. The audio will appear in a separate track.


Working together

You can use the Arrangement and Movie tracks together to get a better sense of what’s happening – you can customise the markers to describe the video rather than the audio.



The transposition tool is useful if you wish to make a key change without re-recording MIDI data. Click on the orange line where you want a key change and drag the circle up or down.



The Tempo track controls the speed of the piece. To make a sudden change in tempo, Cmd+click on the blue line and drag up or down to the desired beats per minute.


Tempo curves

To create a more subtle change in tempo, you need to mark two tempo points. A dark circle will appear below the second; drag this to create a tempo curve. It’ll snap to a straight line.


Master Track

Here you can edit the volume of the whole project by moving the slider. Open the Library and you have access to several mixing options with which to experiment.