GarageBand’s incredibly friendly interface has made all complicated sound engineering, music composing tasks easy and accessible even for beginners and amateurs.
Apple has made it so accessible anybody can make their own beats by customising loops or prerecorded audio, or recording live and editing that tune or mixing both of these actions. Now, it doesn’t take a lot; All you need is a basic idea of what you want your beat to sound like, and you are good to go; in this article we will guide you on how you can make your own beats in GarageBand. If you’d like to download Garageband for Windows, our another guide explains that.
Add a Loop
If you don’t want to start entirely from scratch you can add Apple Loops to your track, and build your beat around that:
- Click on the GarageBand icon, select file and then choose ‘NEW’ to create a new project.
- In the NEW PROJECT window that opens, type in the tempo of your beat, depending on whether you want a slow or fast song.
- Now click on the ‘+’ icon at the bottom left corner of the screen and choose the type of track you want.
- Click on the loops icon at the top right corner and from the Loops library and select a Loop you like. You can click on each loop once to hear what it sounds like, just in case.
- Once you are satisfied with a Loop, drag and drop it onto your workspace to add it to your track. You can repeat it as many times as you want by copy pasting, or hovering at the edge until a circular arrow pops up which you can drag and duplicate the Loop.
- You can create new audio track and add more loops beneath the original loop to have a more dense beat.
- You can edit the Loop, or add your own recording of virtual instruments to add to the beat.
Record a beat on virtual instruments
- From the opening screen, select an empty project and click choose. This will give you the default settings of a classic electric piano with 120 beats per minute, which is the tempo we will be working with in this tutorial. You can change it, if you want another tempo.
- Change the electric piano – click the Library icon at the top left hand corner of the screen to open your library. Now go down to the instrument you wish to use, say – the drum kit.
- Select the default classic SoCal or any other option you wish to use. Click on the download icon next to the names if you don’t already have the kit.
- Once you have chosen your kit, get the screen up by entering command + k on your keyboard
- A musical typing interface will pop up. The letters on the screen apply to the letters of your keyboard, which means that when you click on your keyboard, it will play the respective key on the screen. You can now practice your key by playing it a few times.
- Once you are satisfied and ready to record, hit the record button at top (red dot) or hit the shortcut R on your keyboard and stop recording once you are done.
Edit your beat
Suppose you don’t record according to the number of beats per minute you wanted to play, the good thing about virtual instruments is that you can edit instead of having to record again :
- Double click on your recording on the screen. A window will pop up at the bottom of the screen where you can zoom and edit your beats.
- Zoom in, select all the beats that you played and move them so they are lined up with a 120 bpm, or whatever tempo you chose exactly.
- Once you have done this with one beat, you can copy and paste it of editing it over and over for the same beats, and delete the unedited parts.
- Now when you play your recording, it will be in perfect tempo.
- If you want to use the same beat with a different instrument, say with an electronic drum kit, you don’t need to record it again. You have already done the heavy work and now you can simply use the same beat and apply a different beat to it :
- Select a different kit, for example the electronic drum kit option and choose one option from the list, say indie disco or epic electro.
- When you tap on a option, your recording is automatically transformed to that instrument, and now when you play your recording it will be on a different instrument.
In this way you can use different combinations and make your own beat in GarageBand.