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GarageBand is a software application that allows users to create music or podcasts. It is developed by Apple Inc. for Mac OS X. It is not to be confused with, a website that promotes amateur musicians and which is not associated with Apple Inc. or its software.


[edit] Overview

GarageBand can only be purchased as part of iLife, a suite of applications (also including iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, and iWeb) intended to simplify the creation and organization of users' digital content. The application is not aimed at professional musicians, but it is intended to help amateurs produce music easily.

GarageBand belongs to the genre of loop-based music sequencing software first popularised during the late-1990s by Sony's ACID Pro. The application comes with 1,000 pre-recorded sampled and sequenced loops, and 50 sampled or synthesized instruments which can be played using a MIDI keyboard connected to the computer, or using an on-screen virtual keyboard. Additional loops and instruments are available in the five GarageBand Jam Packs, separate products offered by Apple Computer; each expansion pack costs approximately $100 USD and adds more than two thousand loops and dozens of virtual instruments.

There are several 3rd-party companies that offer Garageband Apple loop sample content, both on CD and in downloadable loop packs. Users can also record their own loops through a microphone or via a MIDI instrument.

[edit] History

GarageBand was developed by Apple under the direction of Gerhard Lengeling, formerly of the German company Emagic, makers of Logic Audio. (Emagic was acquired by Apple in July 2002.)

The application was announced during Steve Jobs's keynote speech at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco on 6 January, 2004; musician John Mayer assisted with its demonstration.

GarageBand 2 was announced at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 11, 2005. It shipped, as announced, around 22 January, 2005. Major new features included the abilities to view and edit music in Musical Notation form, to record up to 8 tracks at once, to fix timing and pitch of recordings, to automate track pan position, master volume, and master pitch, to transpose both audio and MIDI, and to import MIDI files.

GarageBand 3, announced at 2006's Macworld Conference & Expo, includes a 'podcast studio', including the ability to use more than 200 effects and jingles, and integration with iChat for remote interviews.

[edit] Interface

GarageBand features a block like interface in which different strands of notes, referred to as loops, fit together on separate levels, referred to as tracks or instruments. The program comes with pre-made loops that you simply drag-and-drop into tracks. There are two types of tracks: software instruments and real instruments.

Software instruments are instruments built into the application similar to how instruments are built into a synthesizer. Since all of the instruments use the same concert pitch, you have the ability to alter software loops. For instance, a loop designed for an electric piano could be placed into a church organ track if you were looking for a more religious feel. The real writing process comes in with the software instruments. You can only write music for the software instruments since their notes are built into the system. There are several ways of inputting musical notes and rhythms. You can click different piano keys but that makes it difficult to play in time. The most practical way if you really want to record as if you were playing the piano but without any hardware attachments is the musical typing feature. This will bring up an on-screen keyboard in which keys correspond to keys on a piano. Editing of recorded tracks still complies with a block like interface. For a note to be longer you simple elongate the block. If you want the note to start earlier you move the block closer to the beginning. You can only edit loops that are in software tracks.

The other type of track is called a "Real Instrument" track. This is where the recording process of GarageBand comes in. Using a microphone, you can record an instrument being played or a voice-over. You can apply several effects to the recorded mesh such as "Glam" if you wanted an electrical guitar sound or "Deeper Vocals" if you wanted a voice to sound lower. Real instrument tracks could be seen as universal since imported music or recorded sound are displayed as real instrument tracks. It is even capable of putting software track loops into real instrument tracks. The problem with this track is that you cannot change the instrument nor can you use musical typing in conjunction with real instrument tracks. This is really the discerning quality between real instrument and software instrument tracks.

Both tracks can be used together in the final production. You could have a software instrument drum line that is looping over and over again, while a real instrument track has you playing a melody on the trombone or any instrument. In that sense really comes the essence of GarageBand which is the combining of the tracks to create a block of sound composed of different instruments and parts.

[edit] Limitations

While GarageBand can be used to produce professional-quality recordings, the software has limitations that in practice make this difficult. Tempo for each track and key signature cannot be changed within a song, but since version 2, the master pitch can be changed mid-song. Automation of effects parameters is also absent, as is a (native) MIDI out capability.

Music purchased via the iTunes Store can be imported directly into GarageBand.

[edit] Jam Packs

The Jam Packs have been packaged in two different package designs thus far coinciding with newer releases of iLife. All Jam Packs to date are:

  • GarageBand Jam Pack 1: World Music ([1])
  • GarageBand Jam Pack 2: Remix Tools ([2])
  • GarageBand Jam Pack 3: Rhythm Section ([3])
  • GarageBand Jam Pack 4: Symphony Orchestra ([4])

In recent releases the numbering of the packs has been dropped as well as the first Jam Pack.

A selection of demonstration loops from each of the Jam Packs are also freely downloadable to users who own a .Mac account.

[edit] Notable users

  • Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor released singles The Hand That Feeds and Only from their 2005 album With Teeth as GarageBand files, allowing people to freely remix them. The first single Survivalism from their 2007 album Year Zero has also now been released in GarageBand format, and they have stated their intention to release the entire album in GarageBand format.
  • Fort Minor also used a GarageBand file in their single "Believe Me". Panic! At The Disco is also another notable band that used Garageband when the band first started out.
  • Mindless Self Indulgence used a loop included in the program called "Secret Agent Guitar" in their song "My World."
  • In the movie Constantine, during the end credits the included loop "Edgy Synth" can be heard in one of the songs.
  • Crazy Frog also used a GarageBand file in their song "In The 80's."
  • Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst has noted on his MySpace profile that he has made countless songs on GarageBand, including Masturbation.
  • The end theme of 12 oz. Mouse episode "Auraphull" was made with GarageBand loops, most noticeably "Fusion Electric Piano 09" and "70s Ballad Strings 02." The end credits appear to state that this was made by Schoolly D.

[edit] See also

  • Logic Pro - A professional audio production application by Apple Computer.
  • Logic Express - The "light" version of Logic Pro, intermediate in features between GarageBand and Logic Pro.
  • iTunes - GarageBand's songs can be exported to Apple's music player. Both are part of the iLife application suite.

[edit] External links

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