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iLife '04: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 26. Software Instruments (MIDI)

As you know from the previous chapters, GarageBand’s loops can provide hours of fun and profit even if you don’t have a lick of musical training. If you have some semblance of musical chops, though, GarageBand can quickly take you to the next level of creativity. It can record your live keyboard performances, whether you’re a painstaking, one-note-at-a-time plunker or a veteran of Carnegie Hall.

To generate the notes that GarageBand records, you can play either an external musical keyboard or an onscreen one. Either way, the cool part is that you can combine your own performances with GarageBand’s other tools. For example, some people use GarageBand’s loops to create a rhythm section—a backup band—and then they record a new solo on top. Other people ignore the loops altogether and play all of the parts themselves, one instrument at a time, using GarageBand as a multitrack “tape recorder.”

Anything you record like this shows up in green GarageBand regions. If you made it through Chapter 25, you now know that these regions contain MIDI information (that is, note data that you can edit). If you played a wrong note, no biggie—just drag it onto a different pitch, or delete it altogether. If your rhythm wasn’t perfect, so what? No human being’s rhythm is perfect (at least compared to a computer’s), not even that of rock star millionaires. GarageBand can fix it for you.

How to Feed a Hungry GarageBand

To record a musical performance in this way, you ...

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