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The GarageBand application icon.
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Stable release 5.1 / August 3, 2009
Operating system Mac OS X
Type Music editing software

GarageBand is a software application that allows users to create music or podcasts. It is developed by Apple Inc., and is included in all shipments of iLife.


Features of GarageBand


Audio Recording

GarageBand is a streamlined digital audio workstation (DAW) and music sequencer, which can record and play back multiple tracks of audio. Built in audio filters allow the audio track to be enhanced for recording guitar instruments, etc. The tuning system can also effectively imitate the auto-tune effect when tuned to maximum.

Virtual software instruments

GarageBand can play virtual instruments, used for creating songs or playing music live using over 100 sampled or synthesized instruments, which can be played using a USB or MIDI keyboard connected to the computer, or using an on-screen virtual keyboard. Additional instruments are available in the five GarageBand Jam Packs, which are separate expansion packs offered by Apple.

MIDI editing

GarageBand can import MIDI files, and offers piano roll or notation-style editing and playback. Whilst offering a comprehensive control over MIDI files, Garageband does not include several key features; notably the ability to change tempo manually, though many of these shortcomings have been addressed with each successive release of Garageband.

Music lessons

A new feature of GarageBand 09 is the ability to download pre-recorded music lessons from GarageBand's Lesson Store for guitar and piano. There are two types of lesson available in the Lesson Store: Basic Lessons which are a free download and Artist Lessons which must be purchased. The first Basic Lessons for both guitar and piano are included with GarageBand to start with.

In both types of lesson a music teacher presents the lesson which is in a special format offering high quality video and audio instructions. The lessons include a virtual guitar or piano which demonstrates finger position and a musical notational area to show the correct musical notations. The music examples used in these lessons features popular music.

In an Artist Lesson the music teacher is the actual famous musician and songwriter who composed the song being taught in the lesson. As of November 2009 the artists featured are: Sting (Roxanne, Message in a Bottle, Fragile), Sarah McLachlan (Angel), Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy (I Don't Care, Sugar, We're Goin' Down), Norah Jones (Thinking About You), Colbie Caillat (Bubbly), Sara Bareilles (Love Song), John Fogerty (Proud Mary, Fortunate Son, Centerfield), Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic (Apologize), Ben Folds (Brick, Zak and Sara), John Legend (Ordinary People), and Alex Lifeson of Rush (Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Working Man, The Spirit of Radio).


GarageBand is only available as a part of iLife, a suite of applications (also including iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and iWeb) which is intended to simplify the creation and organization of digital content. iLife is included on new Macintosh computers; and upgrades can also be purchased separately. Minor updates can be downloaded from Apple’s website or from Software Update.

Both Apple themselves and several third parties offer extra loops to use in Garageband, on CD or by download. Users can also record their own loops through a microphone, via a Software Instrument or by using an audio interface to connect a guitar to their Mac.


GarageBand was developed by Apple under the direction of Dr. 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’ 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 (2005) 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.

GarageBand 4, aka GarageBand '08, is part of iLife '08. It incorporates the ability to separately record sections of a song such as bridges, and chorus lines, support for automation of tempos and instruments, create and export iPhone ringtones, and a "Magic GarageBand" feature that includes a virtual jam session with a complete 3D view of the instruments.

GarageBand 5 is part of the iLife '09 package. It includes music instruction. It allows the user to buy instructional videos by contemporary artists. It also contains new features for electric guitar players, including a dedicated 3D Electric Guitar Track containing a virtual stompbox pedalboard, and virtual amplifiers with spring reverb and tremolo. GarageBand 5 also includes a cleaner and redesigned user interface, as well as Project Templates.


GarageBand has a standard multi-track drag-and-drop interface where different (pre-) recorded sections, or loops, are strung together on separate tracks. The program comes with pre-made loops to speed up song creation. GarageBand uses two types of media: software instruments (either recorded from GarageBand or imported from MIDI files), and real instruments (either recorded or imported audio files).

Software instruments are instruments built into the application similar to a synthesizer, and appear green in GarageBand. The software instruments included in the retail version of GarageBand range from a Grand Piano, to synth-based effects. More instruments may be purchased via Apple's Jam Packs or third-party software. There are several ways of recording a software instrument section, but the preferable method is to connect a MIDI keyboard using a USB cable or a MIDI interface, and have the session recorded in GarageBand. GarageBand also includes both an on-screen Grand Piano, and a "Musical Typing" window.

The versatility of software instruments extends to the pre-made loops provided by Apple. For instance, a loop designed for an electric piano could be placed on a church organ track to create a more religious feel. In addition to a standard piano-roll editing system (with musical notes presented on the vertical axis, and time or beats presented on the horizontal axis), GarageBand can compile real musical notation based on the (pre-) recorded track. Starting with GarageBand 4 ('08), this notation can be printed. Notes can be added; modified in length, position or pitch; or deleted.

The other type of track is called a "Real Instrument" track presented in blue. Using a microphone or plugging the instrument directly in (or through an audio interface/mixer), you can record an instrument being played or vocals. You can apply several effects to the waveform such as "Glam" if you wanted an electrical guitar sound or "Deeper Vocals" to pitch down a particular track. GarageBand can convert software instrument loops into real instrument loops to reduce CPU overhead.

Both tracks can be used together in the final production. A software instrument drum line could loop continuously, a real instrument track plays a melody recorded on the trombone, while a third track plays separately recorded vocals.

Software, Real, and Electric Guitar Tracks can all be edited using the Track Editor, where common copy, split, paste commands can be used. Also, all of these tracks can be further manipulated by advanced functions such as Enhance Tuning also known as Auto Tuning, Enhance Timing, and Transposing.

From GarageBand 3 onwards, a movie track can be added to allow for accurate film scoring, and a Podcast track can also be added to provide a photo stream for iPods with screens.


A lack of MIDI-out capability limits the use of external MIDI instruments. There is also only limited support for messages sent from knobs on MIDI keyboards, only real-time pitch bend, modulation, sustain, and foot control are recognized. However, since version '08, other parameters affected by MIDI knobs can be automated later per track. GarageBand has no functions for creating multiple time signatures, though the software does now allow a tempo track to automate tempo changes. The ability to reverse tracks is also not available.

Other than pitch bend, GarageBand is limited to the pitches and intervals of standard 12-tone equal temperament, so it does not support xenharmonic music. Logic Pro supports different tunings,[1] but not GarageBand.

Jam Packs

Jam Pack is the brand name for Apple’s official add-ons for GarageBand. Each Jam Pack contains loops and software instruments grouped into certain genres and styles.

The current Jam Packs are:

  • GarageBand Jam Pack: Remix Tools
  • GarageBand Jam Pack: Rhythm Section
  • GarageBand Jam Pack: Symphony Orchestra
  • GarageBand Jam Pack: World Music
  • GarageBand Jam Pack: Voices

All the Jam Packs have a single homepage.

There was also another GarageBand Jam Pack, initially known just as "Garage Band Jam Pack," later "Garage Band Jam Pack 1" that was discontinued in January 2006. Beginning with the release of GarageBand Jam Pack: Remix Tools and GarageBand Jam Pack: Rhythm Section, ending with the release of GarageBand Jam Pack: World Music in the January of 2006, each Jam Pack was designated with a number. The release of GarageBand Jam Pack: World Music also saw a redesign in packaging.

Third-party instrument and AppleLoop packages

In addition to Apple, many other companies today offer commercial or shareware virtual software instruments designed specially for GarageBand, and collections of AppleLoops intended for GarageBand users.

GarageBand can also use any third-party software synthesizer that adheres to the Core Audio (Audio Units) standard. However, there are limitations. Audio Unit instruments which can respond on multiple MIDI channels or ports can be triggered only on the first channel of the first port. This means that multi-timbral instruments which contain multiple channels and respond to many MIDI channels, such as Native Instruments Kontakt and MOTU MachFive, are not ideally suited for use in GarageBand.

Sample Multitrack Source Files

In 2005, Trent Reznor from the band Nine Inch Nails released the source multitrack GarageBand files for the song "The Hand That Feeds" to allow the public to experiment with their music, and solicited prospective GarageBand users to remix the song. They also gave permission for anyone to share their personalized remix with the world.

Since then, Nine Inch Nails has released several more GarageBand source files, and several other artists have also released their GarageBand files for the public to experiment with.

(For more info, and to download the source files for that song and others, visit [1] and click on "Remix").

New Zealand band Evermore also released the source multi track files for Garageband for their song "Never Let You Go" on the respective single.

See also

List of MIDI editors and sequencers


External links

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Introduction to GarageBand article)

From Wikiversity

Welcome to Introduction to GarageBand.

With GarageBand you can record live sounds with a built-in keyboard, a keyboard attached to your computer and with a microphone.

GarageBand is software that allows you to make great music, podcasts and movie sound tracks. This tutorial allows participants to learn how to use GarageBand to make audio and visual resources for projects such as Wikiversity the Movie. If you have audio or visual clips to donate, please upload them to Wikiversity and/or leave a link at Introduction to GarageBand/Audio and video resources.


How to get GarageBand software

GarageBand software is included with all Macintosh computers manufactured by Apple (after January 6, 2004). GarageBand is part of iLife, a suite of applications that allow creation and organization of digital images and sounds. In addition to GarageBand, iLife includes iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, and iWeb. The GarageBand 3 version of 2006 introduced two major features, support for podcasting and support for movie sound tracks. If you have an older Macintosh (pre-2006) with GarageBand 2, you need to purchase iLife '06. You can purchase the latest version of iLife (which is only available for OS X, excluding iTunes) for $79 from Apple. Once you install Garageband, it is recommended to check for updates, as they could contain bug fixes.

Start using GarageBand

Figure 1. The GarageBand icon.

The GarageBand application can be found in the Applications folder of a new Macintosh. The image (Figure 1, to right) shows the GarageBand icon in the dock and part of a GarageBand project window containing musical notes in an edit window.

Figure 2. The GarageBand Help feature.

GarageBand has eight menus including "Track", "Control" and "Help". The Help menu provides access to the GarageBand Help feature (see Figure 2, to left).

There is more help at the Apple webpage for GarageBand: At the Apple website there is a video tutorial for GarageBand. The Apple tutorial video emphasizes how to use GarageBand for making podcasts and sound tracks for movies. There are many help files in GarageBand Help, the first help file is called "GarageBand basics".

A fun way to get started with GarageBand is to download a project file.

GarageBand comes with pre-recorded sound files called "Apple Loops". To access the Apple Loops, click on the "loop browser" button (see Figure 3, right, below). The loop browser helps you find interesting instrument sounds and hear them. When you find a sound you like just drag it up into the "tracks" window. Click the "play" button and adjust the volume control slider.

Note: the red button is for recording (see below for details). The play button (triangle) works as both a play button and a stop button and you can also use the space bar to control play of your project's sounds.

Another way to get started with GarageBand is to download midi music files and load them into GarageBand. "Wedding-day at Troldhaugen" by Edvard Grieg. Listen to a GarageBand version: Media:Troldhaugen.ogg.
Help with ogg audio play.
Figure 3. Important GarageBand controls include the Apple Loops browse button. Use the space bar as a stop button. The circular button with the red center controls is the "record" button. This is a screen shot for GarageBand 2. The main controls have been slightly altered in GarageBand 3 (see additional figures, below).

Movie scores

Figure 4. Project options for GarageBand 3.

When you start GarageBand 3 you can select music, podcast or movie score projects (See figure 4, left).

Figure 5. A sample animation in need of a sound track.

As an example, imagine that someone created a movie (QuickTime .mov format) corresponding to the animated Gif shown in Figure 5. This tutorial will explore how you can use GarageBand to produce a sound track for the movie. First, launch GarageBand 3 and select a new movie score project. After the new project window opens, drag a copy of the movie into the area of the GarageBand window that says "drag movie here". In this case, the original movie file only has video. Once the movie is in your GarageBand project, you can start adding sound tracks. In this case we will use several over-lapping channels of Apple Loops and voice input. The movie that is used as an example was created as an example for Wikiversity shorts, so it is a short movie, only about 15 seconds long.

The sample movie (Figure 5) is playing around with the term "short". The basic background sounds of the movie are sounds like electrical "shorting". The voice content is simple, "Learning the wiki way". See the QuickTime version of this short movie with a sound track produced by GarageBand.

The GarageBand project for the sample movie combines four GarageBand sound tracks to produce a single sound track for the final QuickTime movie (See Figure 6, below). The list of tracks first shows the video track of the movie followed by two sound effects tracks, a music track and a voice track. All of the sounds used were taken from the Apple Loops library of sounds that comes with GarageBand, but some of these sound samples were shortened (easily accomplished by just click-draging the end of the colored box representing a sound). The Apple Loops browser at the bottom left of Figure 6 shows the source of the electrical sound used when the words "Wiki" and "Versity" collide. The track information for the voice track is shown in the lower right corner of Figure 6.

Time-variable volume control was used for three of the four sound tracks (the blue shaded track volume profiles). The voice saying "Learn the wiki way" was computer generating using the built-in Macintosh voice synthesizer. The desired text was entered into the SimpleText application, read by the computer and recorded (use the red "record" button) into GarageBand using the Macintosh's built-in microphone. The video preview window (upper right corner in Figure 6) allows you to watch the movie as you build the sound track.

When you are happy with the sound track for a movie, use the "Share" menu to export the finished movie.

Figure 6. GarageBand project window for creating a movie sound track.

Your turn

Try a small Garageband project. Describe your experience below:

  • ...

Podcast creation with Garageband

There is a set of tutorial videos that you can download from Apple's website into iTunes. If that link does not work for your browser (requires iTunes), try this one.

  • Creating Your Own Podcast - An overview of what a podcast is and how to create, manage and publish your podcast using iLife'06.
  • Planning Your Podcast Recording Session - Setting a structure for each episode and outlining each segment.
  • Recording Your First Podcast Episode - Creating a new episode, setting recording levels, and starting to record.
  • Polishing the Sound of Your Podcast Episode - Eliminating mistakes or pauses and adding introductory music and sound effects.
  • Enhancing Your Podcast Episode with Artwork and Chapters - Adding images and web links to each segment.
  • Exporting Your Podcast to iWeb - To begin collecting your episodes into a podcast series, you export from GarageBand to iWeb.
  • Making a Video Podcast - Using iMovie HD to capture and edit a video episode.
  • Adding a Podcast - Using iWeb to create a podcast with the episodes you made in GarageBand or iMovie HD.

Sample podcast

Figure 7. Viewing podcasts with QuickTime.

The basic idea for this sample podcast (Wikiversity Reports Volume 1) was to put the contents of this report on Wikiversity into podcast format. GarageBand exports podcasts in M4A format. This example file is about 3.7 Mb and runs 5 minutes.

If you are using most browsers including the Safari browser, use the link for "Wikiversity Reports #1" at this ourmedia webpage to view the podcast. If your browser has problems with that webpage, please leave a note describing your problem.

You can also use this webpage to download the "Wikiversity Reports Volume 1" podcast to your hard drive. If your web browser has problems downloading this file, you may want to use Firefox. Other browsers may load the M4A file into a browser window as a text file. If so, you can right click on this link and download the "text" file to your hard drive (WikiversityReports1.m4a.txt). Remove the ".txt" extension from the downloaded file name and open the "WikiversityReports1.m4a" file using QuickTime or iTunes (see below).

RealPlayer will play the audio part of the podcast, but it has trouble with the images. Windows media player does not recognize M4A files.

You can view the downloaded podcast with Apple's Quicktime player. For some reason, the Quicktime player by default opens the images in a 160 x 160 pixel window. For best viewing of the podcast images, use the Window menu of the player to open "Movie Info". Re-size the podcast window to 300 x 300 pixels.

You can also use iTunes to watch the image "slide show" that is in this podcast. Make sure you turn on the "song artwork" feature of iTunes (use the button circled in red, Figure 8). The default size for the song artwork window in iTunes is too small. Click and drag the window boundary (green oval in Figure 8) to enlarge the window. You can also get an even larger magnified view of an image by clicking on the song art window. While the song art window is in the lower left hand corner of iTunes, the chapter menu button is at the top near the search tool in iTunes 6. In iTunes 7, there is a regular chapter menu for podcasts with chapters.

Use the subscribe button to download podcasts into iTunes.

Chapters. Each image in a podcast can be given a chapter name and a URL can be provided. Quicktime and iTunes use different methods for display of a chapter's link at the bottom of the image (compare Figure 7 and Figure 8). The method used by iTunes is the same as what is shown in the GarageBand image preview. The QuickTime view of the podcast at this website does not allow you to select chapters and for some browsers the links in the chapter images may not function optimally. It is best to subscribe to the podcast and view from within iTunes.

Tips and hints. The GarageBand interface has a few features that I found to be sources of problems. As a company that has done much to bring us "what you see is what you get", Apple got a bit lazy with how GarageBand shows the video images for podcasts. The video image preview within GarageBand can be misleading. It does not indicate the the way that either iTunes or QuickTime shows images by default.

When you insert an image into GarageBand, it creates a rectangular box that represents the temporal location and duration for display of the image in your podcast. GarageBand allows you to drag these rectangles around, but be careful! If the last thing you clicked on was the icon representing the entire image channel, then all of the individual images are selected. If you try to move or re-size just one image, you will actually move or re-size all of the images. If you are zoomed in on one image you might not notice that you have messed up all of the other images until you zoom out again. Always make sure you know exactly what is selected before you edit your podcast.

GarageBand can also be misleading in terms of audio quality. There are several choices available for podcast audio quality. In order to save on size, you might export your podcast project with a lower level of audio quality that what you heard while working in GarageBand. This can be a problem for certain sound and voice effects that might essentially become inaudible or simply be heard as noise in your final podcast.

Figure 9. The iTunes Chapter menu button in iTunes version 6. In iTunes 7 there is a regular "Chapters" menu for podcasts.
Figure 8. Viewing podcasts with iTunes.

Video podcasts

Video podcasting is for situations where you have a real digital video track. For example, see this video podcast of Jimmy Wales.

An example of a video podcast that was made using GarageBand on a Macintosh is for the example video from Figure 5, above. Video podcasts are basically just .mov QuickTime files.

Active participants

Active participants in this Learning Group

See also

Tools for creating internet content
See also: Digital media workshop - Related discussion: Free content

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Table of Contents

The RED links are sections that need to be created, the BLUE links can be further edited.

IntroductionDevelopment stage: 25% (as of Sept 2, 2007)

Chapter 1-Creating a Project

  • Starting a Song
  • Saving and File Organization
  • Editing Preferences
  • Using the Help File
  • Exporting a Song
  • First Project

Chapter 2-Utilizing GarageBand's Interface

  • The Main Window
  • The Loop Browser
  • The Midi Editor
  • Track Information
  • The Transport
  • Second Project

Chapter 3-Building with Apple Loops

  • Searching with the Loop Browser
  • Blue Apple Loops vs. Green Apple Loops
  • Making a Song with Apple Loops
  • Creating Your Own Apple Loops
  • Third Project

Chapter 4-Audio Recording

  • Getting a Setup
  • Types Of Microphones
  • Line-in Setup
  • Audio Interfaces
  • Recording in GarageBand
  • Fourth Project

Chapter 5-Plugins and Effects

  • What Are Plugins?
  • Types of Plugins
  • List of the GarageBand Plugins
  • Customizing Plugins and Presets
  • Plugin Techniques
  • Fifth Project

Chapter 6-Midi Sequencing

  • Recording Midi
  • Editing Notes
  • The Score View
  • Quantizing
  • Sixth Project

Chapter 7-Virtual Instruments

  • What Are Virtual Instruments?
  • Types of Virtual Instruments
  • List of the GarageBand Instruments
  • Customizing Plugins and Presets
  • Seventh Project

Chapter 8-Movie Scores

Chapter 9-GarageBand Tips and Tricks

Chapter 10-Further Projects



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