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GarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for macOS, iPadOS, and iOS devices that allows users to create music or podcasts. GarageBand is developed by Apple for macOS, and was once part of the iLife software suite, along with iMovie and iDVD. Its music and podcast creation system enables users to create multiple tracks with pre-made MIDI keyboards, pre-made loops, an array of various instrumental effects, and voice recordings.
|Initial release||January 6, 2004|
10.4.3 / April 6, 2021
|Type||Digital audio workstation|
2.3.10 / December 3, 2020
|Operating system||iOS, iPadOS|
|Type||Digital audio workstation|
Steve Jobs announced the application in his keynote speech at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco on January 6, 2004. Musician John Mayer assisted with its demonstration. It is part of the iLife '04 package.
Apple announced GarageBand 2 at the 2005 Macworld Conference & Expo on January 11, 2005. It shipped, as announced, around January 22, 2005. Notable new features included the abilities to view and edit music in musical notation. It was also possible to record up to 8 tracks at once and to fix timing and pitch of recordings. Apple added automation of track pan position and the master pitch. Transposition of both audio and MIDI has been added by Apple along with the ability to import MIDI files. It is part of iLife '05.
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. It is part of iLife '06.
GarageBand 4, also known as GarageBand '08, is part of iLife '08. It incorporates the ability to record sections of a song separately, such as bridges, and chorus lines. Additionally, it provides support for the automation of tempos and instruments, the creation, and exportation of iPhone ringtones, and a "Magic GarageBand" feature which includes a virtual jam session with a complete 3D view of the Electric instruments.
GarageBand 5 is part of the iLife '09 package. It includes music instruction and 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 redesigned user interface as well as Project Templates.
GarageBand 6, also known as GarageBand '11, is part of the iLife '11 package, which Apple released on October 20, 2010. This version brings new features such as Flex Time, a tool to adjust the rhythm of a recording. It also includes the ability to match the tempo of one track with another instantly, additional guitar amps and stompboxes, 22 new lessons for guitar and piano, and "How Did I Play?", a tool to measure the accuracy and progress of a piano or guitar performance in a lesson.
Apple released GarageBand 10 along with OS X 10.9 Mavericks in October 2013. This version has lost Magic GarageBand and the podcast functionality.
Apple updated GarageBand 10 for Mac on March 20, 2014. Version 10.0.2 adds the ability to export tracks in MP3 format as well as a new drummer module, but removed support for podcasting; users with podcast files created in GarageBand 6 can continue to edit them using the older version.
GarageBand was updated to version 10.0.3 on October 16, 2014. This version included myriad bug fixes and several new features including a dedicated Bass Amp Designer, the introduction of global track effects and dynamic track resizing.
Apple released GarageBand 10.2 on June 5, 2017.
GarageBand is a digital audio workstation (DAW) and music sequencer that can record and play back multiple tracks of audio. Built-in audio filters that use the AU (audio unit) standard allow the user to enhance the audio track with various effects, including reverb, echo, and distortion amongst others. GarageBand also offers the ability to record at both 16-bit and 24-bit Audio Resolution, but at a fixed sample rate of 44.1 kHz. An included tuning system helps with pitch correction and can effectively imitate the Auto-Tune effect when tuned to the maximum level. It also has a large array of preset effects to choose from, with an option to create your own effects.
Virtual software instrumentsEdit
GarageBand includes a large selection of realistic, sampled instruments and software modeled synthesizers. These can be used to create original compositions or play music live through the use of a USB MIDI keyboard connected to the computer. An on-screen virtual keyboard is also available as well as using a standard QWERTY keyboard with the "musical typing" feature. The synthesizers were broken into two groups: [virtual] analog and digital. Each synthesizer has a wide variety of adjustable parameters, including richness, glide, cut off, standard attack, decay, sustain, and release; these allow for a wide array of sound creation. The five synth thumbnails are the ARP 2600, the Minimoog, the Waldorf Wave, the Nord Lead 1 and the Yamaha DX7.
In addition to the standard tracks, Garageband allows for guitar-specific tracks that can use a variety of simulated amplifiers, stompboxes, and effects processors. These imitate popular hardware from companies including Marshall Amplification, Orange Music Electronic Company, and Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Up to five simulated effects can be layered on top of the virtual amplifiers, which feature adjustable parameters including tone, reverb, and volume. Guitars can be connected to Macs using the built-in input (requires hardware that can produce a standard stereo signal using a 3.5mm output) or a USB interface.
GarageBand can import MIDI files and offers piano roll or notation-style editing and playback. By complying with the MIDI Standard, a user can edit many different aspects of a recorded note, including pitch, velocity, and duration. Pitch was settable to 1/128 of a semitone, on a scale of 0–127 (sometimes described on a scale of 1–128 for clarity). Velocity, which determines amplitude (volume), can be set and adjusted on a scale of 0–127. Note duration can be adjusted manually via the piano roll or in the score view. Note rhythms can be played via the software instruments, or created in the piano roll environment; rhythm correction is also included to lock notes to any time signature subdivision. GarageBand also offers global editing capabilities to MIDI information with Enhanced Timing, also known as Quantizing. While offering comprehensive control over MIDI files, GarageBand does not include several features of professional-level DAWs, such as a sequencer for drum tracks separate from the normal piano roll. However, many of these shortcomings have been addressed with each successive release of GarageBand.
Also of note, MIDI sequences edited or created in GarageBand cannot be exported to other DAWs or programs without first being converted to audio. A MIDI file can be extracted from a loop file created from a region, but this is not a general MIDI export facility, using manual steps and an open-source program.
A new feature included with GarageBand '09 and later 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 a user must purchase. The first Basic Lessons for both guitar and piano are included with GarageBand. In GarageBand 10, many sounds (aka patches, which Apple refers to as 'audio units') which are listed within the sound library are dimmed and unusable until the user pays an additional fee which allows the utilization of those sounds, bundled with the guitar and piano lessons. Attempting to click on and select the dimmed audio units to apply to the track causes promotional prompts to appear, requiring the user to log on with their Apple ID and furnish credit card information before knowing the price of the bundle.
In both types of the 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 notation 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 musician/songwriter who composed the song being taught in the lesson. As of November 2009[update] the artists featured are:
- Sting (The Police) — "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 (Creedence Clearwater Revival) — "Proud Mary", "Fortunate Son", "Centerfield"
- Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) — "Apologize"
- Ben Folds — "Brick", "Zak and Sara"
- John Legend — "Ordinary People"
- Alex Lifeson (Rush) — "Tom Sawyer", "Limelight", "Working Man", "The Spirit of Radio".
No new Artist Lessons were released in 2010, and Apple has not announced plans to release additional entries.
Additional audio loopsEdit
Garageband includes an extensive array of pre-made audio loops to choose from with an option to import custom sound loops and an additional loop pack that is purchasable via the App Store. All loops have an edit and effects option.
Jam Packs are Apple's official add-ons for GarageBand. Each Jam Pack contains loops and software instruments grouped into certain genres and styles.
The Jam Packs are as follows:
- GarageBand Jam Pack: Remix Tools
- GarageBand Jam Pack: Rhythm Section
- GarageBand Jam Pack: Symphony Orchestra
- GarageBand Jam Pack: World Music
- GarageBand Jam Pack: Voices
There was also another GarageBand Jam Pack, initially known just as GarageBand Jam Pack, later GarageBand Jam Pack 1, which Apple discontinued in January 2006. Beginning with the release of the Remix Tools and Rhythm Section Jam Packs, each Jam Pack has been designated with a number. The release of GarageBand Jam Pack: World Music also saw a redesign in packaging.
MainStage 2 by Apple also includes 40 built-in instruments – including synths, vintage keyboards, and a drum machine – to use in GarageBand. It also features an interface for live performances and includes a large collection of plug-ins and sounds.
Third-party instrument and Apple Loop packagesEdit
In addition to Apple, many other companies today offer commercial or shareware virtual software instruments designed especially for GarageBand, and collections of Apple Loops 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, including that Audio Unit instruments which can respond to 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.
Third-party vendors also offer extra loops for use in GarageBand. Users can also record custom loops through a microphone, via a software instrument, or by using an audio interface to connect physically a guitar or other hardware instruments to a Mac or iOS device.
Sample multitrack source filesEdit
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 his music, and permitted prospective GarageBand users to remix the song. He 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 that the public could use to experiment.
Ben Folds released Stems & Seeds, a special version of his 2008 album Way to Normal. Stems and Seeds contained a remastered version of Way to Normal, and a separate disc containing GarageBand files for each track from the album to allow fans to remix the songs.
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, as only real-time pitch bend, modulation, sustain, and foot control is recognizable. However, since GarageBand '08, other parameters affected by MIDI knobs can be automated later, per-track. GarageBand has no functions for changing time signature mid-song though the software does now allow a tempo track to automate tempo changes.
Other than pitch bend, GarageBand is limited to the pitches and intervals of standard 12-tone equal temperament, so it does not natively support xenharmonic music. Logic Pro supports many different tunings. GarageBand does not support different tunings however, audio units which support micro tuning (using .scl or .tun files, or some other method) can be employed in GarageBand to produce alternative pitches.
Before GarageBand 10, there was no export option, and the only option was to save files as .band or export to iTunes. There is no built-in MIDI export feature, although regions can be manually exported as loops and converted to MIDI files.
GarageBand for iOSEdit
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2011)
On March 2, 2011, Apple announced a version of GarageBand for the iPad. It has many features similar to the macOS version. Music can be created using the on-screen instruments, which include keyboards, drums, a sampler, and various "smart instruments". It also acts as a multitrack recording studio with Stompbox effects and guitar amps. Songs can be emailed or sent to an iTunes Library. Additionally, projects can be imported to GarageBand for macOS, where they are further editable. This feature also allows instruments from the iOS platform to be savable to software instrument library on the Mac. The app is compatible with iPhone 3GS or higher, the third generation iPod Touch or higher, and all versions of the iPad, including the iPad Mini. The app, with all instruments included, was available for $6.99 from the Apple App Store. In 2017, it was made free.
- GarageBand includes a standard keyboard instrument and "Smart Keyboard" instrument. The keyboard is set up like a standard keyboard, and features several keyboard instruments (some of which are customizable), including grand piano, electric piano, various organs, clavinet, synth leads, synth pads, and bass synths. It also has many different sounds. The keyboard is capable of playing arpeggio and includes a pitch bend. The smart keyboard is arranged like the other smart instruments, allowing the user to play chords on the piano, electric piano, organ, clavinet, and four adjustable synthesizers. Also included is an autoplay feature, which plays one of 4 rhythms for each instrument.
- There are two different kinds of drum instruments in GarageBand. The touch drums instrument includes seven acoustic drum kits (Bluebird, Classic Studio Kit, Live Rock Kit, Retro Rock, Roots, SoCal, and Vintage Kit) with a realistic set up, and three electronic drum kits (Hip Hop drums, House drums, and a drum kit with Roland TR-808 and 909 samples). These were set up like drum machines with customizable sounds that can be saved as separate drum kits. The other drum instrument is the "Smart Drums" instrument, in which the drum sounds are arrangable on a grid by complexity and volume. It contains the Classic Studio Kit, Live Rock Kit, Vintage Kit, Classic Drum Machine, Hip Hop Drum Machine, and House Drum Machine. The Chinese Kit was added to GarageBand, along with other Chinese instruments. The user could play genuine Chinese sounds like the gong.
- A "Smart Guitar" is included in GarageBand, which includes 4 guitars: an acoustic guitar, two electric guitars, and a distortion guitar. Each guitar (except for the acoustic one) has two optional sound boxes. The instrument is set up like the smart keyboard, where multiple chords are playable. Also, each note in a chord can be played separately, or muted by holding the left side of the string.
- The "Smart Bass" instrument is set up like the guitar, where four strings can play various notes. However, the bass cannot play chords. Included are three electric basses, an acoustic orchestral bass, and four customizable synth basses. Like the smart keyboard and smart guitars, there is an "autoplay" feature.
- Added in update 1.2 are "Smart Strings", a string section made of 1st and 2nd violins, violas, cellos, and bass, capable of playing notes legato, staccato, and pizzicato. The orchestra is customizable, including four different string styles (all with a different "autoplay" feature). The instruments are also selectable. For example, one can play a chord made up of all the available instruments, or simply play a violin note.
- In the sampler instrument, the user can record a sound and play it on the keyboard (it has the same interface as the keyboard instrument). After the sound has been recorded, it can be modified with a various amount of tools within the sampler. It can also play notes in a loop or reversed. In Version 2.0, the user can import audio files to create samples.
- The audio recorder is a standard recorder that works through the internal microphone or a headphone mic. After the sound has been recorded, many audio effects can be applied.
- The guitar amp is meant to be played by plugging a guitar into the device and recording, but can also work with sounds from the audio recorder, included Apple Loops, and imported music files. Within it are several customizable amplifiers and stompboxes, allowing for a broad range of different sounds.
On November 1, 2011, Apple introduced GarageBand for iOS 1.1, adding support for the iPhone and iPod touch, among other features. These included the ability to create custom chords for Smart Instruments, support for 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures, and exporting in AAC or AIFF format.
On March 7, 2012, Apple updated GarageBand to 1.2, adding support for the third-generation iPad. It introduced the new Smart Strings instrument, a string orchestra of 1st and 2nd violins, violas, celli, and bass, capable of playing notes legato, staccato, and pizzicato. Additionally, it added synthesizers to the Smart Keyboard and Smart Bass instruments. It also added a note editor which allows users to fine-tune note placement and length and the ability to upload songs to Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud, as well as the ability to upload projects to iCloud. It also included Jam Session, a feature that enables up to 4 iPhones, iPod touches, and/or iPads with GarageBand installed to play simultaneously.
On May 1, 2012, GarageBand was updated to 1.2.1, providing minor bug fixes and stability improvements.
Alongside the new iOS 6, Apple updated GarageBand to 1.3 on September 19, 2012. The update added the ability to import music from one's music library, ringtone creation, the ability to use the app in the background, and minor bug fixes.
GarageBand was updated to 1.4 on March 20, 2013. The update added support for Audiobus, the ability to remove grid snapping, and minor bug fixes.
GarageBand received an overhaul of design coinciding with the reveal of the iPad Air on October 22, 2013. GarageBand 2.0 features a new design to match iOS 7, an extended number of tracks per song, and new functions in the Sampler instrument.
In 2016, Garageband received a new design, and in January 2017, version 2.2 was released with a number of new features including the Alchemy Synth previously only available on the desktop version.
In June 2018, GarageBand 10.3 update made Artist Lessons free, added 1,000 new loops and two new Drummers play Roots and Jazz-influenced brush style.
Differences from MacOS versionEdit
- No MIDI support (up until 2.3.6).
- No Music Lessons.
- Only three time signatures (4/4, 3/4, and 6/8).
- Audio Unit Extensions (via App Store).
- A Sound Library providing free, downloadable content such as additional keyboards, drum sets, and more.
- Limited exporting functions (As of 2.3.3, the option to export recorded project as songs to YouTube has been removed).
Prior to the launch of Apple's Mac App Store, GarageBand was only available as a part of iLife, a suite of applications (also including iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and iWeb) intended to simplify the creation and organization of digital content, or available on a new Mac. On January 6, 2011, GarageBand was made available independently on the Mac App Store in addition to iPhoto and iMovie. Since then Garageband's user base has increased drastically.
Supported music file formatsEdit
Support for 8-bit audio files was dropped in version 10.
- USA Today March 20, 2014 2:46 pm EDT
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- "Garageband '11: Setup the audio resolution". Apple Support. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015.
- "What Is GarageBand and Where do I start?". Mac for Musicians. July 13, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- "Export MIDI from GarageBand". Scott Troyer. May 6, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
- "GB2MIDI". Lars Kobbe. January 2, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
- "Mainstage". Apple. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- "Synthesizers, samplers and sound cards with microtonal capabilities A-F". 2007. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- "iMovie And Garageband For iOS Announced, Looks Good On iPad 2". 2011. Archived from the original on March 5, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- "Apple Updates GarageBand for iOS with iPhone and iPod Touch support".
- "Apple releases minor updates to iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand for iOS". 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
- Hollington, Jesse (September 19, 2012). "GarageBand adds Music import, Ringtone creation". iLounge. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- "GarageBand for iOS Updated With Audiobus Support and Other Enhancements". Mac Rumors. March 20, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- "GarageBand 10.3 update makes Artist Lessons free and adds 1,000 new loops". Macworld. June 21, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
- Snell, Jason. "iLife, iWork, Aperture now available on Mac App Store". Retrieved April 22, 2012.
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