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Creating a Track in GarageBand in iLife ’11

In iLife '11, your performances with instruments, your vocals, and your prerecorded loops are each stored in separate tracks, isolated from other instrument or vocal tracks. Because iLife '11 stores tracks separately, mixing records in GarageBand is easy. In GarageBand, in you can use as many tracks as you need (to the limit of your computer’s capacity) for both recordings and loops.

If you’ve started a project in GarageBand, you probably already have at least one track in the GarageBand window. When you’re finished with your song, you can then mix all its tracks into two stereo tracks without losing sound quality.

To create a track, choose Track→New Track or click the plus-sign (+) button in the lower left corner of the GarageBand window. A dialog appears, with three types of instruments for the tracks. This list describes what happens when you see each of the three track types:

  • Software Instrument: You see this track if you start a project by choosing Piano, or a set of them by choosing Keyboard Collection. Choose Software Instrument for instrument sounds generated by GarageBand that you can play using the onscreen keyboard, Musical Typing keyboard, or an external USB MIDI instrument.

    Many prerecorded loops were also created using Software Instruments. The notes you play are MIDI instructions, so you can adjust and transpose notes to other keys as much as you want. Even more, you can switch instrument types.

  • Real Instrument: You see a Real Instrument track if you start a project by choosing Voice or Acoustic Instrument. Choose Real Instrument for recording musical instruments and vocals, by way of either a microphone or a line-in connection. Real Instrument tracks are represented as waveforms in the GarageBand window.

    You can’t adjust each note or transpose notes to other keys with excellent results, as you can with Software Instrument tracks, because notes are recorded waveforms. And, although you can tweak the sound of an instrument after recording it, you can’t easily make it sound like another instrument (such as making a guitar sound like a drum).

  • Electric Guitar: You see an Electric Guitar track if you start a project by choosing Electric Guitar. Choose Electric Guitar for recording an electric guitar over a line-in connection using simulated amplifiers and foot pedals (“stomp-boxes”). Electric Guitar tracks are just like Real Instrument tracks in that they’re represented as waveforms in the GarageBand window. You can’t adjust each note or transpose notes to other keys with excellent results.

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