Limit Your Loop Choices by Scale and Key in GarageBand '11 - dummies

Limit Your Loop Choices by Scale and Key in GarageBand ’11

By Tony Bove

GarageBand’s Loop Browser in iLife ’11 lets you browse loops by instrument. For each instrument, you can narrow the loop search by genre, mood, or type.

You may want to limit your loop choices to a particular scale or key so that you aren’t overwhelmed by choices that make no sense for your song. That way, you don’t have to wade through so many listings just to find a good horn section for your song in the key of C.

You can refine your search for loops by scale (major, minor, neither, or both) and set preferences to show only loops that are relevant for the key of the song.


Most loops (except for drum and percussion loops) are recorded in either a minor or major scale. The Scale pop-up menu at the top of the Loop Browser lets you narrow your results to Any, Major (in a major scale), Minor (in a minor scale), Neither, or Good for Both (loops that can be used in major or minor scales).

Not all loops sound good in certain keys (again, with the exception of drum and percussion loops). Loops recorded in a different key may sound distorted after being automatically transposed — which is what happens when you use the loop in a song set to a different key.

By filtering more relevant options, you can limit the list of loops to those that are relevant to the song’s key. Choose GarageBand→Preferences, click the Loops tab, and turn on the Filter More Relevant Results option. While this option is selected, the GarageBand Loop Browser displays only loops that are either in the same key as the song or in major or minor scales related to the key of the song.