|Although GarageBand began as an entry-level program for Mac users, its iOS features may astound you. |
IMAGINE BEGINNING a studio recording by
assembling tracks wherever inspiration strikes
you, whether you’re commuting on a train or
camping in the backcountry. If you own an iPad
or iPhone with GarageBand, that capability is
already in your hands. With Logic Express or
Logic Pro 9 on your Apple computer, you can
begin a project on your iOS device, export it to
your Mac, and import it directly into Logic.
Another Garage-Based Startup Aside from
sheer portability, why would you want to start
a project in iOS? In addition to onboard MIDI
and audio recording, GarageBand for iOS offers
some very useful capabilities that Logic and
GarageBand for the Mac do not—in particular,
Jam Sessions and Smart Instruments. With Jam
Sessions, you can sync GarageBand on your
device with someone else’s using Bluetooth, so
that one device records parts played on multiple
devices in real time.
Most Smart Instruments present a palette
of related chords and a selection of note
patterns and individual instruments. Touching
a chord launches a repeating pattern, making
it quick and easy to record and arrange a song
on the fly. With Smart Drums, you can vary
the loudness and complexity of a drum track
by where you position percussion instruments
on a grid. At first blush, working with Smart
Instruments may sound contrived, but you’d be
surprised how quickly you can throw together
tracks that actually sound good.
The Import/Export Business Once
you’ve begun creating a song on your iPad
or iPhone, press the My Songs button in
GarageBand’s upper right corner to save it.
You’ll see graphic representations of every
GarageBand song stored on your device. By
default, your new song will be called “My
Song,” but you can change it by touching the
title and typing a new one.
Touch the Edit button in the upper-right
corner and select the song you want to export.
Touch the Share Song icon on the upper left
and select Share Song Via iTunes. Choose the
GarageBand format and touch Done.
On your computer, select the iOS device in
iTunes and sync it to your Mac. Select Apps
on the iTunes menu bar, and then scroll to
GarageBand in File Sharing on the bottom left
and select it. The exported song should appear
in the list of GarageBand Documents. Select
the song and drag it to a folder on your Mac.
To open the song file in Logic Express or Logic
Pro, drag it to the Logic icon on your Dock or
in your Applications folder. In Logic, save the
song file and give it a new name.
After your song is in Logic, you’ll discover
all kinds of ways to improve your tracks and
add to them. You can even turn MIDI tracks
that play software instruments in GarageBand
into MIDI tracks that play hardware
instruments in Logic. You’ll probably want to
re-record any audio you recorded with your
iOS device’s onboard mic, but at least you’ll
have captured your original inspiration.
Geary Yelton is the former senior editor of
Electronic Musician. He lives in Asheville,