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GarageBand is a software application that allows users to create music or podcasts. It is developed by Apple Inc.marker, 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.

Music lessons

GarageBand now has the ability to download pre-recorded music lessons from GarageBand's Lesson Store for guitar and piano. There are two types 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.

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 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. the artists featured are: Sting (teaching The Police song Roxanne), Sarah McLachlan, Fall Out Boy, Norah Jones (song Thinking About You), Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles, John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival (song Proud Mary), OneRepublic, Ben Folds, John Legend, and Alex Lifeson of Rush.


GarageBand is 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. iLife is included on new Macintosh computers; upgrades can be purchased separately. Minor updates can be downloaded from Apple’s website or from Software Update.

Several third-party companies offer Apple GarageBand loops, 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 Franciscomarker 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, like 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 in 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.

In GarageBand 3, a movie track was added to allow for accurate film scoring, and a Podcast track was added to provide a photo stream for iPods.


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.

Jam Packs

Jam Pack is the brand name for Apple’s official add-ons to GarageBand. Each Jam Pack contains loops and software instruments.

All current Jam Packs to date 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 [50474] 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


  • Apple Inc.

External links

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