Writing about software designed to compose and record music is hard. I know: I’ve tried to do it myself a few times, with, at best, indifferent success. The difficulty of capturing both the dynamic power of music and the craft of creating it in fixed, silent print makes the new editions of musician/composer Jeff Tolbert’s pair of GarageBand books all the more impressive.
His “Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ’11” and “Take Control of Recording with GarageBand ’11” take different, but complementary, approaches to the popular and feature-laden iLife application. Together, they address the wide range of users and uses of GarageBand ’11 on the Mac (they don’t cover the more-limited iPad version, although many of the tips will still be useful).
The 159-page “Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand ’11” is for the new or intermediate user who wants to take advantage of all the built-in music-making features of the program. It provides step-by-step instructions that guide readers through using GarageBand’s built-in loops to create five songs, explaining not only how to use GarageBand’s editing and mixing features but also how to be playful and creative while composing tunes that please the ear. Readers learn how to plan a song, get the most out of the Magic GarageBand feature, edit and arrange Real Instrument and Software Instrument loops in numerous ways, create exciting mixes, and even how to score a movie with the program.
The 166-page “Take Control of Recording with GarageBand ’11” addresses the needs of musicians who want to use the program as the core component of a home recording studio. Readers of this volume find out how to plan a recording session and learn real-world recording studio techniques, such as how to use a microphone effectively, methods for getting the best sounds out of old gear, how to apply pro effects with the 12 GarageBand amps (including 7 new ones!) and the wide selection of stompbox effects, how to do multi-track recording, and even how to clean up a take with Flex Time and Groove Matching. Two example songs demonstrate many of the techniques discussed.
The example songs used in both books are linked in the text to the actual recordings, available online, and, as an added bonus, readers can also download the GarageBand projects that created those songs.
Each book costs $15, but they can be purchased together in a $20 bundle via the “Buy Both” option in the left margin of either Web page or by clicking this link.
So crank the amp to 11 and, with Jeff’s help, get ready to lay down some tasty tracks.