My in-depth project this year has been going extremely well. Over the past two weeks I have work hard to get a strong start on my project. I have finished my preliminary research about how to use the software in GarageBand and have begun creating my first project using the software instruments in GarageBand. At first, I simply played around with the program trying to replicate some of the strategies I saw while researching and watching YouTube videos (see notes below). I primarily focused on musical typing, which allowed me to use the keys on my Mac to play notes, chords, and melodies. I learned that the A, S, D, F, G, H, J, K, L,;, ‘ keys can be used as the white keys on a piano and the W, E, T, Y, U, O, P keys are the black keys. Furthermore, the use Z and X keys shift octaves for lower or higher pitched notes. I also learned that the 1 and 2 keys can be used to adjust the pitch of the notes I am playing and that the keys 3 through 8 will add a set amount of modulation to the notes played. Eventually, I began using what I had learned to create a simple piece of music with multiple layers that uses multiple software instruments and different types of musical typing.
During this week, I also met with my mentor. At that time, I hadn’t spent much time actually working with GarageBand because I had just finished my research, so she helped me test out the program and showed me how to use some of the basic software. She also gave me some very helpful information about layering the software instruments and adding musical typing to create projects. For example, she taught me how to make my own loop by editing a recorded track and adding it to the loop library for future use. We also listened to a few of the songs that she has created using GarageBand, and she pointed out some different concepts that she considered while making them. I was very impressed by her projects because she used the limited sound and instrument options within GarageBand to create very interesting and complex sounding pieces. It sounded exactly like she had recorded a band with real instruments in a studio.
During my time with my mentor, I agreed with most of the things she said. For example, she said that it is highly recommended to use one of the virtual drummers instead of using percussion loops. After discussing this idea with her I found that I agreed with what she had said. First of all, there is a much wider variety of virtual drummer tracks with more specific genres than percussion loops. This will ensure that the percussion within your project doesn’t sound out of place. It also allows you to choose the most effective style of percussion for your project. Additionally, the virtual drumming tracks are much longer and less repetitive than percussion loops. This makes the music sound much more engaging and interesting. It also makes it sound more real and less like it was generated by a computer.
When my mentor said that she recommended using loops of software instruments over using loops of personally recorded audio, I initially disagreed. This is because a lot of the sources I found research from said that using musical typing to record loops can be beneficial as it gives you more creativity and the ability to create sounds and melodies that aren’t available on GarageBand. I initially brought up these concerns politely to my mentor, and after her explanation I understand why she would suggest that I try and use the software instruments and pre-recorded loops as much as possible. When you use audio that you recorded live, the timing will not be exactly perfect. This becomes an issue when you are playing several layers of self-recorded audio over each other, or trying to create repeating loops, because slight differences in timing are hard to edit and if left will make your project sound messy. She said that I may be able to expand into using more of my own recorded audio as I gain experience and skill.
When my mentor suggested using very few filters to search for different audio loops, my opinion differed slightly. I’m the type of person that tends to feel overwhelmed when given too many choices to choose from. Therefore, I feel as though using a genre, instrument, and key filter would be the most efficient way for me to choose the loop that will match what I’m looking for. I’m also somewhat of an impatient person, and I would rather only have to choose between two or three different audio loops than ten or fifteen. As a result, it was difficult for me to sit with my mentor and listen to many different audio loops before choosing one that deemed suitable for my project. That being said, I realized that my mentor was right. Because I have such little experience with the software, it is important for me to explore and listen to as many different loops as possible to get a sense of what’s available. Furthermore, it is important not to pigeon hole myself when looking for loops to use in a project, as I may miss out on finding the best loop for my project. When creating projects from now on, I will use my mentor’s strategy instead of mine, as they have much more knowledge and experience than me.
This is what my project looks like right now. It is still incomplete so I will be posting a full video of it later this week.