Making Music with GarageBand

I happened to go through my very first post for BlueAnt Digital and noticed how I talked about music and wanting to try my hand at new stuff. Being an engineer, I started working for a digital media agency as a content writer (at the time). Since then, I’ve gotten into video production, and now I’m making some music.

Ever since I got the Mac Mini at the office, the option of making music became feasible thanks to GarageBand, an awesome piece of software that comes with Mac computers. I’ve been fiddling with it for the last two weeks and made progress step by step. GarageBand offers you a variety of pre-recorded ‘loops’ of instruments like the guitar, drums, percussion, wind instruments, organs, electronic music samples that you can assemble as you please. These samples are classified according to genre, time-period, moods, etc. to give you fair idea as to where to use them. But music knows no bounds, so don’t listen to what it tells you *winks*. The result may be a song, or some background music for a video, or maybe a whole new genre altogether!

When you open the software, GarageBand asks you if you want to create a new project or continue with an existing file. If you select a new project, you get options to select the tempo and time signature (this defines how each measure is divided) and the key (pitch) of the project. Once you’ve selected these, you’re good to start making music.

Now putting together those loops that I spoke of earlier sounds simple enough, and it really was. Start with one instrument, add another and then add one more! Make sure that together they sound aesthetically pleasing and then export your track and you’re done!

While this is elementary, I began having fun when I came across the loops with green thumbnails. These are loops that you can edit. In layman terms, the green loops mean you can write whole new portions of music, from scratch! Being a musician, this to me is a very convenient way to get a feel of the kind of music I would like to compose. So I began making original tracks to serve as background music for the videos that are shot and edited by Anika Verma and Nanki Jassal.

After listening to the tracks a few million times, I felt something was missing. Enter equalization. This deals with bass, treble, etc. of the individual tracks in the project. It’s what you need to do to make your song sound just right, after you’ve composed it. The equalizer puts energy into your track, refines it, gives it character. I reopened a previous project and changed equalizer settings on the drums in the song and it turned around completely! It sounded more powerful, more intense… better.

The most important thing to keep in mind has been the reason I am making these tracks. These are background scores for music videos. The video derives its rhythm from them. The background score can either make the video or break it. So it’s necessary to think about where the accent points of the video are, where people are talking in the video so that the music can be manipulated accordingly. It’s been very engrossing so far. Now, all I have to do is get my guitar to the office. Seriously.

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