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This chapter is from the book

Multipass Recording

In the last exercise, you just recorded a simple drum part in one take. To create a mixed drum part, you may wish to try multipass recording. With multipass recording, you can record into the same region over and over, adding different sounds with each pass.

Your goal in this exercise is to record a drum region that has different drum sounds. You’ll then use that region as a drum loop.

Creating a Recording Cycle Region

The first step in multipass recording is to create a cycle region for the number of measures you wish to record. For this exercise, you will set a cycle region that is two measures in length.

  1. In the transport controls, click the Cycle button to show the cycle region.

    The cycle region appears beneath the Beat Ruler at the top of the Timeline.

  2. Drag the yellow cycle region to the beginning of the 2nd measure.

    Next you’ll resize the cycle region so that it ends at bar 4.

  3. Drag the right edge of the cycle region to the beginning of the 4th measure.

    The cycle region should now start at bar 2 and end at bar 4.

Creating a New Software Instrument Track

Before you record, you’ll need to create a new Software Instrument track.

  1. Choose Track > New Track to open the New Track window.
  2. Select Software Instrument for the type of track, if it is not already selected and click Create.
  3. In the Track Info pane, select Drum Kits > Hip Hop Kit from the Software Instrument choices.
  4. Press Cmd-I to close the Track Info pane.

    A new Hip Hop Kit track appears in the Timeline.

  5. Click the first five keys (C1–E1) of the onscreen keyboard to hear the drum samples.

    The Hip Hop Kit samples are the same drums for each key you had in the Kits track, but they are now Hip Hop versions so they’ll sound a little different.

Recording a Rough Draft

Brace yourself—the first time you try multipass recording will likely be rough. Don’t worry—with the Undo command, you can always do it again.

Select one drum sound, perhaps the kick drum (C1) or the snare (E1), and play only that drum part for the first pass. Choose a second drum part for the next pass. Each time you finish recording a drum part, switch to a different sampled drum sound (a different key on the keyboard) to add a new part.

Experiment with the different drum parts to come up with one that you like. If you are having trouble coming up with a pattern, start with the pattern I describe for the kick drum and snare. Keep in mind that your drum pattern will be two measures in length, making it a total of eight beats, four per measure.

Try playing the kick drum (C1) once on the second beat and twice on the fourth beat. Then again in the next measure, record once on the second beat and twice on the fourth beat.

Now try the snare (E1) twice on the first beat, once on the second beat, twice on the third beat, and once on the fourth beat for both measures.

Keep the recording going until you have recorded a pass with all five of the different sounds.

The key (pun intended) to making this work is that you can’t stop recording. If you stop recording, the multi-take option is over. If you try to record in that region again, you’ll erase the previous recording.

One more thing: let’s slow things down a bit for this first version. Remember, if you slow down the tempo for a Software Instrument, you can always speed it up again after you record.

  1. Change the project tempo to 90 bpm.

    90 bpm is a common tempo for Hip Hop music. The metronome will change to match the new project tempo.

  2. Select the Hip Hop Kit track, if it is not already selected, and make sure the Record Enable button for that track is on.
  3. Press R, or click the Record button, to start the multipass recording.
  4. Record each instrument one at a time through each pass.
  5. When you finish, press the spacebar to stop recording.
  6. Change the project tempo to 120 to hear your recorded loop at a faster tempo.

So, how did it go? Recording drum loops takes a lot of practice and patience. Fortunately, you can always press Cmd-Z to undo the recording and start over.

If you had a rough time creating your own drum tracks, there’s good news. GarageBand includes hundreds of prerecorded drum loops from which to choose. For those of you who like creating your own beats, you now have the tools to do it.

Project Tasks

It’s time to practice your skills by recording another multipass drum loop at full tempo. If you feel like creating a really fat beat, feel free to try some of the other drum sounds (keys) within the Hip Hop Kit.

  1. Create a new Software Instrument track and select Drum Kit > Hip Hop Kit for the instrument.
  2. Select the new track and make sure the Record Enable button is on.
  3. Mute the previously recorded tracks.
  4. Turn the cycle region on and record a new drum loop using multiple drum sounds.
  5. Extend your finished region so that it loops three times in the Timeline.

Deleting a Track and Saving Your Project

Now that you’ve created three different drum loops, let’s save your work so you can come back and listen to it another time for pleasure—or torture, depending on the quality of your recordings. Also, this is a good time to delete the Grand Piano track, since it was never used in this project. To delete a track, you select the track and press Cmd-Delete, or choose Track > Delete Track.

  1. Select the Grand Piano track, then press Cmd-Delete.

    The Grand Piano track no longer exists at the top of the Timeline.

  2. Unmute the first two tracks to turn them back on.
  3. Click the Cycle button to turn off the cycle region in the Timeline.
  4. Close the onscreen keyboard.
  5. Press Cmd-S to save the project into the My GarageBand Projects folder on the Desktop.
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