How to edit songs from iTunes library on GarageBand

One of the most important ingredients to an amazing song recipe is the editing of it. From recording to production, a song is mastered several hundred times in a studio before the final version is brought out to the people. it so happens quite often that the entire structure of the song gets changed because the final mixing was not sounding like what was thought of. One of the finest examples of good editing is the song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queens. This song was made when analog mixers were in use and tracks had to be physically cut and placed into the mixer. The end product, as we all know, is considered to be one of the greatest songs to ever have been made.

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Editing a track does not only mean editing and mastering your composition. It is also an art to be able to mix and match songs and give birth to remixes that sometimes sound even better than the original song itself. Not only remixes but also music mashups, dance jams, and rap verses can be created if songs are properly mixed. All of this requires a good command over the musical scale. In this guide, we will see how to import various songs from iTunes into our GarageBand project and mix it to create a mega-mix of your choicest songs. We will also look at editing original tracks and the various techniques involved in mixing and mastering in GarageBand.

How to Import Songs from iTunes into GarageBand?

  1. The first step to import songs from iTunes into GarageBand is to download and install the application on your device. GarageBand can be easily found in the Apple Store and can be downloaded on both an iPhone as well as an iPad along with your PCs.
  2. Launch the application. The project page of GarageBand will open up. If you want to create a new project, click on the ‘New Project’ option or open up an existing project. For the purpose of this guide, we will be editing the tracks in a new project so open a new project.
  3. Now the application will ask the type of track that you want to use. As we will not be using MIDI instruments nor plugging in lead instruments like the guitar, click on the ‘Record’ track with the microphone symbol on it.
  4. We have to import songs from iTunes into our project. For this click, the Media Browser has to be opened up that will search for media of your device. The Media Browser button is situated at the bottom right corner of your screen. Hovering over the button will show ‘View/Hide Media Browser’. Click on the button and a column to the right of the screen will open up showing all the media of your browser.
  5. There will be three segregations to the column namely Audio, Photos, and Movies. By default, the music library of iTunes will be displayed under the Audio section. Go through the entire playlist and drag and drop your favourite songs on the ‘Tracks’ section to the left of the screen. With each song you import from iTunes, a new track will be created one after the other. GarageBand also offers the feature of song preview. Before you import a particular song, double-clicking on the song title will let you hear a preview.

Check out the video guide for visual instructions:

How to Mix and Mastering Songs imported from iTunes?

  • After you have dragged onto GarageBand all of the tracks that you want to mix, the most important action that needs to be performed to bring all of them to sync according to a particular time scale. GarageBand helps you perform this by demarcating numbers (1, 2, 3, 4) on top of the track length. Each number denotes the start of a particular beat. All you need to do is position the track according to the numbers so that it falls to beat by moving it left or right. If you want to perfect and match every millisecond, zoom into the track and it will open up even finer divisions.
  • The media player containing all the relevant options (Play, Stop, Pause, Rewind) is situated on the top of the window. As a keyboard shortcut, the space bar triggers the play button, and pressing it again pauses the track.
  • To make a mash-up, tracks need to be cut and removed to make way for the next song. Move over to the part of the track where you think you want to split it. Zooming in will give you a better understanding of which millisecond to cut from. Go to Edit and click on Cut. The track will be cut into two parts right where the track cursor was placed. Now select the part that you want to delete and press the ‘Delete’ key of your keyboard. The unwanted part will be removed. You can instantly bring it back by clicking on Edit > Undo.
  • Following this, cut the track vertically below and position it in such a manner that it starts playing right after the first track stops. Cut the second track right at the intersection and delete the section that overlaps with the first one. Following a similar pattern, you can add many more songs to your mix and even insert self-composed tracks. Before finally exporting the sequence, it is recommended that you listen to the preview of the entire mix. It so happens that a very obvious mismatch misses the ear and you have to export the sequence once again.

Check out the video guide for visual instructions:

How to edit Tracks using the GarageBand mixer?

GarageBand is known as one of the best Digital Audio Workstations where you can create music that is powerful and attractive. However, the real magic lies in being able to properly edit your compositions. The GarageBand mixer provides users with the perfect opportunity to do so.

  1. Each track has a mini mixer present right beside the instrument name. The options available there are Pan, Volume, and Tone. Most basic compositions do not practically require much more than these options. There is also a master track and the mixing options there apply equally to all the tracks. You can think of it as the Master Volume key.
  2. One of the most used purposes of editing is to discard background noise. To do this, select the vocals track. It will be a recording where there will be a lot of empty spaces when the singer is not singing anything. Those parts contain sounds of the vocalist taking breaths. Cut out those parts as it will not make a difference to the song. Only keep the vocals track where the singer is singing. Some other features for cutting out background noise are the DeCrackler, De Hummer, and DeNoiser.

Check out the video guide for visual instructions:

Finally, if you want advanced mixing options, open up the Inspector from the top left of your screen. The Smart Control Knobs will pop-up on the screen. The knobs each control certain aspects of the sound like Reverb, Audio Gain, Harmony, Ambience, Pitch, and Volume. Find your perfect combination by experimenting with the knobs. Once done, save the track to the ‘My Songs’ section of GarageBand. Thereafter, you can share it across social media platforms.