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Retiming Audio in GarageBand 2

Using loops to fix tempo and key problems By Dave Nagel
Mistakes are bound to happen when you're recording yourself in GarageBand. For example, maybe you've recorded a perfect guitar riff, only to realize that your project is set to the wrong key. Or maybe you decide it should have been played a bit faster, and you'll never match the perfection of that original recording. So you want to switch the key and the timing without affecting the pitch and quality of the original.

Not everybody can rock as hard, as fast or as accurately as the rock legend known as Dave Nagel. So when these things happen, you need to look for workarounds. Here's a tip for fixing up these problems without having to re-record yourself.

To begin, let's say that this is your perfect riff right here.

The trouble is that after you recorded it, you discovered that your project was set in the wrong key. You were playing in B, and the project was set to D. (Not that something like this would ever happen to me.) Changing the key now, after you've recorded it, will mean changing the pitch of what you recorded to something horrible and still off because if you change the project's key, GarageBand is going to adjust the pitch of all of the recorded audio to "match" the new key.

So here's what you want to do.

Exporting the clip
1. Select the clip of the perfect riff you've created, as seen above. Copy it (Command-C).

2. Now create a new project in the same incorrect key and same tempo as the original project. (This will close your current project; so save changes, if necessary.) Give the project a name you'll remember, like "The Perfect Riff" (or whatever).

3. Delete the existing Grand Piano track (Track > Delete Track), and add a new one that matches the settings of your original track (Track > New Track).

4. Move the timeline to the beginning of the project (if it isn't already there), and paste in your clip.

5. Now choose File > Export to iTunes. This will render out your clip as an AIFF file that will be located in your iTunes music directory with the same name as the name you gave your project. It can be hard to find, so you might want to do a search for it in the Finder. (This is why it's a good idea to give your project a name you'll remember.)

Bringing it back in
So now you have your mixed down AIFF file, you're ready for the next stage of this project.

6. Now create a new project, this time in the correct key, but with the same timing as the original project.

7. Create a new "No Effects" track (Track > New Basic Track).

8. Grab your file from the iTunes folder and drag it into this new track manually. (There is no "Import File" type of menu command in GarageBand as of yet.) This imported clip will be colored orange.

And now you have your perfect riff in the correct key, ready for use in a full project. To make the rest of the process easy, we'll now add this clip to our Loops library so that it will be in the proper key for any project we create and so that we can retime it easily.

Adding the clip to your Loops library
9. Trim off the end of your clip. You can do this by moving the timeline marker to what should be the end point of your clip, then choosing Edit > Split  (Command-T). This will split your clip into two separate clips.

10. Now select the first part of the clip only.

11. Then choose Edit > Add to Loop Library. Because you've trimmed your clip, you'll be able to store it in your Loop Library as either a looping file that can be retimed or as a static "one-shot" file. I'll choose the "Loop" option, and I'll store this in the Guitars > Elec Guitar category.

Now this clip is ready to be reused. Because we created the clip in a project whose key is set to B, rather than the incorrect D, it will sound appropriate in a project set at B (major). And because we've added it to the Loop Library, we can drag it into a project set to any tempo, and it will be retimed to match that tempo.

Nice, eh?

If you have any further questions or would like to request specific tutorials, please stop by our GarageBand forum and drop me a note by clicking here.

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Related Keywords:garageband, retiming audio, pitch change, song key, loops

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