Preparing the Project

Preparing the Project

The next series of exercises will walk you through the steps of building a song using Software Instruments. Most of the song will be arranged using prere-corded Apple Loops that are Software Instruments. You'll also add a recording of your own using the Musical Typing feature. Once the parts are in place, you will apply some advanced arranging techniques to edit, transpose, and finish the piece.

First, you need to open the starting version of the song. This version contains three bass loops that will act as the foundation to the entire song.


Open the project 4-1 SpaceBass start from the Lesson_04 folder.


Choose File > Save As and save the project as SpaceBass into your My GarageBand Projects folder.


Play the project to hear the combined bass loops.

Sounds interesting. Not much of a song yet, but these bass parts inspired the entire piece. There's just one thing to take care of before moving on with building the song. The metronome! As soon as you opened another song, the metronome was right back on, clicking away during playback. Rather than turn it off every time you open a project, it's easier to just change the preferences. The metronome may not be playing on your system depending on your most recent metronome settings.


Choose GarageBand > Preferences.

The General Preferences window opens.


Select "During recording" from the Metronome controls.


Close the General Preferences window.

Understanding Melody and Rhythm

What's the difference between melody and rhythm?

Melody is the plot, or story, of a song. It's the memorable part that you hum to yourself when you think of the song, and it's the part other people will remember as well. If you think of the theme song to your favorite movie, you are thinking of the melody. Melody is usually played by the lead instrument, or lead vocal, just as the lead storyline of a movie is played by the lead characters.

In a melody-driven song, you write the melody first, then add other tracks that work well with the melody. Songs with lyrics usually use the vocals as the melody line. Most of today's popular music is melody-driven.

The songs "Alaska Sunrise" and "A Perfect Day," which you worked on previously, were melody-based. I wrote and recorded the piano melody first, then added the other instrument parts.

Rhythm is the pulse or heartbeat of the song. Rhythm can be played by one instrument or many different instruments. Rhythm is felt as much as it is heard, and it dictates the pacing of the different instrument parts. Rhythm is usually set by the drums and followed by the other rhythm instruments, such as bass, rhythm guitar, and keyboards. The rhythm of a song may be faster or slower depending on the song's tempo. A slow tempo song might be a ballad with a slow and easy rhythm. A fast tempo song might be a rock song with a driving beat.

In a rhythm-driven song, you create the beats, percussion, or rhythm parts first, then add other instrument parts that fit well with the rhythm. Rhythm-driven songs are often used to score movie trailers (previews), and fast-paced promos or commercials. Rap music is often rhythm-based, but it depends on the song.

The song SpaceBass, which you are building for this lesson, is rhythm-driven. For this piece, I built the rhythm tracks first, and then came up with a melody to fit.