Exploring the GarageBand Window
One of the many advantages of GarageBand is the simplicity of the interface. As with all the iLife applications, GarageBand uses one window as the base of operations. This window is your recording studio.
Let's take a quick tour of the GarageBand window:
GarageBand was designed for Macintosh OS X, and the GarageBand window works the same as other OS X windows. If you're new to the Mac or to OS X, it's a good idea to know the GarageBand window basics.
You can use the Zoom, Minimize, and Close buttons to resize the window, minimize it to the Dock, or to close the window and the project. Double-clicking the title bar at the top of the GarageBand window will also minimize the window. You can use the wooden side panels, top edge, or bottom edge to drag the window to a different location on the screen. To resize the entire window, drag the resize control in the lower-right corner of the window.
If you're using a laptop or a large studio display, the Zoom button is a very useful tool to maximize the size of your workspace. Also, any time you can't see the entire window because part of it is offscreen, you can click the Zoom button to bring the entire window into view.
Now that you know how to adjust the full GarageBand window, let's play the project and take a closer look at some other features, starting with the Timeline.
Playing a Song in the Timeline
There are several ways to play a project in the Timeline. In fact, many Garage-Band features can be accessed by menu, button, or keyboard shortcut. For example, to play a project you can click the Play button in the transport controls (the mouse method), or you can press the spacebar (the keyboard method). For this exercise, you'll start with the transport control buttons located at the bottom of the GarageBand window, below the Timeline.
I composed and recorded the original version of this song for a project I edited and scored in 1988 during the wildfires in Yellowstone Park. At the time the song was called "Splendor" and was inspired by the incredible wildlife and scenery, despite the charred ground and smoky surroundings. That was two decades ago, using what now seems like ancient recording technology, an audio engineer, and a studio full of equipment. If someone told me back then that I would be able to record and mix music with a simple program on my home computer, I probably would have laughed and said something skeptical like, "We'll have flying cars and robot maids before that happens!" Of course that was before GarageBand. (I'm still waiting for the flying cars and robot maids.)
I rerecorded and arranged the song after a trip to Alaska in 2002 where I was once again inspired by the scenery and wildlife. This book includes a portion of the song recorded and arranged using GarageBand.