Changing a Track s Instrument

Changing a Track's Instrument

I originally composed this piece on my baby grand piano, then recorded the piano part into GarageBand using a MIDI keyboard and the Grand Piano Software Instrument. However, in the back of my mind I was always torn between recording it as a piano or as an acoustic guitar part. Fortunately, it's a Software Instrument region.

Not only can you edit Software Instrument regions, but you can also change the instrument itself. Imagine recording a music part like this one using a piano sample, then deciding that you would rather have a guitar play that partor vice versa. No problem. All you have to do is open the Track Info pane and change the instrument for the track. Really!


Double-click the top Grand Piano track header.

The Track Info pane opens for the selected track.


Select Guitars as the Software Instrument, and Steel String Acoustic for the specific guitar.


Press Cmd-I to close the Track Info pane.

The first track in the Timeline is now called Steel String Acoustic, and the track icon is a guitar.


Notice that the actual Software Instrument region is still called Grand Piano because that was its original name. You can always change the name of a region in the editor. At this time, it's fine to leave the original name as a reminder of how it was recorded.


Play the Grand Piano region in the Steel String Acoustic track to hear how it sounds with the guitar as the lead instrument.


Press Cmd-S to save your progress.

Fantastic! You'd never know it was originally recorded as a piano part.

Now you see how easy it is to change one Software Instrument to another. This is incredibly useful if you play keyboards but not guitar, for example, or the other way around.

I like the guitar as the lead for part of this song, but I miss the piano for other parts. Later on, when we work on song arrangement in Lesson 4, you'll learn how to break up a lead instrument part into different regions on different tracks. For now, let's stick with one instrument for the lead.


Changing the instrument of a Software Instrument track is a very handy technique for varying a piece of music, such as the theme music for movie, TV show, or even podcast episode. Theme music is often repetitive, yet by simply changing the instrument, you can change the feel to better fit a particular scene. For example, a song like this with a guitar lead could be used as the opening credits music, and the same song using the piano as a lead could be used later for a more emotional scene.

Apple Training Series GarageBand 3
Apple Training Series: GarageBand 3
ISBN: 0321421655
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 134
Authors: Mary Plummer
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