Key change

Ups and downs
GarageBand can change the key, not only of a software instrument track, but also of a recorded track. This is a very handy feature to make life easier for vocalists and other musicians who may prefer a different key to sing or play along with. You can also use it to pitch-match tracks from different songs.
Don't overdo it: if you stray more than a few semi-tones from the original key, the sound quality deteriorates markedly.

Pretty much the same goes for the tempo - very handy for fine adjustments but for true flexibility in the tempo you need to record a software instrument track

Time and Key signatures

Set the key first when you work with green tracks
That old key of C again.....
Make sure to set a song's key before importing or recording any MIDI notes. GarageBand creates new songs with a default key of C. If you decide to change the key later, all of your MIDI notes will be transposed to the new key.
To avoid having to transpose your software instruments, be sure to set the song's key before recording anything.
To change the song's key: Click the Track Info button to open the Track Info window. From the pop-up menu at the top of the window, choose Master Track .
From the Key pop-up menu, choose a new key.
If you've already recorded a track in the wrong key, use the Transpose slider in the Track Editor to adjust the pitch of the region.

TheGarageDoor Image Gallery

Transposing question
watch the slider..
The time-line grid does not show the notes at their transposed pitch.It is not meant to. GarageBand uses non-destructive editing to transpose the notes of the region, so the track editor's timeline grid always displays the original notes.
Some loops seem to be missing
It's that loopy filter...
Question: In the GarageBand loop browser, some loops seem to be missing.
Answer: Loops Are Filtered by Signature and Key. By default, GarageBand filters the available loops to those matching your song's time signature and key (within two semitones).

To have GarageBand show you loops of any key:
Open GarageBand. From the GarageBand menu, choose Preferences . Click General. Deselect the "Filter for more relevant results" option.
Loops in a different time signature cannot be seen because they would not loop properly in your song.
If you've installed additional loops for GarageBand (see importing and making your own loops, you will need to drag their folder from the Finder to the loop browser window so they can be indexed.
You do not need to do this for the Jam Packs because they are indexed during installation.
Different keys
Ups and downs
Use any key you want, but if you intend to record certain live instruments like saxophone or trumpet, remember that just because a key is great for guitar, it doesn't mean it is so good for them: because they are so-called "transposing" instruments, they actually play in a different key to the sounding key (called "concert" key).
A song in E (a key loved by most guitarists) puts the alto saxophone in C# - not only harder to play on sax but also sounding less sonorous.
By the way, this is the reason for many jazz keys, and why the 12 bar blues is so popular in Bflat.

I have written a handy javascript tool that automatically finds the sax (or trumpet, or clarinet) key for you.

To the Top