Create a ringtone in GarageBand, part 2
Use touch-controlled instruments to add melody to a ringtone
Apple’s touch instruments offer tactile musical insight into traditional eastern fare
In recent years, GarageBand’s capabilities have expanded beyond the guitars, drums, and synths that are most familiar to Western ears. This hasn’t just been by way of new keyboard presets either — Apple has added new touch–controlled world instruments, which offer tactile musical insight into traditional Eastern fare.
In this tutorial, we’ll be continuing to make a ringtone (see April’s Mac|Life, issue 140), and using two Chinese instruments — the erhu (a two–stringed bowed instrument) and guzheng (a plucked stringed instrument) — to add melody and atmospherics to the eight-bar loop we already filled with beats.
Because these are touch instruments and smart instruments alike, they offer plenty of flexibility. If you want to pluck or strum virtual strings, that option is available. However, in this tutorial we’ll mostly be using GarageBand’s Autoplay functionality, so you can quickly lay down some professional–sounding audio even if you’re not particularly skilled with instruments.
Note that before you begin, you’ll need to go to GarageBand’s Sound Library (see bit.ly/gbsndlib) and install the Chinese Traditional touch instrument pack. Also, if you’re new to this tutorial series and haven’t got a drum track ready, create a new Drummer track and record eight bars of audio using whichever drummer and kit you prefer. Don’t worry about it sounding Eastern — the ringtone we’re creating is very much heading towards fusion territory, with a mix of acoustic and electric drums, world instruments, and — next issue — some vibrant electronic bass.
World instruments have also found their way into GarageBand’s acoustic drum section — these Taiko Drums are from the Japanese Traditional pack.