How to Lay down a melody

Mac|Life - - CREATE -

Get started

Cre­ate a new track, swipe to the world pane and tap Guzheng. This Chi­nese zither can be played by tap­ping or strum­ming strings. To add tremolo (rapid re­peat­ing notes), hold the but­ton at the foot of the screen.

Set up Au­to­play

You can com­pose a melody by tap­ping the strings, but smart in­stru­ments make things eas­ier. Tap Chords and you can re­strict notes to spe­cific chords. Or use Au­to­play to kick off a melody that’s al­ways in time and in tune.

Learn your chords

Set Au­to­play to 4. We’ll use the chord pro­gres­sion Em/Am/G/Dm, play­ing each for two bars. Tap the Go to Be­gin­ning but­ton and press Play; tap Em when the play­head loops to 1. Switch to the next chord ev­ery two bars.

Record your loop

Once you’re feel­ing con­fi­dent, tap Go to Be­gin­ning and Record. As GarageBand counts in, tap Em to cue up that chord. Once the eight bars have been recorded, GarageBand will loop them. If you make a mis­take, try again.

Play the erhu

Cre­ate a new track and choose Erhu, a two-stringed bow in­stru­ment with a dis­tinct, clean sound that’s great for melodies. Tap and slide the strings to play, and use the slider to ad­just the amount of vi­brato.

Add live ef­fects

The erhu also of­fers ef­fects but­tons for grace notes, trills, and a “horse” noise. Again, com­pos­ing a melody isn’t sim­ple, so feel free to use Au­to­play (set to 1 sounds good) and record the same chords used in step 3.

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