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Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by abcdefGARY, Feb 24, 2009.
If you have no/very little experience with a digital audio workstation, then garageband would be a good start. The thing that teaches you how to play instruments is just a new feature with the latest release of garageband, and garageband has pre-recorded loops, but you can also record your own music. You just need to get a MIDI keyboard too, not just any electronic keyboard will work. Once you feel you are a master of garageband you can move to Logic if you want to continue composing with MIDI.
You would probably know if your keyboard was MIDI or not when you purchased it.
MIDI data is transferred from the keyboard through MIDI cables which is a cable with 5 pins on the end or it can be transferred through firewire/USB too. If your keyboard doesn't have MIDI ports or a firewire/USB port then it isn't a MIDI keyboard. Also it should be pretty obvious to know if it's a MIDI keyboard by looking at the manual, if there isn't anything about MIDI then it's probably not a MIDI keyboard.
I recommend doing research on MIDI and how it works, also if you are going to have to purchase a MIDI keyboard you need to research those too. When I was first starting to get into digital audio this site really helped me out-
There's a section on MIDI and MIDI keyboards/controllers in there.
Garage Band will do this. It is easy to use and comes free with every Mac..
Just the other day I was usimg GB to transpose piano music for woodwinds and some strings. I dupllicated the piano track and then transposed one of the copies then made some more edits.
I'm a beginning keyboard player. My timing is never perfect and I'll sometime play a few wrong notes. So I record myself on the MIDI K/B and play it back and it sounds like a beginning player. But then use the editor built into GB and correct the mistakes and tighten up the timing. Now it sounds like a robot playing the piano with zero expression.
If you ever outgrow GB then buy Apple's Logic Express. It can directly open GB files so you loose nothing. So don't worry about outgrowing GB, there is a painless growth path
About MIDI kayboards, If you need to buy one they start at about $100, some even less. But if you want a "real piano"feel with hammer action keys then the minimum is $400 (casio px120) but maybe double that. But if you are planning to play non-piano sounds (like strings and futes) you may not want the hammer type keys, very soft keys work better.
This is correct but in addition you can record real instruments. Like a real piano, voice, a flute or drums. For these you would need a microphone. Garage Band treats these kinds of tracks a lot like NMIDI and you can edit them. Cut and paste and even adjust the key or pitch within limits. So technically you don't need MIDI. You can get starting gust by singing into the Macbook Pro's built-in mic. That wil not get you pro-level sound quality but you can get started by simply setting the notebook on top of the piano and recording with the built-in mic. Yes I know, very poor audio quality but it's something to try with a brand new out of the box Mac
are you considering composition through notation or simply playing on a keyboard?
That's what I was going to ask too. I find it much faster (and better) to write into Finale (or Sibelius...The people who use Sibelius seem to swear by it, and the people who use Finale seem to swear at it. I'm one of the latter. It's a love-hate relationship for sure) and then sequence it into Digital Performer. It's nice to see the music on paper to make sure of any orchestrational issues.
For you, Garageband would be a great start, and if you end up with the Orchestral JamPack, you can use that with Logic too. That might be your best workflow.
If you end up with some nice sample libraries (or even something like Garritan Personal Orchestra, which is great for the cost) you could try moving over to Digital Performer, as it is in my opinion the best application for MIDI sequencing. It has a learning curve, but once I learned it, I never composed in Logic again.
heh heh, i'm a Sibelius guy. more love than hate, though
when i'm composing "that way", i'll do 95% of the work in Sibelius, then dump the AIFFs into ProTools for some final touches (mostly stereo placement and reverb).
if you're already familiar with (and have?) Finale, why are you looking into working in GB?