Friday, May 13, 2011

Garageband for iPad Revisited

While I wait for the latest Nanostudio and Mixtikl updates to hit the App store, I went back to Garageband for iPad for my last piece. I wrote a bit before about some of its advantages and shortcomings. After creating a more complete piece I have a few more thoughts.  I found that the iPad screen makes for an incredible "ribbon-controller" for synthesizers. In the piece below, I was able to slide from note to note in the synth lead on the flat keyboard. You can almost accomplish this on a keyboard by using a high portamento or glide setting but it is actually much easier over the smooth iPad surface. I hope to use this a lot more in the future. 

I love the idea of smart drums where you move pieces of the kit on the grid (simple to complex and soft to loud). I found on a video that you can actually record the movement of the drums to vary up the beats a bit. I did not do that in this piece but will do so in future pieces.

As I mentioned in my Thumbjams post, guitar parts are not easy for me but I do love picking a scale and using the fretboard to pick out guitar solos. That is what I did for the guitar lead on this piece. The rhythm guitar is a smart instrument where I cycled through a few chord progressions.

The other good news is that Garageband '11 has been updated and you can now easily upload your project to the iMac to complete and enhance. This is good news because other than this, there is no way to combine other loops or WAV files into your Garageband projects on the iPad.

What is still lacking is a means of mixing various sources together on the iPad itself. Garageband is fine with live recording but does not let you copy/paste on the iPad or include other loops. Also, there is still no way to edit the MIDI data on the iPad - you have to upload it to the full version for that.

There is a lot of depth to what is possible with the program but it is still a bit of a "walled garden". I would love to see an easier way to combine different synths together with Garageband on the iPad.

Here is my last piece which is a bit more on the melodic side - has a portamento synth lead followed by an acoustic guitar lead. One loop was used and the rest of the piece is performed on the iPad Garageband instruments:

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