How To Use Sections in Garageband iOS

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Garageband has a great system that allows you to not only create clearly defined sections within your song, but also record and edit exclusively within those sections before putting the whole project together again when you’re done.

When you create a new song in Garageband, you’ll have 8 bars to work with by default. Whether you’re capturing a Smart Instrument performance or recording an instrument externally, when you hit that default 8 bar limit, the playhead will loop back to the start.

Here’s how to extend the number of bars you can work with:

 

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To get started, tap the small ‘cross’ icon in the top right corner of the track view.

 

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This brings up the song Sections menu. Next, tap ‘Section A’

 

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You now have the choice to either manually adjust the number of bars in your song, or set the size to ‘Automatic’. Setting to automatic will allow your song to run as long as you want it to (up to a maximum of 320 bars).

Bear in mind that if you are shortening the number of bars in a section, any regions that extend past the end will automatically shorten to fit. Regions that ran to the end of a section will loops automatically if you increase the number of bars in it.

You can close the Sections menu by tapping anywhere on the track view.

 

Adding Sections

You can use the sections menu to take things a step further and create separate parts that operate independently of each other:

 

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In the Sections menu, tap the ‘Add’ button to create a new section in your song.

 

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Labelled ‘Section B’ by default, you can increase/decrease the number of bars the same way you did with Section A.

 

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Now that you’ve created your new section, you can navigate to it by holding your finger anywhere on the track view and swiping to the left.

 

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You can now work on this section separately from the rest of your song – while recording, when the playhead hits the last bar, it will loop back to the beginning of the section.

 

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You can move back to previous sections in the same way – holding on the track view, but swiping right instead of left.

 

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You can even switch the order of your sections on the fly. At the Sections menu, tap and hold on the section you’d like to move and drag it into the desired position. Simple!

If you’d like to  record or extend a loop over several sections, open the Sections menu and tap ‘All Sections’. The playhead will no longer loop back to the start of the current section when it hits the last bar.

 

There you have it – that’s how you can use Garageband iOS’ Sections menu to sculpt and edit your song!

 

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