Garageband offers you a free pitch correction tool that makes it easy to record vocals that are in tune with your music.
Many refer to this as autotune, but that term actually refers to a specific pith correction plugin where there are actually several dozen options. Garageband has a tool that you can use for free!
To master pitch correction, you must understand key signatures and know how to sing in the correct key/scale for your song without going flat or sharp.
Before getting to the pitch correction plugin, the first step is to create a project in Garageband and assign the correct key signature to the song you will be recording.
The project details, including the time signature and the key of the song, can be found at the top of the project. Be sure that the screen you are showing is the "Beats and Project" screen.
The default key that is provided is C major. If you're lucky, your song is also in the key of C major or A minor and will not need any project adjustments. If not, find the song key in which you will be singing.
If you are unable to find it and need to get it from the song itself, you can use the tuner feature to sing the tonic note in the song. The tuner feature will then show you what note you are singing.
Be sure to note the difference between major and minor keys. A song, for example, in A minor is the same scale as a song in C major. A song in C minor is the same scale as a song in E flat major.
Garageband allows you to choose a major or minor key, but I like to choose the relative major to get the best results from their pitch correction tool. Below is a circle of 5ths graph of each major key and its relative minor key.
Now you are all set up in the right key and can limit yourself to all the right notes. The next step you will want to take is to start recording your vocals on a new track.
Once you have the vocal file recorded, you will need to double-click the recorded vocal waveform in order for the pitch correction option to pop up at the bottom of the screen to the left.
You will want to check the "limit to key" option and the enable flex option for the best results but feel free to play around with these to your liking. The Enable Flex feature allows you to play around with the waveform itself to edit each note that is sung.
Sometimes, the free plugin just doesn't do the job for me and my vocal projects. Often times my vibrato is hard to detect and needs a few manual edits that I can't really do with the flex tool, so I use a 3rd party pitch correction tool.
Many available plugins can work with Garageband, but my pitch correction plugin of choice is Waves Tune.
Waves Tune is a very advanced pitch correction tool that allows you to edit the pitches manually in a variety of different methods, including dragging the notes, drawing the correct pitch, and much more.
Many times I don't even need to edit what is given as long as I put the right key settings into the plugin in a similar way that I did with the entire song project.
The only downside to this tool is that sometimes it's working a bit too hard, and I hear some distortion in my vocals, like little clicks and pops.
On rare occasions, I'm so off-key that it can't save the note without making me sound like a robot, but I like to think that it's more of my mistake than a mistake of the program.
The best thing to do is work on your own intonation without relying too heavily on programs and plugins. It's also good to remember that all notes don't need to be perfectly in key. There's beauty in slight flaws when it comes to music.
If you are struggling with figuring out pitches and hearing the right key, consider enrolling in a beginner or basic music theory course or picking up a self-help book to help you understand the technical concepts behind music.
The more you grow with your ear training and practice, the less you will need to rely on a pitch corrector!
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So there you have it! Garageband offers a free pitch correction tool that can work wonders for your vocal recordings. By setting the correct key signature and utilizing the pitch correction options, you can ensure your vocals stay in tune with your music.
However, if you find that the free plugin doesn't meet your specific needs, you can explore third-party options like Waves Tune for more advanced pitch correction capabilities.
Just keep in mind that while these tools can be helpful, it's important to work on your own intonation and strive to improve your pitch accuracy naturally. Remember, music doesn't always have to be perfectly in key - there's beauty in the nuances and subtle imperfections.
If you find yourself struggling with pitches and identifying the right key, consider investing in music theory education or resources to enhance your ear training skills.
As you grow and practice, you'll become less reliant on pitch correctors and develop a stronger musical ear. So keep honing your craft, embrace the journey, and let your own musical skill grow!
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