Using GarageBand With VoiceOver

Hello all.

The question is entirely in the subject, but... Is there any tutorial explaining how to use GarageBand with Voiceover on MacOX? I tried to figure out by my self, but I get lost within multiple layers with interactions and sub interactions and sub-sub-interactions. Any help will be very appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Using GarageBand with VoiceOver

Hello,

I have been working on a GarageBand tutorial for VoiceOver users on MacOS for a little over a year now. It is currently more than 250 pages long. I hope to complete it in the next few months. I too had a hard time figuring out how to use GarageBand in spite of being a former computer programmerand I too searched for tutorials for the VoiceOver user with no luck. The need for a comprehensive tutorial is still unmet. I haven't decided how to publish my comprehensive tutorial yet but that will come. I will post to this forum when it is available.

In the meantime, I will be happy to try to answer specific questions if the effort to provide an answer isn't too much of a burden on my time and energy.

A quick tip for MacBook Pro users is that a full external keyboard is the only way to go.

Please ignore

Sorry, I didn't realize I should reply to a previous post instead of posting a new one.

Resizing loops and adding a vocal track

I'm not ridiculously skilled in GB but need some help with a couple of problems in the latest version of the app on the mac.

First of all, I brought in a project from an old version and everything seems intact. I had some trouble with the loops library at first but after having my wife drag and drop them in from a folder in finder, they’re all back where they belong. The project plays fine with all of the loops I put in it when I press play.

While I’ve figured out how to get to the resize loops menu option, I cannot figure out how to resize the loops. It’s probably something insanely simple but when I try moving my arrow keys, it just tells me that the item can't be moved any further in the corresponding direction. It’s insanely frustrating and I’m just trying to figure out what I’m missing here.

I also want to record vocals over top of what’s currently in the project. How can I do so while the track is playing along in my headphones? I’ve never done vocals in GarageBand so I want to make sure I don’t record over top of everything instead of adding it to the mix. I also want to add effects to the vocals — is there a way to do that as well?

Sorry for all of the questions. I’m just extremely new at using this latest version of GB (I was using 6.0.5 before) and with very limited knowledge, it’s a very steep learning curve.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. The loops are the most important thing if you don’t have time to reply to all of my questions.

Need More Volume? Adding the Gain Plug-in to a GB Track

Adding the Gain Plug-in to a GarageBand Track

Have you ever encountered the situation where you have maxed out the volume of a track and it still isn't loud enough? One way to deal with this situation is to turn up the volume on the Master track (press Command+Shift+M to show the Master track). After raising the volume of the overall project, you can then turn down the volume on individual tracks as needed. This effectively raises the volume on those individual tracks whose volume is not turn down. Another technique is to double a track. It should become somewhat louder because now there are two of them.

Or, you can use a plug-in to add additional gain to the track. Here's how.

Note: In the following instructions the letters VO are shorthand for VoiceOver. When VO is used in combination with other keys to describe a keyboard shortcut, VO means that you are to use the Control+option keys in combination with other keys. For example, VO+Spacebar means that you are to simultaneously press the Control key plus the Option key plus the Spacebar.

1. In the Tracks Header Group, select the track that needs gain.
2. Press the letter "B" to open the Smart Controls Editor window.

Note: If, after pressing the letter “B,” VoiceOver fails to say, Smart Controls Group, press the letter “B” two more times. This will close and reopen the Smart Controls window. For some reason, VoiceOver almost always speaks when the window opens the second time.

3. The VoiceOver cursor should now be on the Smart Controls Group. Interact with it by pressing Shift+VO+Down Arrow (Shift+Control+Option+Down Arrow).
4. VoiceOver should tell you that the VoiceOver cursor is on the Smart Controls Toolbar. Interact with it.
5. VoiceOver should tell you that the VoiceOver cursor is on the Show Inspector checkbox. Press VO+Spacebar to check it.
6. Stop interacting with the Smart Controls Toolbar by pressing Shift+VO+Up Arrow.
7. VoiceOver should tell you that the VoiceOver cursor is back on the Smart Controls Toolbar. Press VO+Right Arrow one time. VoiceOver should say, “Scroll Area.”

Note: Checking the Show Inspector checkbox in step 5 caused the Scroll Area to appear in the Smart Controls Group. Conversely, unchecking the Show Inspector checkbox will cause the Scroll Area to be hidden.

8. Interact with the Scroll Area by pressing Shift+VO+Down Arrow.
9. Locate the Plug-ins button at the bottom of the Scroll Area. Pressing VO+End will often jump the VoiceOver cursor right to it. Otherwise, use your VO+Up and Down, or VO+Left and Right Arrow keys as needed to locate the Plug-ins button.
10. With the VoiceOver cursor on the Plug-ins button, press VO+Spacebar to activate it.
11. Press VO+Right Arrow several times until the VoiceOver cursor lands on the Audio FX group. This is the name of the Plug-ins table.
12. Interact with the Audio FX Group by pressing Shift+VO+Down Arrow.
13. The VoiceOver cursor should now be on the first entry in the plug-ins table. Press VO+End to jump the VoiceOver cursor to the last entry in the table.
14. If the VoiceOver cursor lands on either an Insert pop up button or an Audio FX pop up button, press VO+Spacebar to activate it. Otherwise, press VO+Left Arrow until the VoiceOver cursor lands on either an Insert pop up button or an Audio FX pop up button. Then press VO+Spacebar to activate the button.

Note: Since the Plug-ins table can contain four or more plug-ins, these last two steps make sure that when the Gain plug-in is added to the table, it will be added to the end of the table.
The Insert pop up buttons and Audio FX pop up buttons are essentially the same thing. They both represent empty slots where plug-in can be added to the table.

15. When either an Insert pop up button or an Audio FX pop up button is activated, VoiceOver should say something like: menu, checked, No Plug-in.
The VoiceOver cursor should now be on the first item in a menu. Except for the first item, the menu contains a list of Plug-in categories. When the first item, No Plug-in, is checked, it means that this slot in the plug-ins table is currently empty. This is what you want because your goal is to add a Gain plug-in to the table. To do this, press VO+Down Arrow until the VoiceOver cursor lands on the Utility submenu.
16. Press Right Arrow one time. VoiceOver should say, Gain. This may be the only plug-in currently in the Utility category.
17. Press the Enter key to select the Gain Plug-in. This will add the Gain plug-in to the table, and open the Settings window for the Gain plug-in.
18 When the Settings window first opens, VoiceOver should speak the name of the track that you selected back in the Track Headers Group. This track name text field lets you know that you haven’t accidentally selected a different track along the way. Press VO+Right Arrow several times until VoiceOver tells you that the VoiceOver cursor has landed on the Scroll Area.
19. Interact with the Scroll Area. VoiceOver should say something like:
“In scroll area 3 items Gain:” The VoiceOver cursor is on a text label that says, "Gain:".
20. Pressing VO+Right Arrow one time brings the VoiceOver cursor to the dB slider. Pressing VO+Right Arrow a second time brings the VoiceOver cursor to the percent slider. Changing the value of one slider automatically changes the value of the other slider, so choose which control you prefer to adjust. For example, you could adjust the percent slider up to 90 or 95% to boost gain above the default value of 80%.
21. When done, stop interacting with the Scroll Area by pressing Shift+VO+Up Arrow.
22. Press VO+Command+Home to jump the VoiceOver cursor to the Setting Window Close button. Press VO+Spacebar to activate it.
23. The Settings window should close, and the VoiceOver cursor should be in a new window that you haven’t yet seen in this exercise. It is the Gain plug-in’s main window. It contains three controls:

• Bypass checkbox – Checking this box turns the plug-in on, and unchecking it turns the plug-in off.
• Setting button – Takes you to the Settings window you just visited. Here you can adjust the gain level.
• List button – Takes you to the menu of plug-in categories that you were in earlier. Here you can replace the current plug-in by selecting a different one. Or, you can select the No Plug-in option to remove the currently selected plug-in from the table.

24. Stop interacting with the Gain window by pressing Shift+VO+Up Arrow. VoiceOver should say something like: Out of Gain Group. The VoiceOver cursor should now be back in the Plug-ins table on an item labeled Gain Group. The Plug-ins table may contain other plug-ins such as Compressor Group or Channel EQ Group. And it should contain some empty slots labeled either Insert pop up button or Audio FX pop up button. Interacting with a plug-in (group) allows you to make changes to it.
25. Stop interacting with the Plug-ins table by pressing Shift+VO+Up Arrow. The VoiceOver cursor should be back in the Smart Controls Inspector Scroll Area.
26. Stop interacting with the Inspector Scroll Area by pressing Shift+VO+Up Arrow. The VoiceOver cursor should be back in the Smart Controls Group. Stop interacting with the Smart Controls Group by pressing Shift+VO+Up Arrow.

Note: There are navigation shortcuts but in the instructions above, I chose to demonstrate step-by-step navigation so that people with less experience may better understand the overall process.

Conclusion

You have now added a Gain plug-in to your track. You may need to interact with the track to adjust its volume control.

The above steps are intended to show you how to quickly add a Gain plug-in to one of your project tracks. Of course, you can generalize these instructions to add any of the other available plug-ins to a track as well. There is much regarding plug-ins that I didn’t discuss. For example, the order in which plug-ins occur in the table makes a difference since the outputs of earlier plug-ins become the inputs to subsequent plug-ins. You can search the Web for suggestions on order of placement (such as guitar effects chains) or you can just experiment.

Unfortunately, VoiceOver doesn’t speak the labels for all plug-in controls. The Gain plug-in happens to be easy to use. Some plug-ins, however, contain many more controls. When VoiceOver doesn’t tell you what slider controls or buttons are for, it becomes more of a challenge to use those plug-ins without sighted help.

Good luck

Selecting in Garage Band

So one of the things I remember from my studio session days when I was younger; the engineers would, even with software, be able to quickly back up and replay a small segment. Just a bar, half a bar, etc.
Now I get using regions, etc. But what about when you're trying to specify a region? You want to be able to select and play in place. I see this described with the mouse all the time, dragging along a line, etc. Any way we can select in a track with VoiceOver? Seems like you could more quickly remove something by selecting it and then removing it if it's just one small sour note, etc.
Are there VO methods for doing this?

Thanks,

Leo

Repositioning Regions on the Fly

Leo,

Let's look at a scenario. I created a new GB project using the Empty Project template. This automatically opened the New Track dialogue where I created a software instrument track. Next, I went to the Apple Loops Group and interacted with the Loops table. There are groupings or families of loops whose members all work well together. One such grouping is the family of loops whose names all begin with "Two Step". I copied an electric bass loop into my project, made sure that it started at bar one, and looped it so it plays for twelve bars. I did the same with a drum loop. Then, I copied in a two bar organ loop and left its length as two bars.

Next, I extended the cycle region to twelve bars so that the twelve bars loop over and over. Only the organ plays from bars 1 through two. The idea of this scenario is that the organ loop will be the object of "listening" as I move it around to a place that sounds good to me while the other tracks are playing.

A sighted mouse user can simply place the cursor on the organ's region and drag it left or right to adjust its starting position. Or, drag on the left or right edge of the region to change its length. Note that Lengthening software or audio regions only adds silence before or after the initial region. And shortening these regions permanently erases the data that the edge (border handle) passes over. Undo doesn't recover the erased data so save your work prior to changing the length of a region in ccase you want to go back to where you started.

A mouse user can click anywhere on the time line during playback and the playhead will jump to that point and begin playing. The closest thing that a VoiceOver user can do on the fly is to use the Period and Comma keys during playback to move the playhead forward or backwards.

By the way, since it can be hard to tell when a cycled region starts over each time, you can record a single note to an empty track at the first beat of the cycle region. For example, the New Track dialogue created an empty Classic Electric Piano track. Select that track, press the Enter key to jump the cursor to the beginning of the track, press Command+K to open the Musical Typing window, press R to begin recording, listen to the default one bar count in, and type the letter A on beat one of the next bar. Note that if you press during the count in, the note will not record. Press Command+K to close Musical Typing. Now, everytime the cycle region starts over, you will know it because you will hear that single note. Delete that track when no longer needed.

So, the cycle region begins as we hear the single note, the two bars of organ play, and the rest of the twelve measures of bass and drums. All this repeats until the cycle region is turned off.

Now we want to reposition the organ region by ear. Go to the Tracks Contents Group, and select the organ track. If there is only one region it will be selected automatically. With the region selected, press Control+Option+Command+Accent to start the Move Item function. Note that the Accent key is beneath the Escape key.

Recall that the cycle region is playing all this time. The left and right arrows will move the entire region to the left or to the right. How much the region moves with each press of an arrow key depends on the Horizontal Zoom value. This control can be found when you first interact with the Tracks Group. When Horizontal Zoom is set to zero percent, each press of the left or right arrow may move the region by four or five bars. When Horizontal Zoom is set to one hundred percent, each press of an arrow key may only move the position of the region by a sixteenth note, a thirty-second note, or perhaps even less (I haven't checked it out lately.). Note that Command+Left and Command+Right arrow are shortcuts for changing Horizontal Zoom.

Once the region is where you want it, press the Escape key to terminate the Move Item function.

As I said, this can be done while the cycle region is running. To try to do this without the cycle region would seem overly tedious to me.

Slicing a region on the fly seems problematic for a VoiceOver user. The slice command (Command+T) depends on the position of the playhead, and since the playhead is in motion, it is hard to slice with precision. It is better to stop playback, position the playhead precisely, and then press Command+T so that the slice occurs exactly where you want it.

I don't know if this scenario answers your question but it is all that I can think of for a VoiceOver user to do. Unfortunately, using VoiceOver commands is much clunkier than using a mouse.

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Using the GarageBand Tuner with Greater Speed and Accuracy

Using the GarageBand Tuner with Greater Speed and Accuracy

Though the tuner in GarageBand is accessible using VoiceOver, as with any digital tuner, it can be frustrating at times. This post discusses my method for improving the speed and accuracy when using the GarageBand tuner.

Before I had access to a digital tuner, I tuned my guitar by ear, using recordings of the six pitches of standard tuning. This seemed to work well enough, but once I had access to a digital tuner, I realized that tuning to the six recordings wasn’t very precise, given my less than perfect hearing. So, the discovery of accessible digital tuners was exciting. Talking Tuner for iOS is one such tuner. GarageBand on the Mac is another.

If you are familiar with digital tuners, you know that you pluck a string, perhaps on a guitar, and the digital tuner indicates whether the string is below the desired pitch, or above it.
If the string is below the desired pitch, you tighten the tuning peg, and if the string is above the desired pitch, you loosen the tuning peg. You incrementally adjust the tuning peg until the digital tuner indicates that the string is in tune.

The way the GarageBand tuner on the Mac works is that you pluck a string, and a small display in the tuner dialogue indicates the closest note (pitch). For example, if you pluck the six string on your guitar, the note “E” might appear in the display. Suppose that you want to tune your six string to “D”. Loosen string six until the display indicates “D”. Since the display shows pitch in semitones, on the way from “E” to “D,” “D#” will appear before “D”. The next, step is to fine tune the string. Following the note display is the number of cents display. The cents display indicates how far above or below the string is from exact pitch by showing a number between positive fifty and negative fifty, with zero being exact pitch. So, for example, if the pitch display indicates “D,” and the cents display indicates negative 27, you tighten the tuning peg a bit. You repeat the process of plucking the string and checking the cents display until you arrive at zero. If you go too far and end up with a positive number, you know to loosen the tuning peg. In this way, you tighten or loosen the string until the cents display indicates zero. Therefore, when the note display indicates “D” and the cents display indicates zero, the guitar string is perfectly tuned to “D”.

Note: To hear numbers spoken as negative, you will want to set VoiceOver verbosity to speak most or all punctuation.

Now, if only getting the cents display to zero was as easy as it sounds. Actually, it is easy sometimes. But at other times, the cents value seems to resist getting to zero, jumping above, below, above again until you want to pull your hair out. So, to preserve your sanity, you might have to accept that negative two or positive one is close enough. And, instead of taking only a few minutes, tuning six strings might take a half hour. This is not just a Mac problem, I experience the same issue on iOS.

As discussed above, tuning my guitar by ear is not reliable, given my less than perfect hearing. And, using just the digital tuner has its own challenges. I have discovered that combining the two methods increases reliability and speeds up the process of tuning.

First, I created a GarageBand project which I named Standard Tuning. I then added a new software instrument track for each guitar string I wanted to tune. I created six tracks for the standard tuning of a six string guitar, and four tracks for the standard tuning of a four string electric bass. Interacting with the Tracks Header Group, the following tracks are shown in my project:

Track 1 “E4” group
Track 2 “B3” group
Track 3 “G3” group
Track 4 “D3” group
Track 5 “A2” group
Track 6 “E2” group
Track 7 “Input 1, Acoustic Guitar” group
Track 8 “Input 2, Electric Guitar/Bass” group
Track 9 “Bass G2” group
Track 10 “Bass D2” group
Track 11 “Bass A1” group
Track 12 “Bass E1” group
Track 13 “Master Track” group

My external audio interface supports two input channels. When I want to tune an acoustic guitar, I plug an instrument microphone into input one. Note track seven above. My interface has an hi-z switch on input two, so input two is where I plug in an electric guitar or bass. Note track eight above. Both tracks have Input Monitoring enabled.

Each guitar/bass track contains a single MIDI note. I have also created a one measure cycle region, and the cycle function is turned on by default. Furthermore, all guitar and bass tracks are muted by default (but not tracks seven and eight) .

Following is the procedure I use for tuning

1. After opening the Standard Tuning project, and ensuring that the guitar to be tuned is plugged into the appropriate input source, arrow up to either track one (guitar) or down to track nine (bass).

2. After selecting a track, press the letter “S” to solo the track. (Soloing a track overrides the muted status.)

3. Press the Spacebar to begin cycled playback of the soloed track.

4. Arrow down to either track seven or track eight, depending on the type of guitar to be tuned.

5. Jump the VoiceOver cursor to the Control Bar Toolbar, and check the Tuner checkbox. If The Tuner checkbox is dimmed, go back to the Tracks Header Group and make sure that either track seven or eight is selected.

6. When the Tuner dialogue opens, VoiceOver should verify (speak) the selected input source.

Note: Recall that the selected track is playing all the while.

7. Press VO+Semicolon to turn on VO lock.
With the VO keys locked, you can press the left and right arrow keys simultaneously causing VoiceOver to speak the item under the VoiceOver cursor. It is faster to pluck a guitar string and then quickly reach up to simultaneously press the two arrow keys than using two hands to press VO+F3. If the VO keys are not locked, pressing the two arrow keys will toggle quickNav on/off. I don't use QuickNav with GarageBand.

8. Since VO lock is enabled, simply right arrow past the 440 Hz reference pitch indicator, and stop on the note display. If a guitar string hasn’t been plucked in the last few seconds, the word “None” should be displayed.

9. Pluck the guitar or bass string corresponding to the selected track’s note, i.e., the note that is currently playing. Then reach up and simultaneously press the left and right arrow keys. VoiceOver should speak the name of the note, for example, “E”. If this is the note you want, go to the next step. Otherwise, use the string’s tuning peg to tighten or loosen the string, and then recheck the note display by simultaneously pressing the left and right arrow keys. Repeat this step until the desired note is displayed.

10. Next, right arrow one time to the Cents display. Pluck the guitar or bass string corresponding to the selected track’s note. Then reach up and simultaneously press the left and right arrow keys. VoiceOver should speak the number of cents. If the number is a positive number, loosen the tuning peg a bit and recheck the display by simultaneously pressing the left and right arrow keys. If the number is negative, tighten the tuning peg a bit and recheck the display. Repeat the process until zero is reached.

Note: If zero is reached, then great. However, if the tuner resists landing on zero, you can at least hear both the reference pitch (the track being played) and the pitch of your guitar. On those occasions where the cents number seems to jump above, below, above, you can hear that it isn’t the guitar string’s pitch that is jumping around, but rather, it is the tuner itself. Because you can hear both pitches, you have far greater confidence that the guitar string is acceptably in tune, even if the best number you can arrive at is something like positive one or negative one.

Note: I prefer to approach zero from the negative number side. In other words, I prefer to arrive at zero by slowly tightening the guitar string rather than loosening it.

11. Once the string is fine tuned to your satisfaction, press VO+Semicolon to turn off VO lock.

12. Press VO+J. This command will jump the VoiceOver cursor out of the tuner dialogue and into the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line. Press VO+J a second time and the VoiceOver cursor jumps to the selected track in the Tracks Header Group. The selected track should be either track seven or track eight.

Note: VO+J is the Go To Linked Item command. It is one of my most used navigation commands. If you are not familiar with it, play around with it with various combinations of editor windows open. One very important use for this command is when the Piano Roll editor is open. VO+J will eventually jump the VoiceOver cursor to the selected MIDI note in the Piano Roll Layout Area.

13. Arrow to the track whose guitar note is currently playing, and press the letter “S” to un-solo the track. The track’s muted status should resume and the note should stop playing.

Note: In the Tracks Header Group, I try to use the arrow keys without the VO keys because, for some reason, the VO+Arrow Keys don’t always move focus to the newly selected track, as they should

14. Arrow to the track corresponding to the next guitar string to be tuned, and press the letter “S”. That track’s note should start playing.

15. Arrow back to either track seven or track eight to reselect the appropriate input source.

16. While holding down the VO keys, press F2 twice to open the Window Chooser dialogue. Down arrow to the tuner dialogue and press the Enter key. The VoiceOver cursor should be back in the tuner dialogue. Press VO+Semicolon to turn on VO lock again

17. Repeat steps ten through sixteen until all strings are tuned. Once finished, you can simply close the Standard Tuning project.

Note: Guitarists will know that E2 is the note (pitch) designation for string six on a six string guitar in standard tuning.
It is important to understand that different manufacturer’s of MIDI software and hardware may have somewhat different note designations for the exact same pitch. For example, GarageBand designates standard tuning E2 as E1. This means that to match standard tuning E2, the note in the GarageBand Piano Roll Layout Area must be:

Note at 1 bar 1 beat 1 division 1 tick , E1 layout item

If you are not familiar with how MIDI data is represented in the Piano Roll editor, the word “Note” specifies that the item is a MIDI note event.
At 1 bar 1 beat 1 division 1 tick, is the starting position of the note on the time line. E1 is the pitch of the note.

Therefore, to match standard tuning E4 , the note in the Piano Roll Layout Area must be E3.
Standard tuning B3 must be designated in the Piano Roll Layout Area as B2.
Standard tuning G3 must be designated in the Piano Roll Layout Area as G2.
Standard tuning D3 must be designated in the Piano Roll Layout Area as D2.
Standard tuning A2 must be designated in the Piano Roll Layout Area as A1.
Standard tuning E2 must be designated in the Piano Roll Layout Area as E1, and so on.

Conclusion

All of the above may seem overly complicated, or even overkill, but the process goes very quickly once you know what to do. The benefit , at least according to my experience, is that I can tune my guitars and bass with much greater speed and accuracy.

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Is Quick Help in Garage Band no help at all?

In GarageBand the second item in the control bar is the ‘Quick Help’ button. Is there any way to get VoiceOver to read the coaching tips that it provides? Thanks to Bo Jingles for helping to make the Accessibility features of Mac OS more Accessible.

Cheers,

John

Automation?

Has anyone had any luck using automation in Garageband, I, E, setting a parameter to change during a track. automation is a super essential tool in audio editing, and it's the one thing I have never figured out how to do in Garageband. I'm pretty sure that it's simply not accessible.

Automation

Automation is not accessible using VoiceOver and-or the OS Mouse Keys function. In essence, automation is based on the ability to move control points around on automation curves, and to select values for each condtrol point. The one automation feature that VoiceOver can take advantage of is the Fade Out function. Fade Out is a good example to illustrate how automation works. A control point is moved to a point on the time line. Let's say that you would like to begin fading out at around eleven seconds before the end of the song. A control point would be moved to that point and then you would select the volume parameter and the volume level. You would then set another control point at, let's say, seven seconds, this time choosing an even lower volume level, and so on. Fortunately, the Fade Out function does a good job, because the VoiceOver user can't access the controls to adjust the duration of the Fade Out. It would be nice to have a Fade In funcgtion, or to be abel to construct one, but, unfortunately, we can't do it. The only global control I've ever been able to access is transposition track.
It involves use of both VoiceOver and extensive use of the OS Mouse Keys function. It is incredibly tedious and time consuming to achieve. So much so, that I didn't attempt to write up the procedure at the time that I learned it.

Accessible automation is high on my wish list. Another wish is accessible meter levels.

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Logic Pro X

This isn't directly related to the topic but I've heard the Logic Pro X is completely accessible if not more accessible that Garageband. I even took a basic class on it.

Reaper

Again, not completely related, but Reaper is also highly accessible even with the Mac. It's a fully featured DAW, though it does unfortunately not come with its own virtual instruments like Garage Band. Still one of the best workstations on either Mac or PC in terms of power and accessibility - not to mention the low, low cost.

Automation

Regarding automation, I also own Logic Pro X. It is true that the VoiceOver user can do more with it than with GarageBand. However, some of the same limitations are found in both apps. For instance, automation. In other words, automation is currently not accessible in Logic Pro X, nor in GarageBand. The reason is that automation was designed as a graphical control requiring the use of a pointing device to manipulatemultiple control points.
VoiceOver just can't deal with this type of graphical control. It would be nice if alternate method accessible to VoiceOver would be added to both apps. Until then, be nice to your sighted friends.

Recall that I mentioned the fade out function in GarageBand (it is also available in Logic). By simply clicking the button, a routine (perhaps an Apple Script) is triggered which automatically creates a fade out on the Master Track. The main reason that Logic can do more than GarageBand is that there is an extensive library of routines (Apple Scripts?) that can perform various functions. Many of these functions have keyboard shortcuts assigned, to them by default, but many others do not. It is possible to assign your own keyboard shortcuts to any of the available functions.

With regard to the app named Reaper, it is nice to have options. I wonder if documentation specific to VoiceOver users exists. In other words, 99% of the available documentation for GarageBand (and Logic for that matter) is written for the sighted user and, as such, is inadequate for the needs of VoiceOver users.

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Mapping nobs for automation

Any decent Digital Audio Workstation should allow you to map automatable parameters to the jobs and sliders of an external device, like a midi controller. This whould allow you to record automation with little fuss. I use Reaper, and so have no idea how to set something like this up in Garage Band or Logic.

copying midi data from one track to another?

The first track is just something I played on my keyboard using the default sound.
Now I'd like to take the data on that track, then copy it to another instrument track, so I would not have to play the same thing over again.
Kind of like layering piano with strings.

Automationwith external MIDI Controllers

In response to Remy:

You make a good point with regard to MIDI controllers. GarageBand is capable of responding to, and recording, MIDI data from external MIDI keyboards and controllers. Your point is that even if you can’t manually create and edit automation events in GarageBand because VoiceOver cannot deal with automation’s graphical controls, it should at least be possible to create automation events by means of external MIDI controllers. For example, lets say you have a cool synth sound and you would like to cause it to pan around in the stereo field at certain points in the song. The implication is that you have an external MIDI controller with knobs or faders or pedals that can be assigned to various MIDI control parameters such as volume or pan. Then, the knob or fader or pedal assigned to pan would be adjusted in real time while the synth track is being recorded.

The answer posted by stevel on the following forum gives a good overview of the process and things to consider:

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/assinging-midi-contr...

While the possibility of achieving automation through performance is good, it has its limitations. Primarily, a VoiceOver user won’t be able to edit the performance after the fact unless a sighted friend helps out. In any case, your insight on achieving automation via external MIDI control is a good one.

Upgrading from GarageBand to Logic Pro X: A Primer for VO Users

Dear VoiceOver User:

If you are wondering whether it is worth the time and money to upgrade to Logic Pro X, the short answer is yes. While there are still some limitations to accessibility, not only can you do everything that you can do in GarageBand, but you can do so much more.

Even though GarageBand and Logic pro X share the same basic user interface, I quickly discovered that Logic Pro X is organized very differently. With my struggles to figure it out fresh in mind, I decided to write this primer to make it easier for GarageBand users to upgrade to Logic Pro X.

Who Is This Primer For?

This primer is written for people who are already familiar with VoiceOver and GarageBand. For example, if I say "navigate to the Smart Controls Group and interact with it," or, "open the Loops Browser and copy a certain loop into the Tracks Header Group," it is best if you already know how to do these things without needing step-by-step instructions. To get the most out of this primer, you should have access to both GarageBand and Logic Pro X, so that you can follow along as you read. You will be switching back and forth between GarageBand and Logic. As of this writing, the current version of GarageBand is 10.3.2, and the current version of Logic is 10.4.4.

This twenty-two page primer is free. I wrote it as a service to the blind community but, truth be told, the effort deepened my own understanding of both GarageBand and Logic Pro X. You may request a copy by emailing me at:
GB4MacVO@iCloud.com

Upgrading from GarageBand to Logic Pro x: A Book Recommendation

Upgrading from GarageBand to Logic Pro x: A Book Recommendation

I purchased the following book from Peach Pit Press:

Logic Pro X 10.4 - Apple Pro Training Series: Professional Music Production
David Nahmani
Copyright © 2018 by David Nahmani

The book costs approximately $50 and it can be downloaded in several formats including EPUB and PDF. The book guides you through step-by-step exercises using the included project files.

I personally learned a lot from this book. As a result, I can do far more using Logic than I ever could with GarageBand. Do I recommend this book? The short answer is maybe. Here's why.

The book was written for sighted users. As such, the instructions and exercises are oriented towards using a mouse and selecting from menus of various specialized mouse tips. As I worked through the exercises, I had to first comprehend what the author was instructing the reader to accomplish with the mouse, and then I tried to figure out an alternate method for accomplishing the same thing using some combination of VoiceOver and OS Mouse Keys. It is hard to know exactly, but I probably figured out work-a-rounds for 70-80 percent of the exercises. For me, this was well worth the time and money. But for others, it might not be worth it.

If you are stout hearted enough to attempt this book like I did, I am open to collaborating on work-a-rounds. I will tell you that the book only scratched the surface of Logic's features so I am not a good source for answering general Logic questions. I will point out that there are a lot of good resources online. As an example, I typically begin by formatting a search query as follows: logic pro x VCA. In this case VCA is a specific concept/feature of Logic. True, these resources are almost entirely for sighted users but knowing what a feature is, and how it is designed to work, is half way towards a potential solution.

I can be reached at: GB4MacVO@iCloud.com

Editing Midi Notes in Garage band or logic

Hi. So I have just started to get into midi and music production and I should hopefully be getting a mac very soon with garage band and logic. My question is, is there an accessible way to edit Midi notes, for example if you make a wrong note in a performance and need to change it's pitch or velocity? Thanks in Advance.

Editing Midi Notes in Garage band or logic

Yes, MIDI notes can be edited in GarageBand and Logic. You can edit pitch, velocity, note duration, and note start time. Not only can you edit notes from a performance, you can create MIDI sequences from scratch without playing an instrument at all. Furthermore, you can edit software instrument loops from the loop library to customize them to your liking.

While GarageBand and Logic are designed with the capability to edit other MIDI event types such as pitch bend, modulation, sustain, volume, pan, etc., those edit features are not currently accessible using VoiceOver. However, anything you can perform from your MIDI controller will be captured. So, you may need to perform over and over until you get it right. Suppose that you have a performance that is just right except for one thing. If the mistake is a MIDI note, you can edit it using VoiceOver. But, if the mistake is on some other MIDI event type, you will need to perform it again until you get it right.

Now, here is an interesting thing. If you reccord over a previously recorded software instrument track section with the Merge function enabled, you can first perform your sequence of notes and then subsequently add pan, volume changes, etc, by turning knobs or faders on yur external MIDI controller. If you didn't get the panning just right, for example, you can undo and try again. Even without an external controller, you can create pan changes, for example, by changing the pan control in the track header while recording. While it can be done, it may be awkward to get the exact results you want.

I am relatively new to Logic, so I don't have a firm grasp of what all you can and cannot do with MIDI control events. On the surface, the limitations seem to be the same as in GarageBand but I suspect that there may be a bit more possible in Logic.

There is currently a bug in Logic that I have reported. What is happening to me is that essentially, VoiceOver is failing to accurately report velocity values. There is more to the bug but I'll leave it at that. I will note that Logic seems to be working correctly. The problem seems to be with VoiceOver. Hopefully the problem will be fixed with the next release of Logic/VoiceOver.

How to change the pitch of a note?

Awesome! It's cool to find out that I can do that. Another question, what are the steps to adjust the pitch of a note with voiceover?

How to change the pitch of a note?

Sam,

Email me at: GB4MacVO@iCloud.com and I will send you a write-up on the Piano Roll Editor. I wrote it for GB version 10.1.6 but it should still be mostly accurate since not too much has changed in the Piano Roll Editor.

Be Well

Getting Started - The Choose a Project Dialogue in G_B 10.3.4

Getting Started - The Choose a Project Dialogue in GarageBand 10.3.4

When you launch GarageBand for the first time, you are presented with a couple of introductory screens. Once you have clicked through the introductory screens, the Choose a Project dialogue opens. These introductory screens only appear the first time GarageBand is launched. Once you have created your first project, launching GarageBand thereafter should open up the last project you worked on. To get back to the Choose a Project dialogue, close the current project by pressing Command+W. A Save dialogue may appear asking if you want to save changes to the current project. Clicking on Save or Don't Save will close the dialogue and open the Choose a Project dialogue.

The Choose a Project dialogue allows you to specify what type of activity you wish to work on. An activity is specified by interacting with the Choose a Project table. The table contains five options:

New Project - Use the Empty Project template to create a new project
Learn to Play - Choose a musical instrument lesson
Lesson Store - Purchase additional lessons
Recent - Choose an existing project that has been recently opened
Project Templates - Choose a template that creates a project populated with suggested track types. For example, choosing the Hip Hop template creates a project containing a number of suggested tracks that may be commonly found in a Hip Hop project. The tracks are only suggestions. Once the project has been created, tracks can be changed, deleted, or new tracks can be added.

Note: The New Project option uses the Empty Project template which contains no suggested track types at all . Instead, it opens the New Track dialogue which allows you to specify a single track type of your choosing. Once the project has been created with that single track, additional tracks of any type may be added to the project.

The Choose a Project table has gone through a number of changes since version 10.1. In version 10.3.4, notice that the first item in the Choose a Project table is New Project and the fifth/last item is Project Templates. In earlier versions, these two options were combined under the single option New Project.

Each option in the table has a related set of controls that appear on screen as you move through the options in the table. So, when New Project is selected in the table, its related controls appear in the dialogue. If you then select the Learn to Play option, the controls for New Project go away and the set of controls for Learn to Play appear in the dialogue, and so on for each option in the table.

This article focuses on the first option in the table (New Project) and the fifth option in the table (Project Templates). These two options are used to create music projects containing one or more tracks. For best results, you should have a working knowledge of VoiceOver commands.

To select an option from the Choose a Project table, interact with the table by pressing VO+Shift+Down Arrow (Shift+Control+Option+Down Arrow. Navigate through the table options using VO+Up and Down arrows (Control+Option+Up Arrow or Control+Option+Down Arrow). To leave the table, stop interacting with it using VO+Shift+Up Arrow (Shift+Control+Option+Up Arrow). After you stop interacting with the table, you can then use VO+Right and VO+Left Arrows to navigate through the controls related to the selected table option.

The New Project and Project templates options have an identical set of related controls. In GarageBand 10.3.4 this is how VoiceOver identifies them:

Choose a Project - text field describing the next control in the dialogue which is the Choose a Project table.
table, New Project, row 1 selected - This is how VoiceOver labels the Choose a Project table when row one, New Project, is selected.
Collection - another table, this one containing the available templates.
Create an empty project - This is a text field describing the selected template.
Details collapsed disclosure triangle - if collapsed, press VO+Spacebar to expand, thus revealing/showing the Details Group.
Details Group - contains project parameter such as tempo, key and time signatures, etc.
Open an existing Project… button - skips templates and shows existing projects.
Choose default button - activate to launch selected template. The word default indicates that this control can be activated by simply pressing the Enter key.

As you can see from the list of controls above, When you select the New Project option from the Choose a Project table and stop interacting with the table, the first press of VO+Right Arrow brings you to a control named Collection. Collection is a table containing available templates. In the case of the New Project option, the Collection table only contains a single template named Empty Project, which is selected by default. The second press of VO+Right Arrow brings you to a text field containing a brief description of the selected template. In the case of the Empty Project template, the description is "Create an empty project".

When you select the Project Templates option from the Choose a Project table and stop interacting with the table, the first press of VO+Right Arrow also brings you to a control named Collection. Collection is a table containing available templates. In the case of the Project Templates option, the Collection table contains six templates: Keyboard Collection, Amp Collection, Voice, Hip Hop, Electronic, and Songwriter. The second press of VO+Right Arrow brings you to a text field containing a brief description of the selected template. In the case of the Project Templates option, the Keyboard Collection template is selected by default in the Collection table. the description of the Keyboard Collection template is "A diverse collection of keyboards and synthesizers". To choose a different template, interact with the Collection table and use VO+Right Arrow or VO+Left Arrow to navigate between the available templates. Once you have selected the desired template, stop interacting with the Collection table. Notice that the contents of the text description field changes to reflect the selected template.

Power User Tip: Choose either New Project or Project Templates from the Choose a Project table and then simply press VO+J. This command will jump the VoiceOver cursor to the first template in the Collection table, eliminating the additional steps of stopping interacting with the Choose a Project table, VO+Right Arrowing to the Collection table, and interacting with the Collection table. Pressing VO+J again will jump the VoiceOver cursor back to its previous location in the Choose a Project table. VO+J does different things depending on where you are in GarageBand. I use this command frequently to navigate around in GarageBand. Experiment with it to learn what it can do for you elsewhere in GarageBand.

In the case of the New Project option, you don't need to interact with its Collection table because it only contains the Empty Project template which is selected by default. Therefore, if you are willing to use the default project parameters, you can navigate to the Choose button and activate it to launch the Empty Project template. Or you can simply press the Enter key because the Choose button is selected by default.

In the case of the Project Templates option, you don't need to interact with its Collection table if you want to use the default template, Keyboard Collection. Otherwise, interact with the Collection table and use VO+Right Arrow or VO+Left Arrow to choose a different template. Once you have made your choice, stop interacting with the Collection table. If you are willing to use the default project parameters, you can navigate to the Choose button and activate it to launch the Empty Project template. Or you can simply press the Enter key because the Choose button is selected by default.

What are project parameters?

Project parameters are controls for specifying project tempo, key signature, time signature, etc. Project parameters are accessed by interacting with the Details Group. To learn what the default project parameters are, interact with the Details Group to examine the values assigned to the various controls. After examining the default values or after making changes, stop interacting with the Details Group, VO+Right Arrow to the Choose button, and activate it. This will launch the selected template with either the default project parameters or with the project parameter changes you made. Different templates may have different default project parameters. For example, the default tempo for the Empty Project template is 120 BPM, while the default tempo for the Songwriter template is 96 BPM.

Note: Project parameters may be changed even after a template has been launched. This is done by interacting with the Control Bar Group found within the Control Bar Toolbar located at the top of the GarageBand main window. I have assigned a hot key to the Control Bar Group so that I can jump to it with a single keyboard command.

Caution: Changing project parameters after you have recorded tracks may have undesired consequences.

FYI, to view the current list of GarageBand Keyboard shortcuts, visit:

https://help.apple.com/garageband/mac/10.3/index.html?localePath=en.lpro...

I continue to offered the first four chapters of my unpublished GarageBand book for free. It was current as of GarageBand 10.1.6 so it is somewhat out of date. However, you may still find it helpful. You may request a copy by writing to me at GB4MacVO@icloud.com.

All Rights Reserved including Copyright

Bars & Beats vs. Hours & Minutes, and Time Display Modes

Understanding Bars & Beats vs. Hours & Minutes, and Time Display Modes

This is probably an intermediate to advanced topic. If you are new to GarageBand, you may benefit from reading it anyway.

In GarageBand 10.3.4, time can be displayed in terms of bars and Beats. This mode is the default and it is typical for music projects. Time may also be displayed in terms of hours and minutes. This is typical for movie and podcast production.

Before getting into the details, an analogy may be helpful. We are all familiar with sandwich baggies. There is the older style where we close the baggie using our fingers to press the seal from the left edge all the way to the right edge. To open the baggie, we use our fingers to pull the seal open. There is a newer style of baggie that has a plastic tab that we pull from the left edge all the way to the right edge to seal the baggie, and we pull the tab all the way to the left edge to unseal the baggie.

Expanding the analogy, we all know how to use a ruler or tape measure to measure the distance between two points. We place the left edge of the ruler at the first point and we look along the ruler to see where the second point is located on the ruler. We may determine that the distance between the two points is two and three-quarter inches. Now suppose that, like baggies with a plastic tab, the ruler was equipped with a little plastic tab that can be pulled along the top edge of the ruler. We line up the left edge of the ruler with the first of the two points to be measured. The tab is marked with a line or arrow. The tab is pulled along the top edge of the ruler until the arrow on the tab lines up with the second point. We can then look at the ruler to see where the second point lines up with the divisions and subdivisions on the ruler. Again, we may determine that the distance between the two points is two and three-quarter inches.

In the GarageBand main window, there is a ruler with a small graphical tab that moves along the top edge of the ruler that indicates the position in the project's time line. In GarageBand, music tracks are displayed horizontally from left to right across the screen. If there are multiple tracks, track one sits above track two, track two sits above track three, etc. The ruler, called the Time Ruler, sits Above track one. The Time Ruler is divided into divisions and subdivisions called bars and beats. Analogous to the plastic tab, the graphical tab that moves along the top edge of the Time Ruler is called the playhead. The graphical tab is in the shape of a triangle with one of its points pointing straight dow to the Time Ruler. Descending downward from the point of the triangle is a vertical line that crosses over the Time Ruler and continues down across the tracks below. It is kind of like a kite with its string hanging straight down. As the triangle moves along the top of the Time Ruler, the vertical line moves along with it. The triangle and its attached vertical line are called the playhead. The vertical line allows the sighted user to easily see the position of the playhead on the Time Ruler. Likewise, the vertical line makes it easier to identify the position of the playhead down in the tracks below the Time Ruler.

The playhead moves along the Time Ruler during playback or recording. The playhead can also be manually moved to an exact point on the Time Ruler to perform an edit or to start playback from that point. The sighted user can use a mouse to drag the playhead along the Time Ruler. In this article the VoiceOver user will learn how to accomplish the same task.

So, in the GarageBand main window, the time ruler sits above the project tracks. Above the time Ruler is a toolbar called the Control Bar Toolbar. The toolbar runs left to right across the entire screen and contains about twenty controls. GarageBand has a number of specialized editors that can be opened or closed using checkboxes on the toolbar. There are checkboxes for enabling or disabling various functions such as cycle mode, click track, and count-in. The toolbar also contains checkboxes to start/stop playback, start recording, jump the playhead to the beginning of the project, etc. Most important to the subject of this article is a group of controls in the middle of the toolbar called the Control Bar Group.

The control bar Group contains controls for tempo, key signature, and time signature. It also contains two controls related to the position of the playhead on the time Ruler and to how time is displayed. The first control is called the Playhead Position scrubber Group, and the second control is called the Display Mode pop up button.

Let's place a hot spot on the Control bar Group so that you can jump the VoiceOver cursor to the Control Bar Group with a single key command.
1. Press VO+I to open the Item Chooser.
2. Type "control" into the search box.
3. From the results list, choose Control Bar Group and press the Enter key.
4. The VoiceOver cursor should now be on the Control Bar Group. Press VO+Shift+0 to assign Hot Spot 0 to the Control Bar Group.
Tip: You need to use the 0 from the row of numbers on the top of the keyboard. The 0 on the NumPad will not work for this purpose. You can use any number from 0 through 9 as a hot spot assignment.
5. Now, pressing VO+0 will jump the VoiceOver cursor to the Control Bar Group.
6. Interact with the Control Bar Group by pressing VO+Shift+Down Arrow. The Control Bar Group contains the following controls along with there current values:

1 bar 1 beat Playhead Position scrubber group
120 Tempo slider
4/4 Time Signature pop up button
C major Key Signature pop up button
Beats & Project Display Mode pop up button

The Playhead Position scrubber Group performs two functions. First, it displays the position of the playhead on the time Ruler. Second, you can interact with the Playhead Position scrubber Group to change its values, thus moving the playhead to a new position. The Playhead Position Scrubber Group is accessible to VoiceOver.

Let's also put a Hot Spot on the Playhead Position Scrubber Group. Follow the procedure above but this time use the number 9 for the new hot spot. Now, pressing VO+9 will jump the VoiceOver to the Playhead Position Scrubber Group.
Tip: Pressing Control+ Option+Command+9 will cause VoiceOver to read the contents of the hot spot without moving the VoiceOver cursor to it. This will come in handy when you are somewhere else in GarageBand but want to know the playhead position.

When you interact with the Playhead Position Scrubber Group, you will find one slider control for changing the number of bars and another slider control for changing the number of beats. To change the number of bars, for example, interact with the Bar slider. VO+Left Arrow and VO+Right Arrow change the number of bars by ten. VO+Shift+Left Arrow and VO+Shift+Right Arrow change the number of bars by one.

Recall that the default in GarageBand is to display time in bars and beats. In this mode, the Time Ruler is divided into bars and bars are subdivided into beats. And, as you will learn later, beats are subdivided into divisions, and Divisions are subdivided into ticks.

How many bars are there in a project? This depends on the total length of your project. A shorter song may be fifty or sixty bars long, while a longer song may be more than one hundred bars long.

How many beats are there in a bar? This depends on the time signature. If the time signature is 4/4, there will be four beats per measure (bar) with each quarter note counted as a beat. If the time signature is 3/4, there will be three beats per measure (bar) with each quarter note counted as a beat.

How many divisions are there in a beat? This depends on the time signature as well. One division is always equal to one sixteenth note. So, for time signatures where the quarter note gets the beat (e.g., 3/4, 4/4) there are four sixteenth notes in one quarter note, hence, one beat equals four divisions.
For time signatures where the eighth note gets the beat (e.g., 5/8, 6/8) there are two sixteenth notes in one eighth note, hence, one beat equals two divisions.
For time signatures where the half note gets the beat (e.g., 2/2) there are eight sixteenth notes in one half note, hence, one beat equals eight divisions.

How many ticks are there in one division? There are 240 ticks in a division. Since one division always equals one sixteenth note, 240 ticks equals one sixteenth note.

Since one sixteenth note equals 240 ticks, doing the math:
120 ticks equal a thirty-second note
60ticks equal a sixty-fourth note
30 ticks equal a one hundred twenty-eighth note
And so on.

When the playhead is at the very beginning of the project, its position is 1 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick. Suppose we start playback. When the playhead reaches the beginning of bar two, the playhead position will be 2 bars, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick. When the playhead reaches the mid point of bar two, the playhead position will be 2 bars, 3 beats, 1 division, 1 tick. When the playhead reaches the mid point between beats three and four, the playhead position will be 2 Bars, 3 Beats, 3 divisions, 1 tick.
Note: the last two playhead positions assume that the time signature is 4/4.

Are your eyes glazing over yet? Are you thinking: What the heck, I don't want to know this stuff. All I want to do is make music. Fine.Just hit the record button, do your thing, and if you don't like the results, delete the take and start over. Repeat as necessary until you achieve the desired results. However, suppose that you have a nearly perfect take and if you could only fix that one little thing, the take would be great. GarageBand allows you to do this. But, to do precision editing, you need to understand how time is represented and how to position the playhead to precise locations in your project. Admittedly, thinking of time in terms of bars, beats, divisions, and ticks may seem a bit abstract. Well, it is, but it gets easier with familiarity.

How about watching a movie? Do you want to know that the halfway point in your movie is 2400 bars, 2 beats, 1 division, 168 ticks? Of course not. If your movie is ninety minutes long, it is far easier to say that the halfway point is at forty-five minutes. Fortunately, GarageBand provides a mode whereby time can be represented in terms of hours, minutes, seconds, and milliseconds. In this mode, one hours subdivided into sixty minutes. One minute is subdivided into sixty seconds. And One second is subdivided into one thousand milliseconds. Not only does this mode make more sense when working on movies, it also makes a great deal of sense for podcasting. Suppose that five minutes and twelve seconds into your podcast, you had a coughing fit that you want to remove. Hold on, stop, freeze! Did you notice how natural it was to think of the coughing fit starting at the five minute, twelve second point? And how long did the fit last? Ten bars, four beats, three divisions, 211 ticks? Get out of here! We would much rather know that the coughing fit lasted twenty-three seconds.

So now we arrive at the Display Mode pop up button. It can be set to one of four values: Beats & Project, Beats & Time, Beats, or Time. We will discuss all four modes.

Beats & Project
This is the default mode. When the display mode is set to Beats & Project, the Control Bar Group contains the following controls:
1 bar 1 beat Playhead Position scrubber group
120 Tempo slider
4/4 Time Signature pop up button
C major Key Signature pop up button
Beats & Project Display Mode pop up button
Note that in the Beats & Project mode, only bars and beats are displayed. Divisions and ticks are not shown.

When the display mode is set to Beats & Time the contents of the Control Bar Group changes. It now contains the following controls:
33 bars 1 beat Playhead Position scrubber group
1 minute 4 seconds Playhead Position scrubber group
Beats & Time Display Mode pop up button
Note that in the Beats & Time mode, there are two occurrences of the Playhead Position Scrubber group, one displaying bars and beats, and the other one displaying time in minutes and seconds. Note also that tempo, key signature, and time signature are not shown.

When the display mode is set to Beats, the Control Bar Group contains the following controls:
1 bar 1 beat 1 division 1 tick Playhead Position scrubber group
Beats Display Mode pop up button
Note that in this mode, divisions and ticks are now shown. Note also that tempo, key signature, and time signature are not shown.

When the display mode is set to Time, the Control Bar Group contains the following controls:
2 seconds 231 seconds fraction Playhead Position scrubber group
Time Display Mode pop up button
Note that a subdivision of seconds now appears called "seconds fraction". In the above example, there are 203 seconds fraction. This means that there are 203 milliseconds. I don't know why they didn't just use milliseconds as the label rather than the more confusing label of seconds fraction.

Note: With regard to the Playhead Position Scrubbers for time, a time of zero is not indicated. When time is zero, only the label of the control, "PlayheadPosition Scrubber Group" appears. But once the playhead has moved a few seconds along the time line, seconds will display. If the playhead moves past the one minute point on the time line, minutes and seconds will display. And, if the playhead moves past the one hour point on the time line, hours, minutes and seconds will display. You can see this for yourself by doing the following:
1. Choose Beats & Time from the Display Mode pop up menu.
2. Press the Enter key to jump the playhead to the beginning of the track if it isn't already there.
3. Press the Spacebar to begin playback.
This will work even if the track hasn't been recorded to yet.
4. Every few seconds, use Hot Spot 9 by pressing VO+Control+9. This will cause VoiceOver to read the Playhead Position.

Note: Only when Display Mode is set to Time, will seconds fraction (milliseconds) be displayed. In Beats & Time mode, hours, minutes, and seconds will be displayed but not seconds fraction (milliseconds).

When the display mode is set to Beats & Project, Beats & Time, or Beats, the Period key moves the playhead forward one bar at a time and the Comma key moves the playhead back one bar at a time. However, when the display mode is set to Time, the Period and Comma keys move the playhead a specific number of seconds with each key press rather than one bar with each key press. So, even though tempo is not shown when the display mode is set to Time, tempo still has an effect on how many seconds a single key press of the Period and Comma keys move the playhead. You can see this for yourself by doing the following:
1. Set the display mode to Beats & Project to show the tempo control.
2. Set tempo to 60BPM.
3. Reset the display mode to Time.
4. Press the Period and Comma keys to hear how many seconds each key stroke moves the playhead.
When tempo is set to 60 BPM, the Period and Comma keys move the playhead four seconds with each key press.
When tempo is set to 120 BPM, the Period and Comma keys move the playhead two seconds with each key press.
When tempo is set to 240 BPM, the Period and Comma keys move the playhead one second with each key press.

Let's summarize what we know about the GarageBand main window. Running across the top of the window is the Control Bar Toolbar which contains about twenty controls. In the center of the Control Bar Toolbar is a group of controls called the Control Bar Group. Below the Control Bar Toolbar is the Time Ruler. Recall that, like a wooden ruler or tape measure, the Time Ruler shows various divisions and subdivisions of time.
Note: When the display mode is set to Time, the Time Ruler is divided into hours, minutes, and seconds instead of bars and beats.
The playhead is a graphical object that moves along the top edge of the Time Ruler. Actually, the playhead is a small triangle with one of its points pointing straight down. A vertical line extends downward from this point across the Time Ruler and continues down across all visible tracks in the project. The Triangle and the line move together along the Time Ruler. So, the playhead consists of the triangle and its vertical line. At the top of the window then is the Control Bar Toolbar. Below it is the Time Ruler with its playhead. And below the Time Ruler are one or more tracks. I realize that you don't really need to know all this if you are blind, but if you are like me, you may find it helpful to have some concept of what is happening on the screen.

We have discussed the effects of display modes on various controls in the Control Bar Group. Display modes have an effect on another set of controls in the GarageBand main window. Instead of being located on the Control Bar Toolbar, these other controls are located on the Time Ruler. Let's navigate to that other set of controls. In other words, let's navigate to the Time Ruler.
1. Stop interacting with the Control Bar Group.
2. Stop interacting with the Control Bar Toolbar.
3. VO+Right Arrow to the Tracks Group and interact with it.
4. VO+Right Arrow to the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line.
Note: As an alternative to steps one through four, you could press VO+I to open the Item Chooser and type the word "ruler". Choose the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line from the results list and press the Enter key. The VoiceOver cursor should now be on the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line.
5. Interact with the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line.

The Tracks Time Ruler Time Line contains the following controls along with their current values:
off cycle region layout item - VoiceOver tells us that cycle mode is off.
1 bar 1 beat 1 division 1 tick Playhead thumb value indicator - VoiceOver tells us the playhead position.
6.8% zoom slider - VoiceOver tells us that the zoom slider is set to 6.8 %.
32. bars End Marker value indicator - VoiceOver tells us that the end marker is set to 32 bars.

Notice the control on the Time Ruler that shows the position of the playhead, namely, The Playhead Thumb Value Indicator. I have no idea what thumb value means but this is what the control is called. This control is actually the playhead itself.

Note: A sighted user can put the mouse pointer on the playhead and drag it along the Time Ruler. The VoiceOver user can do this as well. Using the Mac OS Mouse Keys function, it is possible for the VoiceOver user to drag the playhead. But that is a topic that I won't discuss in this article. It is really an academic issue because it is actually far easier for the VoiceOver user to simply interact with the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator to adjust the position of the playhead.

Recall that in the Control Bar Group, the control that shows playhead position is called the Playhead Position Scrubber Group, while in the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line, the control is called the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator. Both controls show the position of the playhead. The difference is that the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator always shows the full playhead position in terms of bars, beats, divisions, and ticks. Recall that in the Control Bar Group, the Playhead Position Scrubber Group only shows bars and beats when the display mode is set to Beats & Project or Beats & Time. It is only when the display mode is set to Beats, that divisions and ticks are also shown in the Playhead Position Scrubber Group. But, the display mode affects the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator. When the display mode is set to Time, The Playhead Thumb Value Indicator will show hours, minutes, seconds, and seconds fractions (milliseconds).

So, the advantage of the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator is that it will always show the full playhead position in terms of bars, beats, divisions, and ticks, or hours, minutes, seconds, and seconds fraction (milliseconds) depending on the display mode. But, the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator has a significant disadvantage. This has to do with how hot spots work in GarageBand.

In earlier versions of GarageBand, hot spots depended on a control to remain in the exact spot on the screen exactly where it was when the hot spot was created. If the control got shifted over a number of pixels, the hot spot would stop working. The fact is, controls get shifted all the time. While the tracks area usually remains on screen, various editors may be opened and closed as needed. Some of these windows open to the left, to the right or underneath the tracks area. For example, Library opens up as a narrow vertical window on the left of the GarageBand main window. When the Library opens, the tracks area is shifted to the right to accommodate it. When the Library is closed, the tracks area shifts back to the left. So, if a hot spot was placed on the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator when the Library was closed, it would stop working when the Library was open, because the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator had been shifted to the right along with the entire tracks area. I am quite sure that many VoiceOver users have been frustrated with hot spots because they worked one minute but not the next. Now you know why.

In contrast, the Control Bar Toolbar never gets shifted by opening and closing editors. Therefore, hot spots anywhere on the Control Bar Toolbar always work. This makes the Playhead Position Scrubber Group the more reliable control for querying the playhead position or changing its values. Once a project's tempo, key signature, and time signature have been set, they typically don't change. This means that the display mode can be changed to either beats or Time to show the full playhead position. The display mode setting gets saved with the project just like tempo, key signature, and time signature settings.

Now, after giving you all this historical background, I have noticed that in GarageBand 10.3.4, hot spots now seem better able to follow the control even if it gets shifted on the screen. While the situation has improved, hot spots still fail once in a while. So, if you choose to put a hot spot on the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator, or on any other control in the tracks area, be aware that it may fail once in a while. In this case, just reassign the hot spot and keep going. It would be nice if hot spots could be saved with projects like tempo or display mode, but hot spots are part of VoiceOver and they are not saved to individual projects.

Display mode affects other controls in the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line. Let's now look at the cycle region layout item. GarageBand provides a function (cycle mode) whereby a section of a song can be made to loop over and over. The section that loops is called the cycle region. The default cycle region for most templates is bar one through bar four . The entire four bar cycle region can be moved anywhere on the Time Line. Furthermore, the left and right edges can be extended to lengthen the cycle region in either direction. Or, the cycle region can be shortened to make it shorter than the default four bars. Cycle Mode can be toggled on/off by pressing the letter C on your keyboard from almost anywhere in GarageBand. It can also be toggled on/off by pressing VO+Spacebar when the VoiceOver cursor is on the cycle region layout item. When cycle mode is on, you can interact with the cycle region layout item to move the left and right edges of the cycle region to lengthen or shorten it. The left edge is called the Left Locator handle and the right edge is called the Right Locator handle. The left edge cannot be moved if it is already at bar one. Interact with either locator handle and use VO+Left Arrow or VO+Right Arrow to move the handles one bar at a time.
The entire cycle region can be moved by pressing Command+Shift+Period or Command+Shift+Comma. For example, if the cycle region is bars one through four, pressing Command+Shift+Period will move the cycle region to bars five through eight. If the cycle region is bars eleven through twenty, pressing VO+Shift+Period will move the cycle region to bars twenty-one through thirty. Command+Shift+Comma moves the cycle region to the left.

When display mode is set to Time, the locator handles move by seconds rather than by bars. When tempo is set to 240 BPM, the locator handles move by one second. When tempo is 120 BPM, the locator handles move by two seconds. When tempo is set to 60 BPM, the locator handles move by four seconds, and so on.

A third control in the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line is affected by the display mode setting, namely, End Marker value indicator. When you first create a new project, you can press the Spacebar to begin playback. The playhead will start moving even if no track has been recorded. The playhead moves along the Time Ruler until it reaches the end marker. When the end marker is reached, playback stops. Most templates set the end marker at bar thirty-two. You can test this by creating a new project using either the Hip Hop, Electronic, or Songwriter templates. These templates all include a drummer track that is eight bars long.
1. Press the Enter key to jump the playhead to the beginning of the project.
2. Press Spacebar to begin playback.
3. You will hear the drums for eight bars. When the playhead passes bar nine, the drums will no longer be heard but the playhead will keep on moving until it reaches the end marker.
4. If you press the Enter key before the playhead has reached the end marker, the playhead will jump to the beginning of the project and automatically resume playback. So, when you hear the drums stop, press the Enter key and the playhead will jump to the beginning and start playing the drums again. When the playhead reaches the end marker and has stopped, pressing the Enter key will jump the playhead to the beginning but playback will not resume automatically. In this case, press the Spacebar to resume playback. The end marker can be moved anywhere on the Time Ruler. The playhead only stops at the end marker during playback. When recording, when the playhead reaches the end marker, the end marker gets pushed along the time line a few bars ahead of the playhead. When recording stops, the end marker remains in the new location. After recording, you may want to manually reposition the end marker. When display mode is set to Time, the end marker Value will be displayed in hours, minutes, and seconds rather than in bars.

FYI, to view the current list of GarageBand Keyboard shortcuts, visit:

https://help.apple.com/garageband/mac/10.3/index.html?localePath=en.lpro...

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