A Capella With Yourself Tutorial

Here’s a bit of a Garageband tutorial for the “A Capella With Yourself” audio assignment (if you’re still interested in audio that is!)

Step 1: Write a song, OR pick a song that you like.
Tip: When you’re picking your song, make sure it’s within your vocal range so you dont sound like a shrieking cat or a deep throated whale.

Step 2. Listen to the song over and over again
Each time you listen to the song, you should be listening for the beat, the lead singer, the background singer(s), and if possible, the music key. This can be very tricky if you don’t have a musical ear….but here’s a page that could possibly help you called Song Key Finder which tells you what key the song is in and what scale it is (you might find your song on this site under “Popular Songs”.) Once you have the song key, you can sing ANY note within that scale in your a capella and it would sound good.

Step 3. Open Garageband and Create Tracks

When you open Garageband, create 3 tracks (or however many “people” you’re singing with) by going to Track–>New Track. What this does is give you the chance to overlay each voice’s part.

Create Track photo Picture5_zps765f4acc.png

Step 4. Start Recording in Parts

On one of the tracks, click the red circle button at the bottom of the screen to start recording. The first track should be the lead singer’s part, singing the main theme of the song (this is the part of the song you’re used to and probably sing in the shower.) When you’re done, press the spacebar to stop recording. It should now look like this:

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The next track should either be the backup vocals or the beat. In the image, I started with the backup vocals since I wanted to get all of the vocals out of the way. I dont really know how to explain singing a backup chorus other than taking a guess with the notes and hoping they sound good. After a few recordings, they’ll eventually sound nice. (or that’s just my luck.)

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Lastly you should make the beat of the song. This can be done by snapping, clapping, or beatboxing (making “tss-tss-tss-tss” sounds). The point is to sound like some sort of percussion instrument to keep the song on track. If you cant find the beat of the song, try counting 1-2-3-4 OR 1-2-3 and see which one fits. (Most songs are in 4/4 so its 1-2-3-4)

Beats photo Picture8_zpsb3fe83d3.png

Step 4.5: Put some attitude and emotion into it!
No one likes a flat sounding song! Add some color to it to keep it interesting!

Step 5: Make Sure all the Sounds Align

Now that the hard part is over, all you have to do is make sure all of the beats and vocals line up to form the song. You can move each recording to fix it up if something sounds off.

Step 6 (optional): Add Effects

How would you like your singing group to be on stage in a concert hall? To make this sound effect, look to the right side of the screen and look under vocals to find the “Epic Diva” effect. This effect produces an echo and something called a reverb (not the repitition of an echo, but an open sound.)

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After clicking this for each track, under the Epic Diva options turn off the Chorus and Track echo buttons by clicking the blue light. Also go to the bottom and turn the scroller on the Master Reverb to about 44%. This is the concert hall effect.

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Step 7: Save it

To save the project, head up to the Garageband toolbar and select Share–>Export Song to Disk. This turns your glorious song into an mp3 able to be shared with everyone.

Aaaand you’re DONE!! Listen to yourself, yourself, and yourself now! You all are ready to have your own world tours!

The Family Dinner (Multipersonality Assignment ****)

Hooooo boy, this was a fun one!! I’ve heard of arguing with yourself, but this is ridiculous. This was made for the Multipersonality audio assignment. I made this by using multiple tracks in Garageband and by coming up with voices that suited the sort of “average family” trope where the snobby child refuses to eat his veggies, the mom gets upset, and the father could care less what’s going on. I’ve seriously been watching waaayy too many cartoons. Anyone else think I sound like Louis Griffon from Family Guy?

This scenario reminded me of what my family went through when I was younger; my little brother was the stubborn one who wouldnt eat his greens, and me and him would cause mischief at the table. We’d end up getting sent to our rooms afterward…Good times!

A Capella With Yourself! (Audio Assignment ***)

This is my 17 second cover of the song “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down. The people singing are, Me and Me, and on the beatbox we have the glorious Me!


I created this in Garageband in about 35min (it took so long because I was trying to sing in tune with myself. Honestly! The other me is always out of tune!) This was made for the Audio Assignment called “A Capella With Yourself” where you had to create at least 3 audio tracks,record with 3 different voices, and mash them up to make it sound like you’re singing with yourself.

My Process:

1. Think of a song to sing
2. Split the song into harmonization and beat by listening to the original song over and over
3. Record the main melody
4. Record the harmonization to the main melody
5. Make sure the 2 vocal tracks sync up the right way
6.Record the beat (consisting of a snare drum and high hat)
7.Mix the 3 tracks together and hope for the best!

Picture 1

The main challenges with this was, as I said, staying in tune with myself, so I dont sound icky, and singling out the harmonization pattern in the song. Once I found out what notes they were (or at least what key the song is in), it became easier to mix the 2 vocals together. Oh! in the image there are 4 tracks instead of 3. This was so the 1st half of the harmonized track could overlap the 2nd half of the track, so that the 2nd half could come in a beat early. So the middle 2 tracks are the same voice, just split apart.

Hay preguntas, alguien?

(New) 5 Sound Story: Learning to Play an Instrument

Okay, I have a new 5 sound story, only this time it was done just now and not a few months ago. Also this one only has 7 sounds as opposed to the other one with 19 sounds. Oh well, it’s still fun creating these!

This sound story is about me in the 4th grade attempting to learn how to play an instrument. My dad introduced me to 3 instruments: the piano, the flute, and the clarinet. Despite me practicing for hours every day, I still seemed to be getting nowhere! This was insanely frustrating for me, and I tended to take my anger out on the instrument itself. Turns out all I needed was more practice, because I eventually got the hang of the flute after 2 months of torture. Plus my dad was sick of paying for the damages on the other 2 instruments… I’ve recently picked up the clarinet and piano again to give them another shot!


Sounds Borrowed:




Sound Story: Just an Average Day for a UMW Student

The assignment was to create an audio story using at least 5 sounds in 60 seconds or less. I ended up using 19 sounds to create my story. The story is called “Just an Average Day for a College Student,” and it uses these sounds to not only create a story, but to also create a song. It’s a bit different, but check it out anyway!

Whew! Alot of sounds right? Well you may be surprised that UMW students hear these sounds every day! The sounds I used to create this are listed below in order of appearance:
1.Pen tapping (bored in the first class of the day)
2.Clock Ticking(watching the clock)
3.Elevator Ding
4.Paper towel dispenser/ Ripping paper towel
5.Pushing button on water fountain
6.Walking up stairs
7.Elevator Beeping
8.Flicking a desk lamp on and off
9.Birds chirping outside in front of a stop sign (representing a break from the busy day)
10. Setting a textbook on a desk
11. Closing mailbox
12. Spoon hitting glass of tea
13. Flushing toilet
14. Straw going in and out of a cup
15. Facebook message alert
16. Hitting number on a snack machine
17. Turning pages
18. Walking down a hallway
19. Locking door to room (the day is over)

The actions that produce the rhythms within the song are repetitive because they represent how an average student would perform these tasks throughout the day (like using and elevator, or flushing a toilet.) I actually created this about a year ago for a UMW video contest. The video was originally entitled “A Great Mind Creates Music” and it showed how if one stops to listen to the actions around them, they begin to realize how the world is a huge symphony of sounds and melodies. This idea may seem far fetched, but being an auditory person and a musician, I always take time to stop and listen.


Original video: