Editing, Timing & Pitch

This is the WEIRDEST GarageBand Glitch

Written By : Andrew Siemon

One of the most annoying things about GarageBand that I’ve noticed over the years is the way the Pitch Bend “On/Off” button down in the smart controls doesn’t seem to work. I’m referring to the power switch underneath the word “Controller.”

What do I mean by this? Here’s what I’m talking about:

The Useless ON/OFF button for Pitch Bending
It doesn’t matter whether this button is enabled or not. If it’s off, the pitch bend line in the piano roll will still function as if it were turned on.
This is the WEIRDEST Garageband Glitch

This has posed a problem for me many times. It’s not uncommon for me to use the pitch bend feature when I’m making 808 and bass patterns.

I think pitch bends sound great for building bass lines, particularly in hip-hop.

However, I’ve had to delete patterns before because I couldn’t figure out why pitch bend adjustments I had made earlier continued to be audible, despite turning off the feature.

Inactive Pitch Bend in GarageBand
This is how a typical pitch bend looks like in the piano roll of the smart controls. Despite being “grey” and supposedly disabled, it is still affecting the sound by 2 full tones.
Enabled Pitch Bends in GarageBand .jpg
The Controller for the pitch bend is turned on here.

What’s interesting about this though is the fact that this isn’t the case for other parameters. For instance, if you try this same thing with panning, disabling or enabling the button will have an effect on whether it works or not.

Panning Automation Disabled in GarageBand
As you can see here, the panning automation button does seem to function the way that it should. If it’s disabled, the panning automation won’t work.

And the same thing goes for pretty much any other effect that you’ve set up in the piano roll. If you try it with velocity, the power button controller will work as you’d expect.

The thing about this is I’m unsure whether this is a glitch or an error in GarageBand’s programming, or if it’s intentional. I don’t see why they would make it this way on purpose, because it’s inconvenient and inefficient.

Pitch Bend Set to Zero (0) Elsewhere (GarageBand)
In some cases, I also find the pitch bend will automatically go to “1” (one) so you’ll have to pull it exactly to zero instead.

It’s annoying because if you’ve set up pitch bends elsewhere on the region and you don’t want them to be inaudible, it won’t matter. The pitch bends still be there.

Moreover, I find that the pitch bend will also need to be pulled down to zero “0” in other locations.

So if you’ve ever used the pitch bend automation before and found yourself wondering why your MIDI is off-key in certain sections, this is probably the culprit.

Make sure you’ve set the Pitch Bend line to “0” so it doesn’t ruin your project, regardless of whether it’s enabled or disabled.

What do you think of this? Is there something I’m missing? Let me know what you think about this in the comment section below.

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Andrew Siemon is the principal creator of ProducerSociety.com, a website dedicated to all things music, including music production, music theory, recording, and how to use the most popular DAWs. Starting out as a metal guitarist, Andrew has since moved into other areas of music production including hip-hop and fusion

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