GarageBand 2 Tip: What to do when you’ve accidentally recorded over an existing track

Posted by Pierre Igot in: GarageBand, Music
July 2nd, 2005 • 11:45 pm

It happens to me from time to time, so I am going to assume that it also happens to other people… The situation is that you are working on a GarageBand project with multiple tracks, and two of the tracks are using the same software instrument (a generic piano sound or drum kit, for example). You also have software notes recorded for one of the tracks, and you want to “add” to the track by recording additional notes in the second track with the same instrument.

So you start playing your project and, when the time comes, you hit the R key to start recording and you play the new part you want to add. Once you’re done, you press the Space bar to stop everything.

The trouble is that you now realize that, instead of recording the notes on the new track, you’ve recorded them over the existing track, and this has caused GarageBand to erase the precious existing notes that you had recorded earlier. This happened because you did not pay enough attention to which of the two tracks with the same software instrument was selected at the time you started recording. Since the software instrument on the two tracks sounds exactly the same, you cannot tell which track is selected by listening to what you are playing. You have to look at the tracks on the screen. And, well, when you are focusing on playing a part just right, you don’t always look before hitting command-R.

What to do then? If you press command-Z now, GarageBand will undo the last recording and restore the existing track, but then you’ll lose the new notes you’ve just recorded, right?

Not necessarily. When you need to do here is to press command-C before you press command-Z. Command-C will copy the new notes you’ve just recorded to the Clipboard. But command-C is not part of the undo loop. This means that if you undo things after that by pressing command-Z, the command-C command (Copy) will not be undone and your Clipboard will still contain the newly recorded notes.

Once you’ve pressed command-Z, just select the other track (the one that doesn’t have any notes in it yet), place the playhead exactly when you want to insert the new notes and press command-V. Et voilà! Your existing track is preserved, and your new recording is there too. Press command-S now!

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