GarageBand 2.0 Tip: Using ‘Musical Typing’ for sustain pedal

Posted by Pierre Igot in: GarageBand, Music
July 26th, 2005 • 10:56 am

If, like me, you use a USB keyboard controller (I have the M-Audio Keystation 49e) to play music with GarageBand, but don’t have a sustain pedal to add the “Sustain” effect to your playing, you might think that the only way to add sustain to your notes is to use the “Advanced” pane of the loop editor, where you can add a variety of effects (pitch bend, modulation, etc.), including sustain, by adding anchor points on the time line for the sections where you want the effect to be applied.

However, this is not exactly convenient in terms of real-time keyboard playing. You can, of course, get a sustain pedal, but you can also “cheat” by using GarageBand 2.0’s built-in “Musical Typing” feature, which changes your regular Mac keyboard into a keyboard for playing notes.

One of the features of this “Musical Typing” keyboard is that it includes a key for the sustain pedal, which is the Tab key. In other words, while the “Musical Typing” keyboard is visible, even if you are playing your notes on your real USB keyboard controller rather than your Mac keyboard, you can still use the Tab key on your Mac keyboards to add a sustain effect to your notes.

The only drawback is that this only works when the “Musical Typing” window is visible. And, unfortunately, when this window is visible, a number of convenient keyboard shortcuts no longer work. For example, you can no longer use the “R” key to start recording.

In other words, it’s far from a perfect solution. But it gives you at least something that works like a sustain pedal, without having to get one.

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