How to Change Pitch in GarageBand

You can change pitch in GarageBand by using the Pitch Shifter or Vocal Transformation plugin in the macOS version of the app. You can also use several tools in the iOS version to achieve the same effect. 

I’m Donovan, and I love to write, record and produce music. I have a lot of experience using GarageBand and am familiar with the tools and features of the app that let you change pitch.

This post will show you how to change pitch in GarageBand. I’ll walk you through the steps to do this on your Mac or iPhone and provide you with some information about when and why to use these features. 

Let’s get started. 

Key Takeaways

  • Changing the pitch of a track in GarageBand can be helpful when things aren’t quite in tune, but the track’s feel is good. 
  • The process of changing pitch is slightly different on the Mac and iOS versions of GarageBand. 
  • Try not to rely on the pitch-changing features of the app too heavily for better recordings in the long run. 

How to Change Pitch in GarageBand Mac

Changing pitch in GarageBand on your Mac is a helpful tool when you need to tweak a vocal part to make it more on tune. Rather than recording an entirely new take, you can adjust the pitch to make it sound better with the rest of the track. 

Follow these steps to change pitch in GarageBand on your Mac:

1. Open the GarageBand app. 

2. Open the project with the track you want to change the pitch of. 

3. Click on the track you want to work with. This will highlight the entire track and waveform. 

4. Click the Smart Controls button on the upper left part of the main window. This will pull up the controls of the track where you can make the desired adjustments. 

5. Click on the Track button in the Smart Controls window. 

6. Click on an empty slot in the Plug-Ins section of the Smart Controls window. 

7. Select Pitch from the available list options. 

8. Now, you can add Pitch Shifter as a plugin to your track by selecting it.

(Screenshot taken in Garageband on my Mac)

9. Once you select the Pitch Shifter, another window will pop up, giving you all the available pitch shifting options. You can tweak the track heavily or make a pitch shift of a half step or more. You can also adjust how much of this sits in the mix.  

10. You can also use the Vocal Transformer plugin to change the pitch. Follow steps 1 through 7 mentioned above, but then select Vocal Transformer instead of Pitch Shifter from the list window. 

The Vocal Transformer will give you added control over the pitch of a track. You can use both the Pitch Shifter and Vocal Transformer on the same track if you want to. 

Quick Note: Play around with the levels of these plugins in the mix. The goal is usually to disguise that you’ve used them in the track. If you have them prominent in your mix, the vocal will sound autotuned. 

How to Change Pitch in GarageBand iPhone

Changing the pitch in GarageBand on your iPhone is also really easy, but it’s a different process than how you do it in the macOS version. Follow the steps below to make it happen. 

1. Open the GarageBand app on your iPhone. 

2. Open the project with the track you want to change the pitch on. 

3. Tap the track you want to work with from the main recording window.

4. Tap the Controls button to open up track controls. This button is just to the left of the FX button and looks like sliders on a mixer.  

5. Tap the Microphone symbol in the upper left area of the window.

6. Tap the PLUG-INS & EQ tab from the track setting window on the left of the screen. 

7. Tap the ENHANCE TUNING button. 

8. You will also see a Pitch Control knob in the microphone view on the right side of the screen. You can adjust this knob to change the pitch of the vocal track selected. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my iPhone)

Quick Note: The pitch-changing features in GarageBand iOS are not as precise as those in the macOS version. You can’t change the exact interval and other parameters here, but you still have control over the pitch to some degree. 

How to Change Pitch and Tempo in GarageBand 

If you want extra control over your recordings, you might want to change the pitch and the tempo of a specific track in your project. I already covered how to change the pitch in a track, but the steps below will allow you to change the tempo on the same track. 

1. With your track selected that you want to change the tempo of, move your cursor over the Track heading from the main menu. 

2. Select Show Tempo Track. This will show you an automation line in the form of a new track directly above the track you want to adjust. 

3. You can move the slider up or down to change the tempo of the entire track to be faster or slower, depending on what you want to do with the track. 

You can also set different points on the automation line to adjust the tempo in different spots of the track. 

Quick Tip: I always prefer to get the track recorded in the tempo that feels best rather than adjust it after the fact. I feel like this feature distorts the audio too much to be worth doing. But it has a place if you need a quick adjustment for whatever reason.    

Can You Manually Pitch Correct in GarageBand?

You can kind of manually pitch correct in GarageBand on your Mac, but you can’t really do that on the iOS version of the app. 

It’s possible to manually raise or lower the pitch by decided intervals in GarageBand for your Mac. You can do this through the steps mentioned above using the Pitch Shifter or Vocal Transformer plugins. 

This will adjust the pitch on the entire track. You can’t manually adjust the pitch on a note-by-note basis within the app. You’ll need to use a different DAW to achieve this and have the editing skills to make it happen. 

The pitch correction feature in GarageBand for iOS is even less precise than the macOS version. That’s why I say you can’t manually pitch correct on your iPhone within the app. 

If you are at the point with your editing and mixing skills where you feel the need to manually pitch correct often, you should probably upgrade to more advanced audio recording software. 

Final Thoughts

You can change the pitch in GarageBand on selected tracks either on your Mac or iPhone. The Mac version of the app gives you a bit more control over the pitch, and you can choose the intervals and other parameters you need to adjust. 

The iOS version of GarageBand doesn’t have as precise pitch-changing features, but you can still accomplish this task by using the steps outlined above. 

Have you ever changed the pitch in a song you created in GarageBand? Why did you want to do this, and did the pitch change work out? Let me know in the comments below.

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