Apple Updates GarageBand With Chinese Sounds & Instruments

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Apple today announced an update to GarageBand, targeting the huge Chinese market with new instruments, sounds and loop content inspired by the music history of China.

The update adds traditional Chinese instruments — the pipa, erhu and Chinese percussion — along with 300 Chinese musical loops.

GarageBand for iOS users also get two new Chinese templates for Live Loops, and new sharing options to popular Chinese social networks.

GarageBand Updates For Chinese Music

The pipa, erhu and Chinese percussion instruments in GarageBand can be played on iPhone or iPad using Multi-Touch, and on Mac through the built-in Musical Typing feature or by connecting a third-party USB music keyboard.

Each instrument includes different playing articulations, including rapid picking and note bend for pipa, and trill, grace note and glissando for erhu, making it incredibly easy for a novice to create a realistic and expressive performance.

iPhone users can also use 3D Touch with the erhu and pipa to dynamically control vibrato and intensity, and both the pipa and erhu include Autoplay, letting users tap on any chord and get a complete, rich performance. Users can also play a collection of Chinese percussion instruments including drums, wood blocks, cymbals and gongs.

This update adds 300 Apple-created loops from a variety of instruments and styles, including guzheng, dizi, yangqin and Peking Opera, to the library of Chinese musical content in the app. These loops can be mixed and matched with Chinese instruments in GarageBand to create traditional music or entirely new styles.

GarageBand for iOS also supports Live Loops, a way to create music by tapping cells and columns in a visual grid to trigger looped instruments and samples. Live Loops in this update adds two new Chinese Live Loops grid templates, one traditional and one modern, showcasing a variety of Chinese instruments and percussion.

Chinese localization is also significantly enhanced across the entire app, with all sounds, loops and instruments now translated to Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese.

Here’s a video demo, featuring Singaporean pop artist JJ Lin & Tim Cook:

Pricing & Availability

GarageBand 2.1.1 for iOS and GarageBand 10.1.2 for Mac are free updates for all existing users, and GarageBand is available for free with all new iOS and Mac devices.

Users in Greater China will see these new features by default on iOS and OS X after updating. Outside of Greater China, these new features are visible by default on OS X and can be enabled on iOS devices in the advanced settings menu.

8 thoughts on “Apple Updates GarageBand With Chinese Sounds & Instruments

  1. A welcome addition to a great product. My Music Appreciation students at the University of Colorado Denver (all non-music majors) are required to compose a piece of music for their final project. Most of them are grateful for Garageband.

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  2. Stupid question…how do I access the new instruments and loops in iOS? Or are they only accessible in the Chinese market version of GB?

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    1. In Garageband Touch go to Settings->Song->Advanced->Chinese Instruments. Switch on to show the Chinese instruments, new Apple Loops and Live Loop templates.

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  3. In China right now for the past few months and this update is probably the only reason I’d ever have to use garageband. Guqin is so pretty but so expensive T_T

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