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Q. How long can a GarageBand project be?
[Related Entries : ExportExactLength , FileSizeDoesntChange , RecordLineIn , RecordUsingAudioInterface ]


A. It depends. In versions 1 and 2 of GarageBand a song can be 998 measures long, in GB3 a song can be 1998 measures long, and in GarageBand '08 (And Later) it can be 9,998 (these are hard limits and can not, at this time, be extended with any type of workaround), how long that translates to in time depends upon the tempo of the song (more beats per minute uses up those measures faster) and Time Signature (only in GB 1 & 2).

Examples (in hours:minutes:seconds):

For GB1 For GB2

For GB3

iLife '08 GB09 iLife '11

GB08 does seem to get a little confused at around the 13:31:30 mark, the time markers vanish from the beat ruler.

(Note, anyone trusting a priceless recording opportunity to a single multi-hour session is out of their mind, and destined to be disappointed when something goes wrong. Record in smaller sessions, you will be glad you did when something goes wrong during one of them ... and something eventually will. You'll still have the rest of session [Murphy was an optimist!])


GarageBand 2 & 3 can be set down to a minimum tempo of 40BPM. However, with an AppleScript, can be set all the way down to 1BPM for a record length of well over 99 hours in GB 2. I’ve done it, but haven’t fully tested it, and have not tried it at all with GB3.

For all the nut jobs that want to see if GarageBand can handle a 99 hour recording, I present the thoroughly untested "GarageBand Tempo 1"

This is a tiny AppleScript application that will set your current GarageBand song to a tempo of 1 (GB will still display it as 40, but it will play as 1)

If anyone wants to play with it, be smart and don't use it on some prized song. It works, but I haven't tested it to see if there are any side affects, just tested it to see if it worked.

To reach 99 hours in GB 2 you need to set the time signature to 12/8 (and of course run this app).

Touching the tempo popUp appears to reset the project back to 40BPM, but again, I haven't looked for side affects.

As a Final Comment, this file has been available, and used, for several years and no one has posted about a problem, so thus far it looks like it works fine. YMMV, backups are your friend, and it has not been tested in GB08 or later!
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GarageBand from Apple Computer uses audio loops and MIDI loops in Apple Loops format. It can work with Audio Units plug-ins. Apple Macintosh Compatible FireWire and USB interfaces can be used to connect Audio and MIDI instruments to your Mac, and be recorded into GarageBand.

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