How to Insert Silence Into a GarageBand Track
By Jason Savage
Updated September 22, 2017
GarageBand is a consumer-level audio and MIDI recorder and editor that comes with Apple's OS X operating system. While fairly comprehensive, GarageBand lacks a number of tools and options found in more advanced digital audio workstation (DAW) applications such as Apple's Logic. For example, an "Insert Silence" command -- common to most professional-level audio applications and waveform editors -- is not available in GarageBand. However, the same effect can be achieved by using GarageBand's track automation functions.
Open GarageBand. Choose the project containing the track into which you want to insert silence from the project selection dialogue that appears. GarageBand will load and display the project.
Locate and click on the track header for the track into which you want to insert silence. This will highlight the track. Click on the disclosure arrow in the lower right corner of the track header. The track's automation track will appear immediately below the track.
Open the drop-down menu in the automation track and choose "Track Volume." Click on the rectangular button to the left of the drop-down menu to turn automation on.
Locate the section of the track into which the silence will be inserted. Zoom in using the slider on the lower left of the arrangement area if necessary.
Click on the line running through the middle of the automation track to create a "control point" directly below the point where the silence will begin. The line represents the volume of the track through time. By default it is set at 0db across the entire track, but can be raised or lowered at any point in the track by raising or lowering control points. You can create as many control points as you need.
Create a second control point directly below the point where the silence will end. You will now have two control points encompassing the section you want to silence. Click on the line two more times between the first two for a total of four control points. It doesn't matter where they fall between the first and second. For convenience, think of the four control points, from left to right, as A, B, C and D.
Click-hold control point B and drag it to the bottom of the automation track. Do the same with control point C. Control points A and D should remain at 0db.
Click-hold and drag control point B to the left, as close to control point A as possible while keeping B at the bottom of the automation track. Do the same with control point C, but drag it to the right as close to control point D as possible. You will now have a right-angled trough in the volume automation line. As the track plays, the audio or MIDI information corresponding to this trough will be completely silenced.
Jason Savage has been a freelance writer since 2005. He has authored technical and procedural documents for a variety of clients, while his journalism and fiction have appeared in "Monday Magazine," "The Pedestal" and other publications. Savage holds B.A. in English and a B.F.A. in music.