Get started with software instrument tracks

If you have a USB or MIDI keyboard (or another type of MIDI controller) connected to your computer, you can play and record software instruments. Logic Pro features a complete library of professional-quality software instruments, including synthesizers and other keyboards, guitars, drums, world instruments, and more.

A patch contains the instrument, effects, and routing settings that control the sound of the track. You can change the sound of a software instrument track by choosing a different patch from the Library. In the Library, you can also audition patches to find the one you want to use.

You record a software instrument on a software instrument track in the Tracks area. The recording appears as a MIDI region on the selected software instrument track. You can arrange MIDI regions in the Tracks area, and edit them in the Piano Roll Editor and other editors.

Logic Pro includes a metronome, which plays a steady beat to help you play in time while recording. You can have the metronome play as you record, or play only a one-bar count-in before recording starts.

Figure. The Tracks area, showing software instrument regions on software instrument tracks.

Play a software instrument

  • Select a software instrument track, then play notes on your music keyboard.

  • If your music keyboard has pitch bend and modulation wheels, move them as you play, to see how the sound changes. If your music keyboard has other controls, such as faders, knobs, or drum pads, try using them as well.

Add a software instrument track

  1. Click the Add Tracks button in the toolbar.

  2. Click the Software Instrument & MIDI icon (the keyboard) at the top of the New Tracks dialog.

    Figure. Selecting the Software Instrument & MIDI button in the New Tracks dialog.
  3. If necessary, click the Details triangle to open the bottom of the dialog.

  4. Make sure that “A Software Instrument” appears on the pop-up menu on the left, and “Output 1-2” appears on the Output pop-up menu on the right.

  5. Make sure the Open Library checkbox is selected.

  6. Click Create.

The new track appears in the Tracks area, and the Library opens on the left.

Choose a software instrument patch

  • In the Library, click a category on the left, then click a patch name on the right.

You can audition software instrument patches by clicking them in the Library, then playing your music keyboard, to find the one you want to use. For more information about choosing patches, see Patches overview.

Record a software instrument

  1. Select the software instrument track you want to record to.

  2. Move the playhead to the point where you want to start recording.

  3. Click the Record button in the control bar (or press R) to start recording.

  4. After a one-bar count-in, recording starts. The recording appears as a new software instrument region on the track as you record.

  5. Click the Stop button in the control bar (or press the Space bar) to stop recording.

For more information about recording software instruments, see Recording overview and Record software instruments. For information about connecting a music keyboard, see MIDI devices overview.