Page 1

Music Scoring on the iPad.

One app that is very useful throughout this whole process is Memory and Disk Scanner. It scans your iPad for space and memory usage. It will then remove cached and stuck memory to ensure your iPad operates more smoothly.

The IOS platform has so many wonderful music apps from Korg, Arturia, private music developers and other creators. Up until now you could play one, possibly record it to an outside DAW (digital audio workstation) or layer everything inside Garageband. But now you can link apps together via tempo and record your creations to Audio Stems (each track as a file for export). All in six easy steps.

I highly recommend it for scoring on the iPad

1 of 17


Turn on Ableton Link and create! Is there a clear defining structure within your material? Can you add or take away layers? Does it make musical sense?


6 Steps.


Experiment with the apps featured here.




Always take a step back and ask ‘am I on track?’ Sometimes there are happy accidents but keep to your roadmap (plan of composition). It is what defines your work.



Send audio to AUM app for recording. Perform your composition live to record it.

Add to Garageband or Export to Ableton Live as seperate audio tracks. You will need AudioCopy or AudioShare for this. AudioCopy pastes into Garageband for mixing.

Launchpad for IOS http:// gives you the ability to launch (or play) clips of audio from Dubstep to Funk and everything in between. You can also import your own sounds and launch them using the same yellow keys seen here. Launchpad also has an Ableton Link button that gives you the ability to layer music, add effects (red buttons) and score your own music in time with other music apps.

3 of 17


Ableton Link.

Ableton Live is quickly becoming a versatile creative tool for all musicians, educators and students. But when you enable this button in certain iPad apps the tempo and audio is synced between them. You can add as many apps or iPads as you want. The music plays in-time, on the beat of every repeat, just like Ableton Live. Your music apps are now synced together! 4 of 17

Cyclops is a powerful monophonic (single line) synthesiser that I use for my lower frequency patterns and bass lines. It also has a Link button and can modulate its sounds while you record your final score! I find that by browsing its presets and then editing some of the waveform settings you get a very good solid sound. Headphones are required.


5 of 17

If you want some strong and versatile back beats with synth and rhythmic patterning, use iElectribe. This allows me to have a pulse that I can bring to the foreground or background during a piece. Messing with the settings is also fun for creating new sounds. The group Gorillaz actually produced one of their entire albums, “The Fall” using this device. Their version can be downloaded here: http://

6 of 17

Blocs is currently my favourite application on the iPad. It combines looping, with editable sound waves, beat-slicing, recording of my own sounds, importing loops, triggering loops in layers and audio key change abilities. Enable the Ableton Link button and this app becomes a powerful ‘director’ in your piece. Or even a way to reassemble the final recorded loops to one app when you are done. Its import and export features are excellent for music making.

7 of 17


Slicing up loops to a time frame, key or tempo is easy with Blocs The ability to trigger (play and mute) loops in tempo according to a songs structure is a highlight for scoring with this app (see the coloured blocs above).

Audio Bus is the app many musicians have been using as a way to connect applications together. But the tempo would not lock in like it does with Ableton Link. Not to mention the memory strain this places on your iPad (why Memory Disk is vital). It operates as a way of taking the audio on a journey through different applications, to then stop at a final destination. Hence the ‘Bus’ analogy. My final destination is AUM which allows you to record everything as STEMS (seen on the bottom right). 

9 of 17

AUM app is amazing. This application will take the signal from Audio Bus and keep each apps audio into seperate channels. You can then enable record and perform/mix your piece live. Each track is recorded into an audio file that you can export. Alternatively you can take each channel and record into one stereo performance. Great for a one stop scoring project.


10 of 17

AudioShare is an application that imports audio from different sources such as Dropbox. It also has its own built in recorder. These applications, AudioShare or AudioCopy are ‘go-betweens’ for managing audio on the iPad. I prefer to use AUM to record my music in one of two ways: 1. Making audio files to export to an outside music program. 2. Recording everything into a single file for Garageband or iMovie.

11 of 17

Depending on how you want to use your recorded audio these two apps provide the following functionality. 1. Share to a cloud account like Dropbox. 2. Share to other music applications like Blocs. 3. Share to AudioCopy for pasting into Garageband. 4. Pasting audio to iMovie for a video scoring project.


12 of 17

AudioCopy audiocopy/ is a free application available for exporting and moving audio around on your iPad. As you can see on the left I exported my Channel 2 Stem into Garageband. Alternatively, this works as an excellent audio recorder of ‘found sounds’ that you can then edit and send to apps like Garageband IOS.

13 of 17

When you send any audio into Garageband make sure to enable ‘Automatic’ in Song Sections first. This will ensure the entire length of your piece is represented as in the window above. Also, set the tempo to your original tempo to keep composing!


14 of 17


As you can see above I have exported four audio files to import to my DAW Ableton.

Once they are inside the DAW I can chop them up, set looping patterns and arrange them for the video score.


In the Session View I have recorded all the looped patterns to sync with the video.

Ableton Live allows you to compose to video and even edit or chop up the footage.

Once you have created your score and either saved it to STEMS or imported to a video project, post it online to share. You can visit or for more ideas.

17 of 17

Scoring on an iPad  

This PDF booklet outlines a workflow for composing music on the iPad and linking apps together. It also shows how to incorporate audio into...

Scoring on an iPad  

This PDF booklet outlines a workflow for composing music on the iPad and linking apps together. It also shows how to incorporate audio into...