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GarageBand Smart Strings setup

Follow the instructions below to setup the Smart Strings instrument in GarageBand to be controlled by the Motion Synth App (beginning with Preset 1).

To make it easier to follow these instructions while also using your iPhone or iPod touch, you can email a link to these instructions to yourself on another computer here: Email setup instructions

TIP: The sound produced by GarageBand will sound much better over headphones, or connected to a good quality amplifier via an audio cable. Don't play the audio wirelessly (e.g. via a bluetooth speaker) as this will produce a disconcerting amount of latency. Connect to your speaker via an audio cable instead.

In the description below the Single-Key version of the App is used to demonstrate the setup.

If you using the Multi-Key version, you can still use these instructions to get setup with Garageband.

In Multi-Key mode you will be able to choose the notes you play via the 8 key grid, rather than playing through a set melody via a single key.

TIP: If you are using the Multi-Key version of the App you can still activate Single-Key mode.

Play in Single-Key mode
Play in Multi-Key mode


  • Locate the GarageBand app on your home screen and tap the app icon to launch
  • If GarageBand does not open in the Instrument view (shown below), then either press 'Continue' (at Welcome screen) or '+' (to create a new song in the 'My Songs' view) in order to access the Instruments view:

  • Swipe left or right to locate the 'Smart Strings' instrument (shown below) and tap the icon to activate Smart Strings:

  • After activating the 'Smart Strings' instrument, enter GarageBand settings by tapping the gears icon in the top right hand corner:

  • Locate 'Run in background':

  • Activate 'Run in background' (this will drain battery, so deactivate after playing):

  • Return to the MS App and go back to the main menu:

  • Select the “Presets” tab:

  • Preset 1 will already be selected. Return to this tab later when you wish to change presets:

  • Return to the Keys screen by selecting 'Keys':

  • After following the above instructions you should now have returned to the 'Keys' screen of the Single-key version of the MS app.

  • Once setup described above is complete, use the Keys screen to trigger notes one after the other while controlling the sound of these notes through motion.
  • The text and images on the Keys screen are permanently visible in the Single-key version of the MS app, but these text and images do not interfere with the triggering of notes.
  • In the Multi-key version of the MS app, these text and images are replaced by 8 notes arranged in 2 rows of 4.

How to play

To learn how to use Motion Synth factory presets 1, 2, & 3 to play the GarageBand Strings instrument please visit:

public/strings_garageband_example.txt · Last modified: 2016/06/22 02:20 by