Lesson 12

Rhythm Composition

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Hello, and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman,
and today we're going to make our own composition. What is a composition?
Well, just like an author is someone who writes stories or books,
a composer is someone who makes music.
Every song that you've ever heard was composed by someone,
and today you'll get to be a composer by making up your own song.
And don't worry, I'll help you out. We'll do our first one together,
and then you'll compose a song on your own after.

The first step will be making up a rhythm.
So let's come on over to the heartbeat mat and compose a rhythm.
Here's our heartbeat mat. Now I'm just going to make up a rhythm here.
Let's see: use a couple of quarter notes, and a pair of eighth notes,
and another quarter note. Oh, I just made up this rhythm.
Let's see what my rhythm sounds like.
Try to say it with me while we point to each heartbeat: TA TA TI-TI TA.
Well since I'm the composer, I can decide if I like that or not,
and I think I want to change it. I want to swap out that quarter note
with two eighth notes. Now let's see how we like this: TA TI-TI TI-TI TA.
Yeah, I like that better. So we're going to go with that.

And now let's go to the next row and keep going with making up a rhythm.
In this row I think I'll do two eighth notes, two more eighth notes, quarter note,
quarter rest. So let's try this: TI-TI TI-TI TA REST. Yeah, I like that.
So now, let's try the whole thing from the start,
and just make sure we like what we composed. Ready? Try and say it with me.
Point on your screen and say the rhythm words, TA or TI-TI or REST.
Point and say with me, go:
Yeah, I like that. So let's keep this rhythm.
Once you're happy with the rhythm that you're composing,
we're going to write it down on paper. This rhythm composition sheet is available
for download from our website, included with your premium membership.
So we're going to draw the rhythm that we just composed.
Remember to not make your note heads too big, or they'll take forever to fill in.
So, there's my first row and then I have some more on this row.
Okay, now I've drawn my rhythm, and there are lots of things
we can do with this rhythm. First let's practice speaking it.
I'll speak it once, and then you take a turn by yourself. The first time, just listen:
Now your turn. Point with me and you say it by yourself. Ready, go.

Great job. Now, another thing we can do with this rhythm would be to play it
on some kind of instrument. We're going to play it on piano in a minute,
but first let's try some kind of percussion instrument. At your home, maybe you
have a shaker or some kind of drum, or if you don't have a drum,
you can turn almost anything into a drum. Well, maybe don't use your little brother
or sister as a drum. Remember, I said almost anything, but you can take a pot
and a wooden spoon, or ask a parent what could be appropriate to use for a drum.
So, here I have a drum that I'll use to tap this rhythm. Pause if you need a moment
to get something to drum on, or even tapping on your lap is okay too.
Let's drum our rhythm. We'll do just one line at a time. First we'll speak it,
then we'll drum it twice in a row. Speak this rhythm with me as we point. Ready go:
Now drum:
Good, now let's try to speak the second row and then we'll drum it twice in a row.
And remember that on the rest, that means silence. So we won't drum anything
when we say REST. Here we go:
Now drum: TI-TI TI-TI TA REST.

Great job. Now, last of all, we're going to try to play this rhythm on the piano.
So let's come on over to the piano and try it out.
Now we're ready to take the rhythm that we've composed and turn it into a melody.
A melody is something we can sing or play on the piano.
So we're going to take this rhythm and let's use the C major pentascale,
which means we'll put our five fingers of the right hand on C D E F and G like this.
Now let's look at this rhythm again and just try the first row.
We've got TA TI-TI TI-TI TA.
I'm going to play that rhythm using any note that I want.
I'm the composer, so I get to choose. Here's my first try: TA TI-TI TI-TI TA.
Hmmm Well, I didn't totally like that. So let me try something different.
Remember, if you're the composer, you decide if you like it or not.
So I'm going to try something else: TA TI-TI TI-TI TA. I did like that one.
So let's write down the letter names that I just played.
So I had C, D, D ,E ,G ,G. So I wrote one letter for every note head,
and so all together it will sound like this: C D D E G G.

And now I'm ready to compose a melody for this next rhythm.
Let's see, we had TI-TI TI-TI TA REST. Well, let's try this: TI-TI TI-TI TA REST.
Hmm, nah. I'm not totally happy with that. So let's try something else:
TI-TI TI-TI TA REST. Ah, I did like that one. I did F, repeat, and then E, D, C,
stepping down. F F E D C. So, since I'm happy with that, let's write it down.
So I had F, F, E, D, C, and then rest is silent so I don't need a letter for that.

Now, I'm going to try to play my whole song from the beginning to see if I like it.
Here's my whole composition:
C D D E G G,
All right, that's how easy it is to compose a song!
Now, I'd like you to try composing a song all by yourself.
Let's review the steps for composing your own song.
First, make up a rhythm using the heartbeat matte and the rhythm cards.
You can get a heartbeat mat and the rhythm cards by downloading them
from our website. Then, write your rhythm down
on the rhythm composition theory page, which is found in the Unit 1 Method Book
also available for download from our website. Next, practice saying your rhythm
as you touch each beat. Then, try drumming or tapping your rhythm.
Then, last of all, at the piano, make up a melody that uses the rhythm
that you composed. I just did two rows of rhythm today,
but at home you can do a longer song that uses up all four rows of heartbeats.
One of the best parts about composing is sharing your music with other people.
So, once you've done your composition, practice it and share it with your family
or friends. Or, make a video of it and share it online.
You can even upload it to our Facebook page so I can watch it too.
Thanks for watching and learning with me today, and happy composing!

Croak! Now it's my turn to compose a rhythm.

Okay, go for it!

Okay, put a quarter note here, two eighth notes there, quarter note, quarter note.

Nice, now try it out!

Okay. Hey, that just sounds like "Frog in the Middle!"

I know, isn't it beautiful?