Music Graphing

Music Graphing

Angie Vaughn
[email protected]
Old Rochester Regional JHS

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



Middle School


General Music


MIDI Keyboards and Computers “Garage Band”


70 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Basic computer skills Basic piano keyboard skills Understanding of not values eighth note through whole note Understanding of mathematical line graphs

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing

NAfME Standards of 1994: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating


overhead projector white board and markers graph paper and pencils


At the end of this lesson students will be able to understand the similarities between a line graph and a music staff recognizing rhythm as the “X” axis and pitch as the “Y” axis.


1. Review the mathematical concept of a line graph and explain that a music staff can be viewed in the same way. On the board draw a line graph where the “X” axis is rhythm (time) and the “Y” axis is pitch (high/low). Draw several dots on the graph, then add lines to change the graph into a staff. Add stems to the dots to create notes. (5 min) 2. Open “Garage Band” and record a simple 8-bar melody. Draw attention to track visuals to show the shapes of the rhythm and melody. (10 min) 3. Open the piano roll view and play the melody aagain drawing focus to the placement of pitches on the staff and the length of each note. (Use the “zoom” tool as needed to make visuals more clear.) (10 min) 4. Return to the white board and “graph” the melody pitches on the staff. (5 min) 5. Working with a partner, have students open “Garage Band” on their computers and complete the same process. (15 min) 6. Using graph paper, have students graph their melodies. Be sure that melodies are saved on the computers in student folders. (15 min)


Student graphs will be collected for grading. (5 points per measure – 40 points)

Follow Up:

Return to the melodies saved in student folders and 1. alter rhythms in piano roll view to shorten and lengthen notes. 2. add tracks to the melody to explore harmony. 3. add “loops” to the melody.

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