Rhythm Complex

Rhythm Complex 

Ted Rood
[email protected]
Roxboro Middle School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Multimedia/Digital Media


Middle School


Music Technology


Audacity, Computer, Headphones


30 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Use of Audacity

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.

NAfME 2014: Responding 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Understanding Music in Relation to History and Culture

NAfME 2014: Connections


Percussion samples that can be imported to a Musical Production program.


Students will create and develop a rhythm complex using music production software.


Before teaching the lesson, Create several samples of percussion instruments using a keyboard and Audacity. Place them on a track so they can be selected and listened to. After a discussion on what a rhythm complex is and it’s history, have students create a rhythm complex using audacity. Set some guidelines so that they can complete the lesson in time. Start by having students make only 5 tracks of percussion and that the beat of instruments can be placed only on each second of time on the timeline. A total of 12 to 24 sec. would be plenty. For each track one instrument is selected, and can be placed over any sec/beat. Explain how in the rhythm complex, some sec/beats should be left silent to bring out other parts. Once completed, have students playback each rhythm complex to make sure they followed the guidelines set.


Have each project played for the class to listen to and discuss how each one was put together.

Follow Up:

You can create a rhythm complex and alter the given percussion sounds by using audacity’s effects. This will allow the students to explore the program and the effects that are available.

Items to Purchase:

A keyboard that has percussion samples, or live instruments to be recorded into audacity. Audacity is free!

When budget should be submitted:

One month

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