Tone Rows

Tone Rows

Christine Dunleavy
[email protected]
Winslow Township Elementary School #5

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Notation Software
Music Production
Instructional Software


Middle School


General Music


Computer with internet connection, overheard projector, keyboards; Music Notation program such as Notepad


35 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Students need to know how to read and notate music Students need basic knowledge of keyboard notes, scales, keys

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 4: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
MENC 5: Reading and notating music.
MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
MENC 7: Evaluating music and music performances.


Computer with internet connection, overheard projector keyboards, Resonator Bells Music Notation Program, such as Notepad


Students will construct, notate, and play Tone Rows


Play example of atonal music, eg. Webern’s “Three Little Pieces for Cello and Piano”
Elicit responses to piece, discuss tonality/atonality
Using resonator bells (one per student), have 12 students aligned to play a chromatic scale, then have them randomly change places and play their bars
Experiment with order forwards, backwards, following the rhythm of a known piece or creating own rhythms
Using the Matrix generator of Ricci Adams’ music theory website
( ), create tone rows (Prime) and play them on resonator bells to hear them
Create a rhythm pattern to use with tone row
Notate tone rows using Music Notation program, such as Notepad
Play tone rows on keyboards


Students create a Tone Row (Prime) using a Matrix generator
Students create a rhythm pattern for their Tone Row
Students notate their Tone Row using Notepad
Students play their Tone Row on keyboards

Follow Up:

Create Tone Row pieces by using the submitted Tone Row (Matrix Generator)
Retrograde, Inversions, Retrograde Inversions
Explore other means of generating a Tone Row Matrix
Research composers: eg. Webern, Schoenberg, Berg
Web quest on history of Serial Music

Items to Purchase:

Computer, Keyboards, Overhead projector

When budget should be submitted:

6 months to a year ahead

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