Understanding Waveform by Generating Sustained Tones

Understanding Waveform by Generating Sustained Tones

Jon Boyle
[email protected]
Rose Tree Media School District

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Music Production
Instructional Software






Computer with digital audio recording capabilities.
Digital audio recording software that allows users to view waveform data of their recordings graphically.


20 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

The students must be able to generate a long steady tone on their instrument.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.


Students will correlate visual information in a digital audio recorder to sound information.

Students will manipulate their sound and visual data in the digital audio recording software to look and sound a specific way.

Students will learn this manipulation relates directly to dynamic information found in music.


Teacher will play a long sustained tone and record it in a digital audio recording application such as Audacity.

Teacher will show the graphic representation or waveform of this sound byte.

The teacher will play the sustained tone again, this time with a crescendo.

The students and teacher will observe and discuss the difference visual and audio aspects of the two sound bytes.

The students will record their own sustained tones both with and without crescendos. The waveforms of these sound bytes will be analyzed and discussed.

The students will have multiple attempts to change their waveform and sound to represent a true crescendo.


  1. The teacher can have the visual and audio data of each studentâs sound files.
  2. Students are given instant feedback from the visual and audio data in the program

Follow Up:

Record live performances and analyze the dynamics visually and audibly.

Students can record melodies with dynamic changes and analyze their own performance.

Items to Purchase:

Computer with digital audio recording capabilities.

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