top of page

Challenge #7: Composing a 4 Bar Rhythm using Chrome Music Lab

The Activity:

  • Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. 

  • Chrome Music Lab can be used to compose your own songs. 

  • You do not need an account – just open the Song Maker section and starting creating music!

  • Chrome Music Lab offers many pre-made experiments – however, for this Challenge, we are going to focus on writing a simple melody.

  • Your task is to compose add a four bar rhythm to a simple Pentatonic Melody.

If you need a refresher course on how to write a simple Pentatonic melody using Chrome Music Lab, please visit:

Materials Needed:

  • Pencil or Pen

  • Paper

  • Computer with Internet access

  • Your Imagination!


STEP 1:  Open Chrome Lab Song Maker

STEP 2: Review the Following Features...

  • Tempo (the speed of your song)

  • Marimba (the default setting for the melody of your song)

  • Electronic (the default setting for the rhythm of your song)

  • Settings (this is where you can customize certain features of your song)

  • Undo (this will remove the last thing you added to your song)

  • Save (very important once you have completed your song!)

STEP 3:  Select your features.

We will select 3 features for this challenge: 

  • Select your tempo.

  • Select your melody instrument.

  • Select your rhythm instrument.

STEP 4:  Change your scale to PENTATONIC

  • Go to Settings

  • In the drop down menu where it says “Scale” select the word “Pentatonic”.

  • This will change the default from “Major Scale” to “Pentatonic Scale”.

  • In a Pentatonic Scale, there are only 5 notes…C (Doh), D (Re), E (Mi), G (Sol) and A (La).


STEP 5:  Make sure that your beats are split in two (sub-division of the beat)

  • Check the “Split Beats Into” feature.

  • Make sure that it is set at "2".

  • With this setting, you will be able to use quarter notes and eighth notes.

  • Click on the BIG BLUE CHECK SIGN!! This will save your selections and bring you back to the main screen in Song Maker.

Step 6: Now you are ready to start composing!

  • Once you are back in Song Maker, you will see four measures (or bars).

  • That is four groups of four beats.

  • These bars are broken into white and grey sections so that it is easy to tell them apart…they are like our bar lines.

  • Each beat is worth one quarter note…so that means we are in 4/4 time (4 quarter notes in each bar).

In Song Maker, the rhythm section is divided into two lines: High (on the top) and Low (on the bottom).

In this activity you can work with both quarter notes and eighth notes…which is why we split the bar into “2” in Settings.


A basic rock rhythm, in 4/4 time is created by placing the emphasis on the off-beats, which is beats 2 and 4.

So the rhythm would go like this: one, TWO, three, FOUR.

Here is an example:

This rhythm would look like this in note values:

Your task is to create a four bar rhythm in 4/4 time.

Start with the basic rock rhythm and then add other elements as you go along.

Step 7: Compose a simple melody

Please refer to Weekly Challenge #6 for instructions on how to compose a simple Pentatonic melody.

Step 8: Save your song

Click on the “Save” button.

This action will bring you to a page that looks like this:

It is up to you how you save your melody.

You can copy the link.

You can share it to social media.

You can download either a midi or wav version of your melody.


Step 9: Create a second part for your song!

Now that you know how to compose both melody and rhythm using Song Maker, there is no end to what you can create!

Let your imagination run wild!

bottom of page