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All Lesson Plans

Polypad Music: Getting Started

Introduction

Use the tools on Polypad to create fully-realized songs, beats, and loops using math manipulatives. Press Play to hear what’s possible. Then, keep reading to learn how to do this yourself!

What manipulatives have sound?

Polygons, Number Bars, Fraction Bars, Fraction Circles, Dice, Spinners, Graphs and Equations all make sound. Learn more about each below.

Polygons

Listen to the Vertices, Perimeter, Area and Angles of each shape.

Select any shape in the examples below and press ▶︎ to listen.

Number Bars

Factor each number bar with a slider then listen the result.

Fraction Bars

Divide up time or rejoin sections with ease. Scale bars to fit different rhythmic scenarios.

Fraction Circles

Treat circles like bars of music.

Dice and Spinners

Decide if each random value is expressed as Pitch, Beats, Subdivisions, or Duration.

Click on a tile to change its randomization options and then press Play (▶︎).

Graphs and Equations

You can link equations to graphs.

You can also play back multiple equations at once. Try it here.

How do you control the music settings of tiles?

Open the Music section in the More Tools menu to change the sound, note, tempo , volume and (sometimes) musical scale for a tile or groups of tiles. Try it with the blue rectangle.

How do you use all these tools to actually make a song?

Use the Track tile to make a song. Tracks are located in the Music section of the Sidebar under Games and Applications.

Change a Track’s Tempo and how often it Loops.

• Click the Track to change its Loops and Tempo. Click on the track below to make changes.

Change a Track’s Musical Scale.

• Select the Track to choose a musical scale.
• Drag tiles into different rows to create a melody.

Use Tracks in Timeline or Sequence modes.

• Timeline mode plays tiles when the black line hits them.
• Sequence mode ignores tile spacing. It reads left to right, and lets each tile finish before playing the next one.

Link Tracks together.

Create complex arrangements and repeats via our blue-arrow linking system.