Musical Construction Kit With Makey Makey

About: Computers are going bananas! Use #makeymakey to practice invention literacy and connect the world to your computer.

Create an ever-evolving set of musical tools to be used by music educators and students in the classroom or at home.

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Note

This project was first made for a How-To Contest Makey Makey ran in 2013 and was formatted a little differently than this. This was a winning submission from Graham Allen.

Step 2: Introduction

Introduction

Utilizing the Makey Makey and Scratch Online technology, we have created a construction kit that can build multipurpose tools to be used by students and teachers specifically for music.

The ultimate set of musical building blocks, the Makey MaKey Musical Construction Kit is a concept that incorporates many gathered materials, resources, and instructables that can be combined, remixed, and redefined to create a nearly endless supply of musical tools to teach students a broad number of musical concepts. The kit has everything you need to create tools outlined in the steps below.

Step 3: The Makey Makey Chord Board

The Makey Makey Chord Board

This tool can be used by teachers in the classroom and by students in the classroom or at home to teach and reinforce chord theory concepts and practical applications. Students can use the MMCB to explore chordal music on their own or use it to complete activities assigned by a classroom teacher. Using the onboard sound recording functions of Scratch, students can record their own explorations and reflect on their experience. Teachers can access these recordings to evaluate student progress and understanding.

Try it out!

Find and remix the project in Scratch here.

Find other remixes of this project here in the remix tree.

Controls:

Change Instrument: D

Scale Degree 1: A

Scale Degree 2: W

Scale Degree 3: Right Arrow

Scale Degree 4: B

Scale Degree 5: G

Scale Degree 6: F

Scale Degree 7: S

First Inversion: Hold Up Arrow and Cue Scale Degree

Second Inversion: Hold Down Arrow and Cue Scale Degree

Space Bar: Play Recorded Project

Left Arrow: Play Recorded Comments

Remember: When recording, click on the "Recordings" sprite, click on the "Sounds" tab, and you can record using the MMCB or the keyboard to play chords and live sound. Just make sure you have a microphone that is plugged in.

Suggestions for Remixes:

-With twenty-one possible triggers, what kinds of sampling boards can you create?

-How many keys can you create chord accompaniment for?

-What sound samples can you share with the community? What instruments/timbres can you contribute that can be used to make chords?


Notes for Remixing:

1. Be careful not to mix up sprites, it happens to the best of us.

2. Editing the sprites can be time consuming (we know). Be patient and minimize work by chunking.

3. Label your samples in a way that is impossible to mix up. When in doubt, create label tiers such as "Instrument.Chord.Inversion" (ex. Marimba.G.First) to organize your samples.

Step 4: The Makey Makey Portable Chorus

The Makey Makey Portable Chorus

The Portable Chorus is another set that completely redefines the idea of practicing for ensembles. Using this tool, teachers can record multitrack versions of repertoire in programs like GarageBand or Logic, cut up the recordings according to the song's form, and input them into the programming to create a live demo and practice mechanism for students. Students can mute parts, sing along with any combination of parts, and listen to the song in sections by form to increase their understanding of their part and the piece as a whole.

Try it out!

Find and remix this project in Scratch here.

Controls:

A = Toggle Soprano

S = Toggle Alto

D = Toggle Tenor

F = Toggle Bass

Space = Stop Track(s)

M = Mute All/Unmute All

Up Arrow = Start Verse 1 (or click)

Right Arrow Start Verse 2 (or click)

Down Arrow = Start Bridge (or click)

Left Arrow = Start Outro (or click)

Suggestions for Remixes:

-Why just SATB? Can you program an orchestral setting? Or a whole a cappella group? Consider the number of inputs, but think about using the "____ and ____" in an "if _____, then _____" script. Refer to the MMMCK Skeletons Studio.

-Why just four sections? Try a longer piece and divide it up more. Maybe apply the same technique mentioned above to create sections within movements. Or have multiple projects, one with the full track and one with it divided?

-Why voices? Try recording parts for a guitar ensemble, a brass quartet, or piano duet. Give students or performers the ability to have live recordings to practice with in any ensemble situation.

Notes for Remixing:

1. When recording or obtaining samples to use, make sure to get samples of each individual part.

2. Cut the recordings of each part into smaller to digest pieces based on form. Since there is no rewind function, the samples need to be small enough for students to use to practice a particular part of the form without needing to listen through the first three parts of it.

3. Label each part clearly to match it up with the appropriate voicing and section. Note the names on these samples: SS.A.2 = Star Spangled, Alto, Pt. 2

Step 5: The Makey Makey Multipurpose Kalimba

The Makey Makey Multipurpose Kalimba

This last tool is the solution for students looking to play melodies in different keys. The Multipurpose Kalimba is a melodic tool that can be transposed to any key in the same way that the Chord Board can. With five instruments that all follow one scale and an additional pentatonic mode, this tool can become a catalyst for scalar and melodic theory. This tool can be used in transposition, composition, and improvisation.

Try it out!

Find this project and remix in Scratch here.

Controls:

Up = 1st

W = 2nd

Down = 3rd

A = 4th

Left = 5th

S = 6th

Right = 7th

D = Octave

Space = 9th

F = 10th

G = Switch Voice

Voices:

Piano

Voice

Electric Guitar

Acoustic Guitar

Marimba

Pentatonic Marimba (Gong)

Suggestions for Remixes:

-Think about what keys/scales you could set your kalimba to. What about an entire pentatonic set?

-How cool would it be to have this as a sampling board?

-What sound samples can you share with the community? What instruments/timbres can you contribute that can be used to make melodies?

Notes for Remixing:

1. Be careful not to mix up sprites, it happens to the best of us.

2. Decide whether you want to create a pentatonic or diatonic set ahead of time. You will be able to alter your sprites accordingly.

3. Label your samples in a way that is impossible to mix up. When in doubt, create label tiers such as "SingleNote.Instrument.Note" (ex. Note.Marimba.G2) to organize your samples.

Step 6: What Will You Invent?

But these are only three projects that you can make with the MaKey MaKey Construction Kit. What will you create?

Let us know in the comments!

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