Rhythm Composition TASK

1. Compose and Score an Origianal 32 measure Quartet Rhythm Piece for rhythm percussion instruments that do not play pitches using Flat.io

Criterion A – Knowledge and Understanding, Criterion B – Developing Skills, Criterion C – Creativity,  ATL SKILLS – Collaboration, Organization

TSC – For Composition and Performance

Score Example in ‘Flat’ online application – the nice thing about this application is that it will play it back for you so you can hear how it sounds

2. Create a Composition Process Journal.

Criterion D – Responding and Reflecting, ATL SKILLS – Communication, Thinking


Working in Groups of 2 to 4 (you must do it with someone else)



1. GROUPS: Create groups of 2 to 4 students (you must do it with someone else):  Students work in groups to create an original quartet composition based on a one measure theme and uses Rhythmic Development to create interest. You will be asked to perform the piece and keep steady time.

CREATE a new Flat.io composition project and share it with your group members and include Mr. Johnston as a member.

2. COMPOSITION: Your composition will need to meet the following requirements.

  • Your composition and score should be a minimum of 32 measures long 
  • *Create a RHYTHMIC THEME OR MOTIF – a  short one or two measure rhythm.  This rhythm will become the main theme of your song and should be performed on the different player/instruments as well as developed (see below). This rhythm theme should be repeated in your composition and be the base idea of your composition.
  • Create your first 8 measure rhythmic phrase by creating a 4 measure Call and a 4 measure Answer
  • RHYTHMIC DEVELOPMENT – using your original theme develop your rhythm by altering the original motif to create interest. To develop a measure, keep two beats the same and change the other two in the measure.
  • You need to use a variety of note values: whole note, half note, quarter note, sixteenth note GO HERE for notation of note values. 
  • You need to use a variety of rest values: whole, half, quarter, eighth  GO HERE for notation of rest values 
  • Use REPETITION: playing the same rhythm again in more than one measure
  • INSTRUMENTATION body percussion
  • You can also think about how you might create interest by using different sounds in each part (foot stops, hand claps, voice) This can be reflected in your process journal.
  • USE DYNAMICS to create interest – you should include the following dynamic changes: p = piano/soft, f = forte/loud, crescendo = gradually louder OR decrescendo = gradually softer, > = accents/louder


  • EACH PERSON will create and hand in for assessment a  copy of the group score they created along with their personal Reflective Composition Journal which deeply reflects of process taken in developing their theme and other views on their processes and problem solving.
  • Each score should be ACCURATELY NOTATED  






  • Your piece used a Theme which was creatively developed


  • TEMPO marking in the top left corner of the first page. (example: 120 bpm) 
  • TIME SIGNATURE – at the beginning of the first measure of the piece
  • DOUBLE BAR LINE at the end of the last measure of the piece
  • COMPOSERS names go in the top RIGHT corner
  • NAME YOUR PIECE and put it on the top centre of the first page
  • DYNAMIC MARKINGS – below each line of music
  • ARTICULATIONS – accents, slurs, staccato, legato, ties
  • a VARIETY of NOTE and REST values
  • group members must agree on how each student will do their equal amount of the work as discussed and assigned by group members


3. (8 POINTS – CRETERION D) PROCESS JOURNAL: EACH PERSON will be expected to keep a reflective journal GOOGLE DOC which outlines your process of composing. The following questions SHOULD be answered in your reflective journal:

  1. Is there a clear theme to the piece?
  2. What kind of note values did you use in your one measure theme? (example: 1/8 and 1/16 notes and rests)
  3. Where did you use repetition?
  4. What techniques did you use to create interest? (Tempo changes, dynamics, solo and group playing, different sounds, more variety of rhythms etc)
  5. How can I improve my composition? (what works and what could be improved and HOW?)



BELOW you can see a variety of rhythms and how they are notated.

Rhythm Sheet 1:4 & 1:8

Below is a variety of different rhythms using 1/16 notes

Below are one beat rhythms and some of the subdivisions that fit into that one beat. Once you understand that all those notes can be split into beats the bars start to make sense. Figures A and have a quarter note (in the time signature 4/4, this would be one of the four beats) and two 8th notes (one 1/4 splits into two 1/8ths). This is a simple subdivision of one beat. Fig. C is our first variation by taking away the first note. Even using just these three rhythms, you can write some interesting bars of music. Each figure counts as one beat. If you have four beats available you can repeat one. You get the idea.

From here it gets a little more interesting. Fig. D shows a group of four 16th notes (a 4/4 measure of four beats splits into 16). Knowing the combinations you can make with these four notes gives you so much more confidence when it comes to reading them. All we’re going to do is start to remove notes and see what we’re left with. I have marked each figure with a method of counting (1 e + a).

Figures E – H are very common in basic reading.
E – ‘a’ is missing, F – ‘e’ is missing, G – ‘+’ is missing, H – ‘e and +’ are missing. The idea is that there must be the length of four notes but not all of them need to sound. Try playing each of the figures with a metronome, counting out loud if you need to. I often place a bass drum hit on ‘1’ so I always have a reference of where my beat starts (Number figures 1-5).
Once you are comfortable playing each of the figures in time, try mixing and matching them. Simply write them out if you need to. Remember, each one is equal to one beat so it’s easy to just write one next to the other. At this point, you can have a look at the rest of the combinations (Figures I to O). You can see which note/s are missing and you can count them out loud. Again use a reference for the start of the beat – either a bass drum or metronome.
Crazy to think that there was only four notes to play with initially but hopefully, you can see that all the combinations still come from those four notes. Yes you can have triplets and 32nd notes but 16th notes are the best place to start.

CLICK and find out about more rhythms and notations – Talking Rhythm


Dynamics should be placed under the rhythm affected as in the example below.

Below are two ways you can notate a Crescendo (cresc.) and Decrescendo also known as a Diminuendo (dim.)


Below is a variety of dynamic notations. You are required to use ‘piano/soft’, ‘forte/loud’, accent and crescendo/decrescendo but can use more if you would like to create more interest.

  • accentsearch


  • RESTS – 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 notes and restsnote-rest-chart




For inspiration and to get some ideas for your composition take a look at some performance pieces by the famous percussion groups

If possible please show them these two short videos for inspiration. The piece can be any length but at least 30 seconds long.


  1. Hand Clapping Challenge



  1. Hand Clapping Skit






Unit Student Booklet –  G6 U2 COMPOSITION:PERFORMANCE BOOKLET – “I don’t like homework!” AND working copy of score manuscript


Score booklet