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Composing Music
From Superkids by Jean Marzollo - Illustrations by Irene Trivas

Many of the activities on these pages may require adult supervision.
Be sure to tell a grown-up about what you're planning and ask for permission before getting started.

And learning to write the notes down.


If you make up tunes you'd like to remember, you need a way to write them down. At first you may invent your own system for doing this, but eventually you'll need to learn the correct way to read and write music.

Musical Notes

Do you know the song "This Old Man"? The one that goes "This old man, he played one; he played knick-knack on my thumb"? The score above is for the first two bars of that song. "Score" means the written music. A "bar" is a group, or measure, of a certain number of beats. In this case, each measure or bar contains four beats. You know that by the two "4"s above.

The four on top means there are four beats to a measure. The 4 on the bottom means each quarter note has one beat.

quarter note Quarter Note

half note Half Note

Half notes have two beats. Now that you know about the tempo or rhythm of the song, you can clap it out:

Clap, clap, clap, hold; clap, clap, clap, hold.

To figure out the tune, or melody, you have to know that each line and space in the staff (the group of five horizontal lines), as you go up or down, stands for a note. The notes are referred to by the letters A through G. This song starts on G. From there it goes down to E, back up to G for two beats, then G again, down to E again, then up to G for two more beats. In the first two measures of "This Old Man" only two notes are used: G and E.
If someone shows you where these notes are on a piano, you could play the first two bars of this song. The C above the first note tells you that the song is in the key of C. If you play the guitar, that's the first chord you would play in this song. There's much more to learn, and it can be taught to you by a music teacher in school or during private lessons. Soon you'll be writing down your songs easily.


Click here for WRITING LYRICS

Click here for MORE IDEAS!


Based on the book SUPERKIDS: Creative Learning Activities for Children 5-15
Text © Jean Marzollo, Illustrations © Irene Trivas

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