Making Complex Ratios (Activity for Students)

Goals: Students will listen to the Lion Sleeps Tonight a couple of times and see if they can hear the basic beat and any rhythmic patterns they either wish to replicate or create a new one. Students will program the tune in Impromptu and they will explore the rhythmic ratio implied by the duration blocks in the melody. They will determine common multiples and complex ratio for this melody.

Common Core: Gr 5 – analyze patterns and relationships; Gr 6 – using concepts of ratio and proportionto solve problems

This is a two part activity. In Part 1 students will listen to the song and program it in the drummer playroom of Impromptu. In Part 2 students will either replicate a rhythm pattern they hear in the song or create a new pattern using a complex ratio of 3:2.

  1. Listen to the Lion Sleeps Tonight several times. 







Part 1

  • Open the drummer playroom and in the file menu click “new”
  • This will involve creating 4 new blocks just like the ones in Figures 1, 2, 3, & 4.
    • To create a melody block, have students go to the Edit menu and click on “Improvise Melody” (Try creating new blocks by checking out this short tutorial on how to create new blocks)
  • In each block students will need to put in the pitch values for line “P” as indicated and then the rhythm values for line “D” for the durations.
    • Ask them what they think the “R” stands for in these blocks
  • They will need to leave a space between each number.
  • Once they have all the blocks programmed, they will need to put the blocks in the correct order on the top line – which is the top line in the drummer playroom- the melody line.
  • Once they have the tune in the right order they should name it and save it to use for Part 2 of this activity.
Jungle 1
Figure 2
Jungle 2
Figure 1
Jungle 3
Figure 4
Jungle 4
Figure 3

Part 2

Create a rhythm accompaniment to this song. To create rhythm blocks students will need to click on “Improvise Rhythm” for each new block they wish to create.

  • To decide which blocks to create have students create one block for each of the duration numbers used in the above song and then create multiples of those numbers.
    • What seems to be the proportional relationships of the numbers is this particular tune?
    • Have the students experiment with the various rhythm blocks they created to come up with what they feel is an interesting accompaniment.
    • Have them see what happens when they put two or more rhythm blocks on the same line
  • Now have the students decide how many times they would like the melody to repeat.
  • They should choose a different rhythm instrument for each line in the playroom
  • They will then need to calculate how many times their rhythm blocks will need to repeat depending on the durational values of a single or combination of blocks in each rhythm line
  • Be sure to have the students save their tune.