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►Click here to download the set of Composer Worksheets


The Briefing:

Rhythm is the arrangement of sound and silence over time. When composing a piece of music, your rhythm choices can have a wide effect on the emotion, direction, and overall feel of a piece of music. Rhythms can be simple or complex, repetitive or changing. When writing for multiple instruments, your rhythms do not have to be the same; rhythm can be layered.

While often the rhythm is thought about as percussion, your other instruments will also use rhythm to change how they are performed.

In the Field:

Listen to the following clips of compositions where rhythm plays an important role:

                               Gustav Holst: The Planets, Mov’t I: Mars, the Bringer of War

Junior Testing Grounds:

Visit the Chrome Music Lab and try out the rhythm machine. Experiment by adding many sounds or fewer sounds and think about how it feels as you make changes.


Senior Testing Grounds:

Visit Groove Pizza and build a rhythm pattern that fits the theme of your chosen clip.



What is MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)? - Wikipedia

What is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)? - Wikipedia

Chrome Music Lab Rhythm

Groove Pizza

Side Quest:
Export the information of the rhythm pattern created with Groove Pizza as a MIDI file, and import it into another DAW (for example, GarageBand, Band Lab or Ableton) so you can keep working on it!

Industry Voice:

If you like, listen to the following people working in the industry describe how to use rhythm.

How do you use rhythm in your compositions?


Next up, click here for Tempo!



Career Pathway Videos

Shannon Mason
Composer & Sound Designer
Vancouver, BC

Caitlin Yu
Head of Quality Assurance
Phoenix Labs
Burnaby, BC


Adrian Talens
Freelance Composer
Vancouver, BC