Website of the Week
Website of the week is Isle of Tune.
Isle of Tune is a creative music website that allows you to build a up a piece in a visual way – using roads, cars, houses and plants (!).
How to use Isle of Tune
1. Lay down some road
2. Add houses, plants or lamp posts along the road (or a combination)
3. Place a car on the road
4. Press Go. As the car drives past each element on the road it will make a rhythmic or melodic sound. At the end of the road, it turns around and plays your creation in retrograde 🙂
What age students?
This tool is ideal for middle and senior-school students. It presents music in a way that is different to anything you’ve used before, providing a new option for students with different learning styles.
1. For a quick start, use the ready-made patterns. Click on the Loops button and select one of the options. Hover your mouse over the island so you can see the “footprint” required by the loop. Click in a space and add a car to the road. Click on Go to hear the pattern.
2. If you have access to iPads, explore the possibility of using the app version – it’s much more fully-featured (and less frustrating!). You can use more cars (the web version is limited to 3 only), there’s a “reset cars” button which allows you to reset all cars to their starting position and other extras like the ability to create “pauses” (pieces of road that cause a car to pause for a certain number of beats)
3. Consider town-planning! Have students plan their composition on a printed or digital grid first to avoid creating a melody or rhythm that’s going to run out of space on the island. Once you lay down road and set up all your trees and houses, you can’t move them en masse – you must erase them and start again in a different location
4. Change from pentatonic scale (the default setting) to chromatic by clicking on the Tone button and selecting Keyboard Mode
6. Change a sound played by the house/tree/bush/lamp – click on it and select another option from the on-screen keyboard that appears
7. Explore the rhythmic options – on a single beat you can have one crochet, two quavers or a quaver on the second half of the beat.
How can I use it in music education?
1. Use it to reinforce or teach the concept of ostinato. Create a short rhythmic pattern to start with – I lay down five pieces of road and place a lap at each end. Add 2 more lamp posts along the side of the road at evenly-spaced intervals and change their playback sound to a hi-hat. Add a car and press Go. Instant drum pattern!
2. Use it to reinforce or teach the concept of rounds and canons. If you create a square road that joins up, you can have a car drive around it continuously – once it gets to the end, it has arrived back at the beginning so it will begin the melody again. Place a second car on the same road the correct number of beats away from the first, to create the canon effect. I’m not the only one to have thought of this use for Isle of Tune – US educator Will Braune wrote a blog post about it as well
3. Recreate and rearrange a known piece. Students can choose a known pop song and create a cover version like this version of Beat It – the most popular of all Isle of Tune creations. I show it as inspiration (or perhaps intimidation?) in workshops!
Take a look at these Isle of Tune examples:
1. Beat It
Isle of Tune in Your Classroom
Have you used the web or app version before?