Street Art Rhythm 

Composition expresses rhythm in music and art. 

Mash up of Student Clips - Art of Geometry Class
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How can we express the rhythm of a song visually, and they rhythm of a visual work musically?

Students explored this inquiry by interpreting images of geometric graffiti into music, and then music into a visual image using melodic contour. 

Based on a ten second song clip of their choice, students incorporated constructions they learned in Geometry to create their final visual composition.


1. Students view a short clip of graffiti artist El Kenor working on the 12+1 project and discuss: what rhythm did you see and what rhythm did you hear? See Resource 1

2. After defining the words 'composition' and 'rhythm' as a class, students view a selected work by MWM. See Resource 2

3. Students are grouped up to create a musical composition to express the rhythm they see in the MWM piece. 

4. Students take turns sharing their musical compositions. 

5. The term 'melodic contour' is discussed, and students apply the idea of drawing melodic contours to a few short song clips I select. 

6. Students then find a song of their choice that has a rhythm they are interested in expressing. After selecting their song, they narrow down the song to a 5-10 second clip that expresses an interesting rhythm. 

7. Using a free program called Audacity, I mash up these clips from each song into one single audio clip to be used for the next class's warm up. See Audio Clip Above. See Resource 3. 

8. Students listen to their clips mashed up into a single song, and draw the rhythms they hear using geometric shapes. 

9. Using the geometric constructions they learned in Geometry, they begin to sketch out a composition that expresses the song clip they selected. Geometric constructions for this class included: 

parallel lines, perpendicular lines, an angle bisector, incircles of triangles, circumcircles of triangles, an isosceles triangle, an equilateral triangle, and a square

10. After their sketch is completed, they will draw a 1"x1" grid on top of their image to help them scale their piece. 

11. Students receive a large piece of posterboard (or other appropriate material for a stencil) and draw a grid (the appropriate proportion) on to their posterboard. 

12. Students use exacto knives and scissors to cut out the shapes they drew to scale. Students can also use painters tape as a stencil to express geometric lines and angles. ​​

13. Students spray their stencil on to other pieces of posterboard using proper safety protocols. 

14. After drying in a ventilated area, students share their music clips and final compositions in a critique.