KS3 - Free Browser Based Music Software
Please click on a title below to expand the information and access links. Recommendations have been made as to which key stages the software is suitable for. Please see this page for free lesson planning associated with some of the software listed below.
Browser based free software
Chrome Experiments – Chords - KS3 & 4
Chords is a piece of software which simply and clearly demonstrates how to form basic major and minor chords. By playing an arpeggio, it lets the learner hear the notes that create the chord.
Chrome Experiments – Melody Maker - KS1, 2 & 3
Melody maker is a piece of software which allows learners to quickly create single note melodies using 8 beats. The tempo can be altered and there is a delay effect which can be added to create a nice effect.
Chrome Experiments – Song Maker - KS3
Another excellent musical app in the Google Experiments range. Song maker allows pupils to compose their own melodic parts and drum rhythms. There are a good variety of pitched instrument sounds on offer for pupils to explore as well as a good choice of percussive sounds to use when composing rhythms.
Hip Hop Sampler – Beat Maker - KS3 & 4
Teach pupils the fundamental principles of sampling by using these 3 banks of samples. The banks of sounds contain samples that have been used by Hip Hop producers (Kanye West, 9th Wonder and J Dilla) in some of their released music. To add more depth to this activity, perhaps pupils could try creating a backing drum beat on another application, in a separate and detached chrome window, and then triggering the samples from this application over the top. For reference, the backing tempo is 89BPM.
Html5drummer - KS2, 3 & 4
Html5drummer is a fairly simple and quick tool that can be used to compose a drum beat. With an "old school" drum machine type appearance; this software can be used to compose two separate bars from a range of drum and percussion styles including: Hip Hop, Electro, House, Techno and Acoustic. Bars can be bounced down to WAV for use and manipulation in other software.
Incredibox BeatBox Looper - KS3 & 4
Incredibox is a very fun and visually engaging application whilst also providing some very enjoyable and high quality looping and layering opportunities. Pupils select from banks of samples, assigning one of the characters to a certain loop. The loops can be turned on or off and be set to mute or solo. These tools allow pupils to create clear layers and sections.
Mouse Click Loop Creator - KS3 & 4
Super looper allows pupils to play in drum, bass, chords and 2 synth parts all by using the mouse to click different areas of the screen. Parts can be recorded and looped to create on the fly compositions and performances with ease.
Novation Launchpad Arcade - KS2, 3 & 4
Launchpad Arcade is a versatile tool which can be used to create live arrangements and performances using an extensive range of loops from a large range of genres. Some samples can be triggered to play and loop automatically, allowing for learners to focus on timbre, texture and arrangement. Alternatively, some samples can be triggered, using the keyboard, and need to be held down in order for them to carry on playing. This allows for pupils to develop skills relating to live performance, time keeping, rhythm (as well as selecting samples with timbre, texture and arrangement in mind).
To access a free Lesson Plan for this resource, please click here and scroll down to Launchpad Arcade – KS3 Lesson Plan and Slides.
Online Sequencer - KS3 & 4
Online Sequencer is piano roll style compositional resource that can be used to notate and compose on a large range of instruments. The instrument voices can be entered and played simultaneously to create an entire piece using a range of instrumentation. Using a midi style form of note entry, this software could be a valuable resource, particularly for secondary music students.
Patatap Keyboard Sample Player - KS3 & 4
This app is exceptionally quick, easy and fun to use as an instant instrument with a wide variety of sounds. Each letter key, on the computer keyboard, triggers a sound and accompanying animation to play. There are 8 banks of sounds to choose from that are easily changed by pressing the space bar to move on to the next bank.
HEALTH & SAFETY NOTE – by pressing the keys 'Q', 'A' or 'Z' on the computer keyboard, causes a screen short colour flashing animation that might be unsuitable for some pupils. To remedy this, simple minimise drag the Patatap window down to the bottom of your computer display so you can no longer see the animations.
Pattern Sketch - KS3 & 4
Pattern Sketch allows users to create up to 4 bars of drum and percussion rhythms. With variable tempo, steps (quantisation), a good offering of sample sounds and the option to save composed rhythms as WAV or MP3, Pattern Sketch is a quick, clean and stable drum and percussion sequencer.
Pulseboy - KS3 & 4
Pulseboy is a musical sequencer which uses a tracker style system to create retro arcade sounding pieces using a range of 8 bit sounds. With up to 16 sounds being played at any one time, this software caould be used to compose jingles, YouTube intro music, backing for pixel animation or a piece of music in its own right. With a short sharp learning curve, it would be recommended to watch the tutorial video before teaching on this software. Pieces can be bounced down to WAV for playback on other devices.
Sampulator - KS2, 3 & 4
Sampulator is can be a live performance tool, with samples being triggered rhythmically using the computer keyboard, or a compositional tool, with samples being played in, edited and arranged to create up to 16 bars. As well as a good offering of high quality drum and percussion sounds, there are a selection of vocal samples, including some from the recognisable voices of Drake and DJ Khaled, that can be triggered and sequenced into composed bars. There are several examples which can be shown to learners to help inspire.
Sheep Beats - KS1, 2 & 3
Sheep Beats is a visually fun and simple piece of software based around creating drum rhythms. Using a midi style note entry system, the user can compose a single bar using either the kick, snare or hi hat sound. This can then be layered with a double bass and keyboard type sound to create a one bar riff. Colourfully animated, this software can be used to help teach rhythm composition.
Soundation - KS3 & 4
Soundation is a loop based programme which allows for instrumental loops to be layered and arranged. With a professional DAW (digital Audio Workstation) appearance, each track can have a comprehensive range of effects applied to it. This could be used as an introductory piece of software before going on to use similar looking DAWs such as Cubase or Logic.
Steinberg - Stayhome Elements Collection - all FREE for 60 days - KS3
Steinberg are generously offering completely free 60 day access to Cubase Elements. Cubase is an industry standard Music Production program that has long been used by countless professional artists and producers. The StayHome Elements Collection includes access to Cubase Elements, Dorico Elements, WaveLab Elements and the Absolute VST Collection.
All free to use for 60 days. For more details and to download, please visit: https://new.steinberg.net/stayhome/
Viktor - KS3 & 4
Viktor is a virtual keyboard synthesiser tool which allows the user to explore and tweak sounds using a range of parameters. Viktor contains a keyboard with modulation and pitch bend facility. The keyboard is mapped to the computer keyboard to allow for live playing and performance.
Websynths - KS3 & 4
websynth is a comprehensive and versatile web based synthesiser with an extensive range of customisable features to allow users to create, tweak and perform using their own synth sounds. Having a large library of pre-set voices, this synth produces some very rich and full sounds which can be played using the computer keyboard.