Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Just Can't Stay Away! The Evolution of Incredibox!

It seems that after a month of blogging every day, I just can't stay away! Funny how that happens...

Today I'd like to post about one of my favorite music websites, Incredibox!

Incredibox is an easy website to use to discuss beat, melody, and, especially, layering in composition. As you can see above, there are now four versions of Incredibox, each with their own little nuance.

The first version is pretty simple- the layers to choose from are labeled "instruments," "percussions," "effects," "chorus," and "voices." In order to layer each category in, you drag a symbol onto one of the bodies above. In this version, the guy is dressed exactly the same- the only difference is that he appears at different heights.

When you have played around a little, you may experience a bonus track- which are weird, but fun for the kids to watch, so go ahead and let them!

Now on to version 2- here we have added color and...the guy appears naked. I usually just brush this off and move on with my lesson, because it's the sounds, not the appearance, that is important. The kids don't push it, so it's not really an issue.

In version 2, the labels are different: "beats," "effects," "melodies," and "voices." I like these labels better, especially the use of the word "melody," as it reinforces a major concept taught in my (and probably your) classroom. As you can see below, each layer dragged into the frame changes the way he is dressed! This sparks student creativity with one easy click and drag! Students have experimented with all different layers and sometimes just "beats" or "melodies," depending on what they feel will sound good.

The little circles loading in the upper right hand corner are the bonus tracks. As you come up with different combinations of sounds, specific combos will unlock the bonus tracks. As I said, they are weird and silly, and I will warn you that some of them have champagne bottles popping, but, if you don't make a big deal of it, with them you can create a sort of Rondo form- yet another teaching tool!

Here is version 3- guy is still naked, labels are all the same, but now instead of crazy shapes representing layers, we have actual accessories to dress our man up with. You can see hats, scarves, headphones, sunglasses, etc.

Don't lie- he looks WAY cooler in version 3!

Same deal with the bonus tracks in the upper right hand corner, just in case you were wondering- you have to find the right combo to unlock them!

Now in version 4 there aren't many differences, other than a few changes in accessories and colors, so I'll bring your attention to some of the other aspects of Incredibox.

Notice the "Record" button above the upper left hand corner- next to it you read "Record your mix, share it, get tons of "likes" and join the top 50! Students are able to share their layered composition with others. I usually don't have my students do this, as this is an intro activity to a larger project, however it is a possibility.

The "power" button on the top of the right hand corner will clear all your sounds, the button with the arrows will "shuffle" through all the sounds to create a layered sound without you needing to do anything, and the "settings" button will explain certain aspects of the website, such as specific clicks of the mouse to control the sounds below.

I hope you have a ton of fun with Incredibox if you have not used it already! Let me know what you think!

~Ms. Patrician @mspatricianhfb

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