You don’t need anything other than a mobile device or a computer to make your own music using the Chrome Music Lab. It’s the easiest music maker around and is completely free. You don’t even have to create an account to get started. It’s a fun music education tool and maker for people of all ages, from kids to seniors and everyone in between.
What Is Chrome Music Lab?
The Chrome Music Lab is a music project created by Google. Instead of just a bunch of bland tutorials, you get to experience music through digital hands-on experiments. This helps make creating and learning more about music far more accessible since you don’t need any instruments to get started. It’s also easy to use without a major learning curve, though if you have some experience, these iOS apps are ideal for creating music.
The project is organized into “experiments.” Each experiment has a different musical focus. The experiments are built using free online technologies and the code behind some of them is even on GitHub. If you’re a developer, you may enjoy checking that out and even building upon it.
The Lab is completely free to use – no account is needed. If you save something you create, you’re given a unique link to it.
The tools were designed with fun and education in mind. In fact, many teachers and classrooms are using the Lab to help kids better understand how music works along with its connections to math, science, and technology.
Trying Out the Experiments
At the time of writing, the Chrome Music Lab has 14 experiments available. These include:
- Shared Piano – A virtual piano for one or more people to play at once. Share the link for others to join and create songs together.
- Song Maker – Choose instruments and color in the blocks to create unique songs to share with others.
- Rhythm – Explore how to create your own rhythms as adorable monsters play what you create.
- Spectogram – See images of sounds as they happen from different sources.
- Sound Waves – Learn how sound waves work through a visual representation you control.
- Arpeggios – Learn what arpeggios are, how they work, and explore different variations of them using the arpeggio wheel.
- Kandinsky – Turn your drawings into music using nothing but your fingertip, mouse, or stylus.
- Voice Spinner – Play with how your voice sounds by spinning the voice spinner faster, slower, forward, or backward.
- Harmonics – See the basics of harmonies in action to better learn how harmonics work.
- Piano Roll – Have fun seeing how piano rolls work through a variety of different tunes.
- Oscillators – Enjoy making the adorable monsters make sound at varying frequencies to understand how oscillators work.
- Strings – See how string length affects the sound, teaching a connection between math and music.
- Melody Maker – Use a grid to create unforgettable melodies and even change the sound as it’s playing.
- Chords – Teach the basics of creating three-note major and minor chords simply by tapping the keyboard.
Each experiment serves a different purpose. Some are much more interactive than others. For instance, Harmonics isn’t something you’ll use nearly as much as the Melody Maker or Shared Piano.
How to Make Music
Now for the fun part: how to make music. To get started, click on any of the experiments. If you’re not sure what it is or how to use it, click the yellow/orange question mark in the top-right corner.
Depending on the experiment, you’ll have different options available. You can choose instruments, adjust the tempo, and even save your creations.
In the above Song Maker example, simply click the grid to fill in or drag any shape you want to create a song. Push the Play button at the left to see how it sounds. Press Save to save it. There are even settings to change the start note and more. When you save, you get a link and the ability to download the file.
The best way to use the Chrome Music Lab is to experiment. Don’t be afraid to press any of the available options. That’s the fun of this project. You’re free to play with the tools as much as you want. Use them for homeschooling, bring them up when you’re bored, try learning something new, or just see what you can create.
The only downside is you can’t go back to a project if you don’t save it. So, if you want to pick back up when creating a song, save the link. Use that link to bring your project back up and continue.
Need some music to help inspire you? Streaming Spotify or Apple Music may just inspire you to create your own masterpieces.