Google launched a new browser-based music sequencer for amateur beatmakers and would-be songwriters to try out. Fittingly, the app is called Song Maker and it takes its place within the already established Chrome Music Lab which, as Google describes, is “a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments.”
But here’s the thing: Song Maker is basically just a sound sequencer. The options are limited, but you can choose an instrument with a melody line and a rhythm track. The instruments you can choose from are: piano, marimba, synthesizer, woodwinds, or strings. For the rhythm line, you can choose from percussion instruments: kick/snare drum combo, wood blocks, or conga. To make changes to these options you go into the setting menu, where you can adjust for overall length of the song, beats per bar, the key of the song, and only a few other small tweaks.
Song Maker is a grid. You click on a sequencer box to add a note. If you have a keyboard with MIDI output, though, you can enter music that way; or use your computer’s microphone.
Now, it is important to remember that this is not, really, making music; at least, not the traditional way. You aren’t really going to learn anything about music through programs like this (and this is not the first to present this type of interface), but it can provide an excellent basic introduction to music production. With additional Chrome Music Lab tools like Arpeggios, Sound Waves, Oscillators, a Spectrogram, and a handful of other utilities, you can get a bit of a feel for the way thinks actually work in a real studio.
In a post, Google appropriately shared, “Many teachers have been using Chrome Music Lab as a tool in their classrooms to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more. They’ve been combining it with dance and live instruments.”
And for those who might want to see what all the fuss is about, you can access the Chrome Music Lab tools on any device that can access the Chrome browser: your phone, tablet, or laptop. You don’t need to download any software; you don’t even need to make an account! Indeed, it is quite ideal for someone who is new to music and wants to explore the basics of music production.