Megan Emerson (@meg_emerson) made this request the other day on Twitter.

There were some great suggestions s from the #xplap folks. Of course I wanted in on this and started thinking of Geologic Puns (ex. Kingdom Taken 4 Granite). After “rocking” that for awhile my mind wandered onto the word chaos. A little thesaurus work showed that a synonym for chaos is discord which brought me to music chords. I like that word play between cord and chord, of music and chaos, and it also makes me think of the Legend of Zelda series’ relationship to music. Ocarina of Time was a released in a formative time of my life. I can still hear the melodies 20+ years later.

Many of our classroom games feature student’s collecting items – typically these are cards with thematic images. In fact, Ms. Emerson’s tweet suggests the goal is to collect stones. Wouldn’t it be neat to have students collect audible items instead of just visual items? In my response tweet I suggested that each stone might have a piece of a song that when combined would make a song that “soothed the savage beast”. That would be an interesting twist on the item collection and combinations that we often use in our classes. Of course I don’t really know how to do this! So I started Googling.

Multitracks and Stems

As it turns out there is a DJ subculture that does offer some answers! Now this is very…very…very… basic but it seems like there are websites that provide “stems” or “multitracks” (which don’t seem to be exact synonyms) that can be combined by DJs to make new music. Some of these are even free to use. A couple of websites that I found were “Behind The Speakers” and “The ‘Mixing Secrets’ Free Multitrack Download Library” I was able to download a full song off of the Cambridge site that was broken down into 27 different tracks each with a different piece of the song. Rather than breaking the full song into segments it takes the entire song and breaks it into layers. So one layer might be 5 minutes of one part of the percussion track and another might be 5 minutes of one part of the piano track. When combined together the entire song would be audible.

These sites do have much simpler multitrack breakdowns with examples available with between 6-20+ tracks.

Questions to Figure Out

  • How to turn these into items?
    • my initial thought is to have each piece of the music as the final reward at the end of different side quests. Maybe the link to the audio file would be available on a locked Google Site. Students could then download the file onto their own laptop. Conversely, there could be a bitly website link on an item card. In general though I think that I would want to keep the effects secret with as little description as possible so students would need to figure out that it is a puzzle to be combined with other side quest sounds.
  • How to combine the pieces into a single song?
    • Once the audio files are downloaded they can each be uploaded into the free Audacity program. There might be other ways to do this but I have Audacity and it’s pretty simple to use. There will be a little playing around necessary with some of the files. I wonder if this will be frustration or an avenue for creativity.
  • How to incorporate this into the theme/narrative?
  • Do I have a predetermined song in mind to “win” or do I let students collect different song pieces and then combine them on their own?
    • If the latter then how do I determine the “power” or “effect” of the item. Maybe students can suggest the effect and if the class likes it then the class gets to vote?

Right now this is a half-baked idea but one I hope to figure out!