In China dragons are believed to bring good luck, so at New Year and on other special occasions a Dragon Dance is performed. This involves a big paper dragon puppet supported on poles by performers who do an acrobatic dance. The music often consists of only drums and cymbals playing repeated patterns to accompany the movement of the dragon. Sometimes it will also have a melody or tune.
Here are some links to Dragon Dance videos:
Dragon Dance team making a dragon and training for a dragon dance
We can make our own Dragon Dance music using the Chrome music lab song-maker:
Open Song Maker
In order to make our music sound Chinese, we need to use a pentatonic scale. Open the settings (bottom right) and change major scale to pentatonic scale.
What is a pentatonic scale?
We can now make our own dragon dance
To make it sound even more authentic we can add some harmony. To do this, wherever you can, put a second note underneath your first one leaving two blank spaces between. This gives you two notes a 4th apart, which adds to the Chinese sound. The gap between two notes is called an interval.
Here is an example:
On my dragon dance I added a percussion part to give it more flavour and a thicker texture. I chose the woodblock sound but there are other percussion sounds you can choose.
The percussion part is a repeating pattern. What do we call this in music?
Try experimenting with different sounds or make your piece longer by adding some bars (increase the length) in the settings. You can also change the tempo to see what your piece sounds like faster or slower.
You can send your piece to me if you want by clicking on save, copying the link and emailing it to me here firstname.lastname@example.org.