production through performance

music technology curriculum


4.4 lesson plan // chordal rhythm: ostinatos and riffs


Students will be able to play and record an ostinato or riff rhythm with a chordal instrument following an original progression.


Chordal Rhythm Page →


4.4 Project Rubric →


  1. Play teacher and student selected music and identify when chordal instruments are playing ostinatos and riffs. 

  2. Write ostinato and riff rhythms as a class.


  1. Write a chord progression, indicate the letter name and quality of the chords, and invert the triads to maintain smooth voice leading. 

  2. Create a rhythm for the chordal part. The rhythm should repeat every measure for an ostinato and should follow a four measure repetition structure for a riff. CHECK STUDENT ANSWERS 

  3. Write a drum groove with either eighth or sixteenth note subdivision. 

  4. Create a bass line that has octave jumps and leading tones. 

  5. Record four measures of the drum and bass parts as separate tracks in Soundtrap at student selected tempo. 

  6. Record a performance of the chordal rhythm, trim the clip, quantize the attacks, and snap the releases to the correct subdivision.


  • Limit the subdivision level to eighth note.

  • Assign a slower tempo.

  • Limit the choice of rhythm to ostinato.


  • Play drum beat with one hand.

  • Have students quantize the track in front of the teacher.

  • Create both an ostinato and riff rhythm.