Multiple Music

Driving Question: How can we use multiples to make music? 

Dear Students,

This year you will make your own multiple music song, write about the experience and post the song and your narrative to your Edublog! Below is an example of a write up sharing the project, the learning, and a final reflection. I will expect this level of specificity from you as you complete this project.

As always, if you have questions, post them in Google Classroom or on this blog page.

Have fun!

Mr. B

Multiple Music by Jim Bentley 

This year our class has explored how multiples can be used to make music. If you click the audio track below, you’ll hear “math music.” While it may not be as grooving as Bruno Mars or Beyoncé, it does use multiples and sounds we recorded in class. The sounds you hear play at multiples of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10. So what is a multiple? And how is it used in this “song?”


Our math book defines a multiple as “the product of two counting numbers.” When we read that in class, it sounded confusing. The multiples of 2 are 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and so on. Some students pointed out multiples are like counting by 2’s. That’s true, but we can explain it mathematically by saying multiples contain groups of 2. The first multiple of 2 has one group of 2. The second multiple of 2 has two groups of 2. What about the third multiple of 2? If you guessed it has three groups of 2, you’re right!


Multiples as a product of counting numbers starts to make a little more sense if it’s more and more groups of a number. The fourth multiple of 7 is 28. That means there are 4 groups of the multiple 7 in 28. Or to put it another way, if you count the first four multiples of 7 they are 7, 14, 21, 28.


Sometimes when multiples of numbers are compared, there are places where the numbers “match” or “overlap” or are the same. For example, the first six multiples of 6 are 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36. And the first six multiples of 3 are 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18. Since 18 is common to both multiples of 3 and multiples of 6, we would say 18 is a common multiple. If you keep counting multiples of 3 and 6, there will be other common multiples as well.  For example 24 is a common multiple. But since 18 is the smallest multiple common to 3 and 6, we would say 18 is the lowest common multiple. 


Listen to the song again. You’ll hear points where sounds play by alone and other places where sounds play at the same time. When you hear two or more sounds playing at the same time, those sounds are common multiples! When I first started learning about multiples, I memorized the definition which didn’t make any sense. I learned how to list multiples or create a Venn Diagram to find the common multiples between 2 different numbers. But I didn’t understand why. When things happen at the same time repeatedly, chances are there is a common multiple involved somehow. Making this song showed me that.

Making of Multiple Music

To see a screen record of the song playing on Audacity, check out the film below. We decided on choosing from multiples of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30 and making the song 60 seconds long. All of the multiples have a common multiple of 60. The last sounds begin at 60 seconds and continue for a second or two after depending on their length.


We also decided to add a click track. I found free click tracks with a tambourine online at The click track adds a beat to the background and makes it sound a bit more musical and fun.