Two-headed Soloist

Two musicians are given the task of jamming over the accompaniment in a specific way. Quite difficult, improv-inspired, insertable game.

Two head
Two head
Photo by Beshef (CC BY 2.0)

Participants

This game refers to usual modes of jamming in genres of rock, blues, funk, folklore or others. To play this game you need musicians competent in rhythmic jamming. Apart from two chosen players, the ensemble will play typical (for the genre) repetitive pattern ("groove"). It can be introduced as improvised and can follow from 1 to 4 chords. It's good when accompanying band has a leader to facilitate ending of the game.

Gameplay instructions

Two players should play a solo over an established earlier accompaniment, but are allowed to play only one note at a time. You can't play your another note until your partner plays his/her note. Their mistakes should be punished with not-too-mean laughter.

Cheating

There are many possible foul plays:

  • staying on just one note for a long time
  • playing in one rhythm for a long time
  • playing random notes
  • and other plays that don't contribute to leading a natural melody.

These forms of cheating might be discussed after the game, or, in case there is "audience" (in the form of people waiting for their turn to play) the audience members can serve as a collective judge by the means of shouting (or, in some genres, throwing objects at the stage). When someone is caught cheating or has a few mistakes he or she shoud in this case be swapped for another player. Winner of the round stays to play the next solo.

When players swap, it's a good moment for backing ensemble to mix up their patterns a bit.

Gamemaster's notes

  • For successful common soloing players should always keep in mind the length of notes they play (too much overlapping breaks the illusion of one melody).
  • It's better to have two soloing instruments with similar timbre.
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