Convergent Ostinato


players.png ~4-4
time.png 5 min

Modern composers struggle "between cliché and gibberish". This game is a trip from gibberish to cliché for three or more people.


One percussive accompanist and three melodic players should aggree before the game on comfortable time and rhythmic feeling. Before the game starts, it's important not to play additional sounds as that could suggest key or scale to other players.

Every player independently should plan his or her first line to play, it should fit in one bar and you should be able to repeat it for a long time. This planning should include the exact way the line will be played (not only as a musical idea). Try not to use fifths or fourths in the riff.

Gameplay instructions

After a short intro by game's percussionist, players start playing their planned parts together (confident entrance makes the best effect). Then at some time a player may decide to change his or her pattern.

Introduce only a minimum change to what is heard at the time. Single change in the pattern is allowed for only one note. The note cannot be removed from a pattern, but it can be moved to other place in the bar and it can get another pitch. After every change the player has to repeat his new pattern at least three times.

With these gradual small changes, players are tasked to change their usually random and dissonant starting pattern into a clear, harmonic, popular tune.

Game end

Player who considers the music played as being accesible enough for game's success should stop introducing changes to the pattern. The final call is for the percussionist who makes a fill to end a piece.


You can try to play it with more people, but it gets much more difficult very fast.

You can also play without a percussionist, but players should then have a very good time.

Editor's notes

"Gibberish and cliché" quote is from Paweł Szymański

This needs more explanation
This needs simple language

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