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 a few people comfortable with groove-based playing.


One percussive accompanist and three (maybe more) melodic players should agree before the game on comfortable time and rhythmic feeling. This discussion should be done without any musical sounds from melodic players.

Melodic players:
Still do not play any sound, but plan out your first musical line to play.

  • The line should fit exactly in one bar.
  • You should be able to repeat it for a long time.
  • Planning should include the exact way the line will be performed (not only be imagined as a musical idea).
  • Try not to use fifths or fourths in your riff.
  • And if you play the guitar, don't use A nor E.

Gameplay instructions

Percussionist: You will start the game with a short clear intro, and then keep a steady rhythm with occasional short fill-ins to taste.

Melodic players: After the intro, enter with your imagined riff confidently. Repeat at least five times and after that you may introduce changes, but:

  • A 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, repeat your new pattern at least three times.

With these gradual small changes, players are tasked to lead their starting tune (probably dissonant) into a clear, harmonic, popular musical result.

Don't worry about your mistakes. If you mess up, enter again in the bar with the last riff you played properly and repeat it five times before introducing more changes to it.

Game end

At any time, any player: If you consider the music played as being accessible enough for game's success, stop introducing changes to the pattern.

Percussionist: If the music stays the same for some time and seems consonant, make a strong, longer fill to end the piece.


You can try to play it even with many 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

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