players.png ~3-10
time.png 10 min

A match-two card game in which players compete to earn the most melodies matched.


Print and cut out the card deck.
Suggested materials: a table (a grand piano may suffice for up to 5 players), stands, chairs, etc…

Notation Cards — Cards with any type of musical notation (including but not limited to Western-classical) provided to players for performance.


  • Players are positioned in a ring around a table or piano. If neither are available, or the ensemble too large, individual stands may suffice.
  • A Judge/Dealer is selected by determining the person who has most recently performed a piece by Aaron Copland; if no one has, by taking volunteers from the audience.
  • The Judge shuffles the deck, then selects a card at random and deals the rest of the cards to the ensemble, face down, until there is a number of cards that cannot be equitably split between them. The Judge keeps these cards, but they too remain face down.
  • Each member of the Ensemble draws three cards from the top of their repertoire and flips them over. Any matches contained in one’s own hand may be set aside and replaced with new cards. These free matches will be counted along with earned matches at the end of the game. The preparations are now complete, and MOTIVE may begin.

Gameplay instructions

  • The Judge performs the Call or Response from the card, marking the initiation of the game.
  • The Ensemble joins in with their Calls. One must play all Calls in the group of three face-up cards. If there are only Response cards in a player’s hand, that player must wait until a matching Call is heard to play.
  • Upon hearing a Call that matches one’s Response card, a player may respond. There should be some form of communication between the two players to determine this as well so that no mistakes are made (i.e., establishing eye contact, together playing the quip one more time in its entirety, or consulting the Judge).
  • Upon a match, the Response card is given to the Caller. Response to Call.
  • The players each turn over a new card from their respective repertoires (unless it has run out) to maintain three face-up cards.
  • This sequence of events repeats until a member of the Ensemble runs out of cards, or if one matches with the Judge. The game ends in this moment.
  • In a performance, it may be important here to announce what has happened, as well as what is about to happen:

Game end

  • Upon the game’s end, matches are counted and the player with the highest number of matches wins. It is technically possible for the Judge to win, but such an occurrence is incredibly rare, and the Judge’s fair play should be publicly questioned .
  • If there is a tie, the player who ended the game wins by default.
  • The winner should be declared and may be applauded or awarded at this time.


W. E. Cooke

For now, please treat this title as a print-to-play game. Details about more public mode of performance may show up later.

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