players.png ~10-?
time.png 15 min

Scratch Orchestra's improvisation Rite. Watching, waiting, listening.

Setup (see notes)

Each person takes a number, between 1 and x (the nmber of people taking part). Numbers are chosen starting with the highest and counting downwards. If there is a disagreement about who should have a given number, it may be decided by tossing coins, by voting, or any other method. Each person must know who has the number immediately below his own, and all must remember who has the highest number.

Gameplay instructions

When numbers have been assigned, No 1 begins performing. Some time after No 1 has begun, No 2 begins, sometime after this No 3 begins, and so on until all are performing. If desired a maximum and a minimum interval may be decided in advance [… otherwise] this is free.

Game end

To end: The person who begins last (i.e. the person with the highest number) decides when to end. When he ceases performing, everyone else stops.

Gamemaster's notes

The extended setup of this game seems to be intentional as artistic means, but with more casual approach, the game works fine with any form of order assuming method. It's worth noting though, that it's better to not keep a set order to be obvious during playing (like usually it is during games played in a circle).

Nice way to do it is to play this game after having played a turn-based game in the circle. Every player remembers a person to his/her right (if previous game was played clock-wise) as a predecessor, and then everyone moves to other place in performing space (in the circle or not).


This is one of the Improvisational Rites of Scratch Orchestra from 1969.
Attributed to Michael Parsons (full notes).

Editor's notes

You can now read all Improvisation Rites from Nature Study Notes as digitized at the wiki.

Photo used for decoration is "Can't wait to go back home" by sightmybyblinded, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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