Volume Waves


players.png ~7-7
time.png 7 min

A game based on emergence with unique musical effect and challenging gaming task for any instruments that can play dynamically.


(Each player will play according to the same rules).

Choose two other players and assigns them two roles: Max and Min. This selection is secret will be valid for the entire duration of the game.

Gameplay instructions

Set a slow, comfortable cycle (e.g. "inhale-exhale") to alter listening attention between your Max and Min (but be careful not to show anything with sight or posture). When listening to your Min, play a little louder than Min plays at the moment. When listening to Max, your volume should change to be slightly lower than that of Max (or silence if suitable). Changes between your levels should be as smooth as possible.

You may set a comfortable limit on the maximum volume and not exceed it during the game.

Start with the same time of attention directed to Min and Max. In the course of the game gradually spend more and more time with your Max and less time focusing on Min (still adjusting volume according to your state).

Game end

The music will finally come to a level of total silence. Here ends the musical part of the game and the guessing phase begins. Now, point to two people who you think might have chosen you as their Min or Max (it is also possible that nobody chose you, so you can bet on that option too, or one person).

When everyone has their types, you all tell whom did you have as Min and Max and everyone may check the correctness of their guesses.

Gamemaster's notes

Participants that are not ready to improvise by ear might constrain themselves to just few tones. This way they will provide context for improvising players.

With other amount of participants, the game is playable, but effects of emergence are less clear.

The game is suitable for electronic instruments.

Untied by the proponent. Similar to an activity from improvisational theatre.


Easier way of changing state between playing to Min and to Max doesn't require keeping any inner rhythm:
Gradually lower your volume until reaching Max level, then start to play louder and louder until reaching Min level.

Although easier to perform, this version usually produces less interesting musical effect and sometimes fails to provide playful opportunities when player's Min is louder then one's Max for too long.

Unless stated otherwise Content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. See licensing details