Music game

A set of rules that control players to create music.

Origins

In the area of experimental music music games (known as game pieces) were showing up from the middle of the 20th century. The avant guarde was trying things both as for expression and as for structure. Some creators found it attractive to include random events into their music, others experimented with how to let more people play composed music, making parts for musicians and non-musicians together.

Improvisation was appreciated but some pre-composed music started also to be 'customisable'. For example you could repeat parts a chosen amount of times or exchange some part with another if you felt like it (having sort of "modules" at one's disposal). This feature got to be called "openness" of the composition.

To have a game piece you usually go away from more restrictive music score and write instructions in text. "Play a sustained sound" gives performers freedom of choosing pitch/timbre etc. "Play a G major chord" gives other freedoms. Some pieces involve expressive improvisation, but for others you may need other musical or non-musical skills to perform a given piece. Important feature of game pieces is that they don't provide a defined order of events.

So, music games are open works of music written mainly as text instruction. Music games and game pieces are basically the same thing, although at Games for Music we tend to use the first term to stress the performer (gamer) side of the topic as we look especially for games that are fun to play.

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