Here are basic definitions from music theory, game design and other music games related fields. You can click on a term for more info.


A (Back to Top)

Accompanist (role) — Participant that plays music during the game but doesn’t have to follow the rules.

Ad libitum — "As you like it", a score annotation that gives a level of freedom to the performer.

Agenda — The most general aim the player wants to achieve within a game.

Aleatoricism — Using chance in music-making.

AMAPFALAP — As much as possible from as little as possible.

AP — Actual Play is a type of RPG media, but in board gaming, the abbreviation is used for a design issue: Analysis Paralysis

Aspect — Any quality of musical material.

B (Back to Top)

Balance — Game is balanced when it's mechanics don't lead to the dominance of a single scenario.

Bartle types — Taxonomy of players by their playstyle preference in relation to others and the game.

BCG — Basic Conducting Gestures, a set of gestures that are often used in music games.

BGG — A common shorthand for Board Game Geek

C (Back to Top)

(Cognitive) flow — Flow-state, flow experience; a state of mind characterized by maximum focus on the current task.

Conductor (role) — Participant that makes music without producing sounds directly.

Constellation — A line-up for a single performance of improvised music.

Constructor (role) — Participant that doesn't influence music directly, but rearranges the objects in the playing space.

Co-optionality — A feature of a game — co-optional game may be played both cooperatively and competitively during a single playthrough.

Cue cards — Cards that can be shown by the Conductor (or Prompter) to Players to cue the direction of improvisation.

D (Back to Top)

DAW — Digital Audio Workstation

Dealer — Another name for constructor player role, especially when operating on cards.

Dice — Throwable objects used for repeatable randomization of more than 2 states.

Dimension — An aspect applicable to a single sound and continuous.

Downbeat — The first measure of the bar, or (in more a free context) a moment when players start to improvise together.

Downtime — A situation during the game when a player is not engaged in play.

E (Back to Top)

Elegant Game — A game that has a relatively low amount of rules for what it does.

Emergence — A phenomenon when thing's qualities are not due to any qualities of its parts but result from interactions between the parts.

End Condition — A rule by which the game ends.

Event (musical event) — "Anything" that can happen — (in our case) a unit of music at any given scale of consideration.

Extended technique — Any unusual way of producing sounds with your instruments or voice.

F (Back to Top)

Facilitator — A person who helps a group to work together.

Fighting — A situation during the game when Players exchange actions to establish a winner over an objective.

Flowdisambiguation: Both cognitive flow and gameplay flow are relevant for our wiki.

Found sound — Music material that was not produced by an instrument or vocals.

Free Improvisation — [in one of the understandings it's] a synonym for non-idiomatic music

FROMG — The First Rule Of Music Games: "The main aim of playing a music game is to play good music".

G (Back to Top)

Game piece — Another name for a music game.

Gameplay flow — The quality of gameplay based on interactions between its consecutive stages.

Gamer (role) — other name for a: Player

GDQ — Games Done Quick, a charity event about speedrunning.

Genre — A conventional category that identifies some work (piece of music, game, etc.) as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions.

GM — Game Master

H (Back to Top)

Hambone — A name for body percussion in African and American context.

Heteronomous Music — Music with an external conflict introduced.

Horizon of intent — A set of desirable moves at the given stage of the game.

I (Back to Top)

IEM — Improvised experimental music

Improvisation rite — A rules-light improvisation setup.

Insert game — A game easy to be made a part of other musical structures.

Inspire cards — Deck of cards that show images to interpret musically.

Instrument Preparation — Altering sounds of the instruments by placing objects on/in/around it.

J (Back to Top)

Johnny — a category of a player in psychographics, plays for self-expression

Judge (role) — Participant that affects only the outcome of the game.

K (Back to Top)

Karaoke — Amateur singing used as a pastime, most often to a backing track and with lyrics displayed.

King-making — Game design issue that occurs in competitive games for more than two players when one's result is not dependent on one's performance.

L (Back to Top)

LARP — Live action role-playing

Learning curve — Characterization of progress of skill during the gaming experience.

Ludomusical dissonance — Situation when gaming incentives in a music game lead Players to play worse music.

M (Back to Top)

Meaningful Choice — A set of alternatives that provides a good experience for the person making a choice, in terms of engagement and satisfaction.

Mechanic — A subsystem of the game that regulates interaction with a game state.

Music game — A set of rules that control players to create music.

N (Back to Top)

Non-idiomatic music — The genre of "no genre" — free music.

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

NPC — Non-player character

O (Back to Top)

OP — Overpowered [about a strategy or an element of the game]

Open work — A work of art which is not fully determined by its author.

P (Back to Top)

Parameter — A basic quality of the musical material that might be changed without modifying the value of other parameters of the same material.

Pervasive Game — A game where the gaming experience blends with the real world.

Player (role) — A participant that takes full part in the game. The most important player role.

Playtesting — Part of game development process where you check what the actual game experience is. Key phase of iterative design.

Prompter (role) — Participant that gives signals to change music without deciding about the direction of that change.

Psychographics — Three player types, Timmy, Johnny, and Spike, by main internal motivation to play.

Q (Back to Top)

QuarterbackingQuarterbacking is a game design issue that occurs in cooperative board games, when all decisions are taken by one player.

R (Back to Top)

Rhythm cards — Cards that show rhythmic cues.

Rhythm game — A game where actions must be performed to the rhythm.

RNG — Random Number Generator, a technical method of providing chance results in computer programs.

Roles — A way of participating in a music game (like playing, conducting, accompanying or judging).

RPG — Role-Playing Game, a game where the main focus is assuming the role of a fictional character.

Rule Cards — Cards that provide instruction to players (usually in text).

S (Back to Top)

Segue — smooth transition

Skill floor — Minimum skill required to play the game. See: Learning curve

Soundpainting — A conducting system by Walter Thompson where cues have a form: "who, what, how, when".

Speedrun — Playing the game as fast as possible.

Spike — a category of a player in psychographics, plays for the challenge

Stacking — An arrangement or a mechanic of there being more and more of something.

T (Back to Top)

Tagging Out — A transition done when one player (usually of his or her own initiative) swaps in for another player.

Timmy — a category of a player in psychographics, plays for an unusual experience

Trading — When two musicians interchange their playing.

Transition — Changing from one section of the work to another.

U (Back to Top)

Upgrade — Game mechanics of providing better possibilities to the player.

V (Back to Top)

VGM — Video Game Music. Soundtracks of computer games.

Victory condition — A rule that decides who wins the game.

W (Back to Top)

Warm-Up — A simple activity that improves engagement in complex ones

X (Back to Top)

Xenochrony — Extracting a part of one piece of music and combining it within a context of a rhythmically different piece.

XP — "Experience points" — gathered during some games to gain upgrades.

Y (Back to Top)

Yes, and... — Method of improvising when you accept everything that is played and do something with it.

Z (Back to Top)

You can contriute to the glossary, e.g.:

gaming terms: Bluff, Buff, Combo, Component, Draft, Eurogame, Flavor, Hook, Ludology, Nerf, Worker Placement…
music terms: A Capella, Canon, Concept, Da Capo, Drone, Fermata, Movement, Music of Friends, Notation, Polyrythm, Program music, Timbre, Variation

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