musicgames.wikidot.com - Easy Games for Music

Loop Cycle

Set up

Players position themselves in a circle.
A Loop Leader is chosen.

Instructions for players

The Loop Leader improvises some kind of simple loop (1-4 bars). Continue to repeat it.
Within a short amount of time, the player to the right of the Loop Leader joins and adds to the loop.
Continue this process with all players.
Note that players can add slight variations and embellishments to their loops.
The last player in line has the choice to add to the loop or do anything they want with it (ex. solo on top).
Eventually, the Loop Leader will stop playing. From the right of the Loop Leader, in order, one by one, every player stops playing.
Now the player to the right of the Loop Leader becomes the new Loop Leader. Enter the second round by repeating the process with a completely different loop.
Try to create seamless segues from one round to the next.

Game end

Go through all the rounds until everyone had a chance to be the Loop Leader.
As a band bring the music to a natural sounding end.

Notes

When improvising a loop take into consideration the number of people in the group and how much ‘musical space’ you should leave in the loop. If you have something like 6 people in your group, leave a good amount of rests, and/or don’t play so busy. This way the other players will have room to fill in the spaces. However, if you have something small, like 4 people, you probably should fill up the spaces more.
Part of this game is thinking about how to leave room for the other players.

Variants

For groups of only 3 people, play through the cycle 2 times.

Video

Game Designer

Marcus Staniec (notrightmusic)



MPIR106

Set up (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 set-up 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).

Editor's notes

This is one of the Improvisational Rites - notes of Scratch Orchestra (scholar info on the ensemble) from 1969.

In the text you can find many interesting game mechanics like conversing with imaginary pigeons or giving money to other people ;). Inspiring!



The Audition

Form

Seamless music throughout
Group #1:
#1 SOLO (30 sec) -> #2 SOLO (30 sec) -> #3 SOLO (30 sec) -> #1 DUO (2 min) ->
Group #2:
#4 SOLO (30 sec) -> #5 SOLO (30 sec) -> #6 SOLO (30 sec) -> #2 DUO (2 min) ->
Reject Duo (2:00)
END
VOTE

Set up

Choose one conductor.
Then make groups of 3 players each. If needed, depending on how many players there are, an occasional group of 4 will work.

Gameplay instructions

In this example, we have 7 people. 1 conductor. 6 players with 3 players in Group #1 and 3 players in Group #2.

Start with Group #1.
Give each player in the group 30 seconds to individually solo improvise.
Keep the music going between players. When the 30-second mark approaches the conductor will point to the next player. That player comes in as the previous player stops playing. A bit of "bleeding" can carry over from one player to the next, similar to a crossfade - it doesn't have to be a strict jumpcut.

Continue until all 3 players have auditioned.

During each solo audition the conductor should be considering which 2 players would work best together.

Near the end of the 3rd player’s auction the conductor will choose and point to 2 of the 3 players. Leaving 1 out - The Reject.

Conduct the 2 chosen players to come in together.
The appointed players improvise together as a duo for 2 minutes.

So far the form will look like this:

Group #1:
#1 SOLO (30 sec) -> #2 SOLO (30 sec) -> #3 SOLO (30 sec) -> #1 DUO (2 min)

Nearing the 2 minute mark the conductor points to Player #4 in Group #2 to solo improvise as the duo stops playing. Repeating the same process as Group #1.

At this point the form will look like this:

Group #1:
#1 SOLO (30 sec) -> #2 SOLO (30 sec) -> #3 SOLO (30 sec) -> #1 DUO (2 min) ->
Group #2:
#4 SOLO (30 sec) -> #5 SOLO (30 sec) -> #6 SOLO (30 sec) -> #2 DUO (2 min)

At the end of Group #2’s duo (2:00), the conductor points to the 2 previous players who were left out, The Rejects. They play for 2 minutes at which point the conductor conducts them to stop. The playing part of the game is over.

The final form will look like this:

Group #1:
#1 SOLO (30 sec) -> #2 SOLO (30 sec) -> #3 SOLO (30 sec) -> #1 DUO (2 min) ->
Group #2:
#4 SOLO (30 sec) -> #5 SOLO (30 sec) -> #6 SOLO (30 sec) -> #2 DUO (2 min) ->
Reject Duo (2:00)
END

Game end

Now it’s time to vote for the best duo. Everyone votes, including the conductor. You can't vote for your own duo. The duo with the most votes wins!

If you like, you can change conductors, shuffle the groups, and play the game again!

Variants

Larger groups are possible.
This particular version focuses on duos. You can try trios or even quartets.

For a longer game with 6 players and 1 conductor, you can keep going after The Reject Duo.
Near the end of The Reject Duo, the conductor points to 3 players.
The Reject Duo is conducted to stop at the 2:00 mark and the newly appointed trio comes in and plays for 3 minutes.
The conductor conducts them out after the 3:00 mark and conducts the remaining 3 players in to improvise together for 3 minutes.
Finally, this final trio is conducted out and the playing part of the game is over. Vote on the best trio. This trios extended version is about 16 minutes in length, including 1 minute for voting.

Game Designer

Marcus Staniec (notrightmusic)



The Impersonator

Gameplay instructions

Two kinds of people in this game:

  • The players - interpret impersonator’s movements into music
  • The impersonator - conducts the players with movements by impersonating someone.

One person is chosen to be the first impersonator, who then secretly thinks of a well-known person everyone knows.

Set a timer for 1 minute. Act out the person (without any vocalizing). The players musically play the impersonated actions. When one minute is up stop impersonating.

Any players who think they know who the person is raise their hands. The impersonator picks someone with a hand up. If wrong - pick another person. Continue picking players until you find the right answer.

The person with the right answer becomes the new impersonator and starts a new round. The old impersonator joins the players.

If no one figures out the right answer the impersonator loses, picks a new impersonator, and joins the players.

Remember there are two goals to this game:
1) to have someone guess who’s being impersonated
2) to create interesting music/sounds.
Keep both equally in mind at all times!

Game end

Continue until everyone has had at least one chance to be the impersonator.

Gamemaster's notes

Tips on impersonating:

It might help to overemphasize some moments and gestures (similar to comedians).
You could use some conducting cues while impersonating. Think how you can use movements to conduct the music. But, movements related to the person in question!

It could also help to do some movement conducting as a warmup before you start playing the game. Each person takes turns, a minute or so each, to freely conduct all the players by body movement. Get a feel for it. See what kind of body movements you can do and what musical responses you get from the players. Some people say that this is even more fun than the actual game!

Variants

Instead of impersonating try doing actions for people movements - like using a computer, playing tennis, using the toilet!

Game Designer

Marcus Staniec (notrightmusic)



Fairy Tale

Set up

Pick a fairy tale that everyone is familiar with and summarize it's main story points (people might know a few different versions of one fairytale).

Gameplay instructions

Play to illustrate emotional aura of subsequent parts. Your main task is to listen to each other so everyone plays around the same moment of story and musical ideas don't spread over more than two parts at once.

Game end

Game ends when everyone is in the finale of the fairy tale. Try to stop playing together - a person that makes the last sound (after everyone else) gets "-1 point".

Gamemaster's notes

If players' skill doesn't allow them to adjust to overall harmony by ear, you can aggree beforehand on a chord or two for some part of the story. Especially if mood of that part is orderly or sweet or otherwise doesn't go well with too much 'mess' in music.



Animal Sounds

Set up

Have all the players, or audience if you have a decent sized one, write down three different animals - one animal per one piece of paper.
When finished, everyone folds their papers and drops them into a hat (or bucket, or something).

Gameplay instructions

ROUND 1
Choose a first player.
This player picks one piece of paper from the hat without looking.
Without showing anyone else the first player takes a look at the animal written on the paper.
Now the player must play something to represent the animal.
Everyone else must yell out guesses of what animal is being played.
If it’s hard to hear people yelling then stop playing to listen. Start playing again if the answer was wrong.
When the correct animal is guessed the player stops playing.

The winner now joins the first player but picks a new piece of paper. They both look at the animal and start playing.
Continue the same process, building the playing group, choosing different animals, until there’s one person left who didn’t guess correctly.

Now this round is over.
Everyone except for the person who didn’t guess gets a chip.

ROUND 2
Choose a new first player and repeat the whole thing again.

Continue playing more rounds choosing a new first player each time until there are no new first players left.

Game end

Players count up their chips at the end to see who has the most chips. The one with the most chips wins!

If there’s a tie you could have the losers pick an animal and perform.
Whoever guesses right is the winner.

Notes

Repeated animals are fine. It's always nice to hear how different players, or combination of players, interpret repeated animals!

Variants

For a much simpler version: each player takes turns. Think of an animal and play an interpretation of it. Whoever guesses wins that round.

You can also try other topics besides animals. Human feelings for example.

Game Designer

Marcus Staniec (notrightmusic)



Volume Waves

Set up

Each player secretly chooses two people from among the other players and assigns them two roles: Max and Min. This selection will be valid for the entire duration of the game.

Gameplay instructions

Everyone is playing simultaneously in their own pace. Every player sets a slow comfortable rhythm (e.g. "inhale-exhale") to transfer auditory attention alternately from his Max to Min and back (but be careful not to show your current state with sight or posture). When a player is in the stage of listening to his Max, player's volume should change to be lower than that of his Max. When listening to Min, player should play a little louder than Min plays at the moment. Changes between these parts should be as smooth as possible.

You do not have to play "quieter than silence" or "louder than you can". A comfortable limit on the maximum volume of playing is allowed to set.

Players start with the same time of attention directed to their Min and their Max, but in the course of the game, they are tasked to gradually spend more and more time with their Max and less time focusing on Min.

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, each Player bets up to two people who think they chose him as their Min or Max (in the basic version of the game it is also possible that nobody chose us, so you can bet on that option too).

When everyone has their types, each Player informs the other participants who was his Min and
Max so that the players can 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.

Variants

Easier way of changing state between playing to Min and to Max doesn't require keeping any inner rhythm.
Player is tasked to gradually lower one's volume until reaching Max level, then starts 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.



Melody-Go-Round

Set up

Players are to be in a circle facing each other. Choose a leader to start.

Gameplay instructions

The leader starts by playing something four beats long. This is called an “event”. Then the player to the right of the leader will then pick up on it and repeat the event immediately after the leader finishes - but with one small variation.

Afterwards the next person to the right does the same thing, adding his/her variation. Repeat this pattern until it reaches the leader.

When the turn comes back to the leader, every player plays loud noises together for four beats. Then the person to the right of the leader becomes the new leader. The new leader starts a new event, again 4 beats.

Game end

The game continues until every player gets to be a leader. The end.

Gamemaster's notes

  • For most people this game works best using all percussion.
  • I find it helps to have the first leader do a 4 beat count in.
  • Start with a slow or medium tempo.

Variants

  • If you want to play longer: After every player had a chance to be the leader, the original leader can count off at a faster tempo for round 2. Starting with a new event, but faster. Try as many rounds as possible, playing faster each time, until someone completely messes up. Then it’s game over.
  • When coming back to the original leader instead of everyone making noise you can have everyone play a prepared 4 beat motif. A melody, percussive rhythmic pattern, or vocal chant for example.

Game Designer

Marcus Staniec (notrightmusic)



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