Events (term)

Anything in music terms.


This is a term I use to emphasize endless possibilities in music. In most situations, it can be interchanged with the idea of ‘anything.’
For example, instead of saying, “Play a solo” in a section of a song, I might say “Play an event.” A solo is a defined term that comes with expectations (ex. one featured instrument plays melodically in the foreground). However, an event is giving the player the choice to do whatever s/he wants.
If you absolutely want a solo, in the conventional sense, you need to indicate that clearly by stating to the player to play a solo. If you want to give the player complete freedom, and at the same time emphasize that freedom, it might be a good idea to instruct an event. If the player chooses, s/he can still play a conventional solo. The choice is there.

The distinction is an important one in that it opens up more creative possibilities and freedom to the player/composer.
It should be stressed that events literally mean anything. Of any length. An event can be anything from a riff, a chord, an atmosphere, a bass line, a whole song, a tempo, wild sound effects, a dance, cook a meal, play a game, build a house, nothing, anything!
Events can be used in many areas of creating music. From improvisation, to composition, to playing music games.

If we were to perceive a song in the form of events we can analyze it in micro/meso/macro-levels:

  • Micro-level Events = scale / riff / a chord / singer / keyboard / an old mic / tempo / ect.
  • Meso-level Events = key / a chord sequence / melody / entire instrumentation / folk style / arrangement / ect.
  • Macro-level Events = whole song / performance / performance space / ect.

The song can be perceived as being made up of events of different levels of analysis.

Event Lists

As demonstrated above, events can be chained together, or combined as lists.

  • Ordered Event Lists - Events are written down in a specific sequence that must be played in that order.
  • Free Form Event Lists - Events are written down as a list that can be played freely.

Combinations of the two are possible.

Event Lists can be of any size.

There are many uses for creating Event Lists.
They are often used as a guide for improvisation. For example:

Event List #1

  • Ambient
  • Acoustic only
  • E minor (different minor modes)
  • 10 minutes

With the example given the players must follow the rules given, but are free to play anything else that is not stated in the list. For example, the style, instrumentation type, key, and length are given, but that’s all. Any dynamic can be played since dynamics are not indicated.

Event List Chains

Multiple event lists are created. They can also be ordered or free form.
Many music games can be played using Event List Chains.

Music Games using Events

Music games in 'Games For Music' library will be tagged as 'events'

Event Lists Game Template
Diced Events

Video on the introduction of Events:

Video on Event Lists:

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