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playing, music

Presented at Gaminomics 2015

James Saunders

on 17 June 2015

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Transcript of playing, music

Alison Knowles: Proposition (1962)

Howard Skempton: Campanella (1982)

Brian Ferneyhough: Second String Quartet (1982)

come and say hello to me here

or here

or here

or here
Crawford, Chris. 2003. Chris Crawford on Game Design. New Riders.

G. Douglas Barrett: A Few Silence
(location, date, time of performance) (2008)

playing, music
James Saunders
Two (very) broad approaches to scoring
1 - what and when (result oriented)
2 - how (process oriented)
How can behaviour and decision-making by musicians in a performance be used as a way to create music?
Simple rules can be used to create complex results.
Process pieces like these are indeterminate
inputs (resources, people)

transformation (rules, constraints)

output (play, perform)

Process pieces are in many cases similar to games
things whole and not whole (2011)
some examples
here's the score
and here's Basel Sinfonietta rehearsing it for the first time
a response to research into the way flocking behaviours emerge in groups of birds.
Some elementary gamelike behaviours are apparent.
This is what Chris Crawford says
it is this
hopefully it has this
occasionally it makes this
it kind of has these
progress through the space of the piece is compromised by the choices we make, and that others make.
influence over the final result, but no one person has control over that result.
not really a game as neither of these
general goal implied: follow the rules, produce sound carefully > but agency is limited by narrow window of autonomy provided by the rules.
sense of conflict is largely absent > lack of intent in the blockages created by waiting for cues > everyone is just doing what they are told
things to do (2012- )
currently eight individual pieces (you can see three of them below)
some conflict
All the pieces use the same system > have a look at the scores > lots of sound sources in categories, spoken cue words
They differ through constraints placed on who gives and receives instructions and who makes the sounds.
Permutations of these variables creates different emergent social structures

I presented something similar to this at on 11.06.15 (but with some very nice people helping me out)
how to make this more gamelike?
here are three of the scores, with videos of some performances
Conflict is apparent
Instruction givers vie for control of the situation: dominate, subservient
Goal not defined; no win state
Goals must be determined individually by the players; like roleplaying
goal is to achieve consensus
non-verbal negotiation of process
These pieces are an attempt to explore the way we act in the world translated as music
Two questions:
what constitutes a goal?
how can goals can be mapped on to more fundamental challenges?
all voices are heard (2015)
this performance uses lists of words, but it can also use instruments
Full transcript