The Stage of “Interaction”

Besides describing the story's action of the piece, AGame describes the many ways improvisers can play with each other. A-Game does this by describing forms of improvisation that already exist, but of course, more can be invented. Well-known forms such as call-response have become terms under this category. In AGame, listening is still required, but the stages are outlined to break up participant’s attention into chunks.

Of course, there are many advantages to using words to describe interaction. The best advantage of AGame is that many performers of varied experience levels can play together. Experienced players can be confident but not over-controlling, and less experiences players don't get lost or mislead other players as easily.

There is also the advantage in production of integrating volunteer participants who cannot commit to all rehearsals. People who can attend less of the rehearsals can still support the main outline. This means peripheral participants can be part of the audience who are delighted and surprised by the dedication of those who devoted more work and talent to contributing. Once someone is familiar with how Agame works, almost any visiting performer or groups of performers can be invited in to make themselves part of the production appropriately. All that is needed is for the visitors or audience to know the indications from a Signaler. Appropriate participatory actions can be tacitly indicated throughout the performance to any member(s) of the audience, (as everyone knows how to clap in appreciation at the end of a performance.)

Function Equals Meaning

In AGame, traditional terms have been renamed to describe their function directly, especially using short words. These terms were originally tailored for use in outlining many types of sounds and actions, including non-traditional musical instruments. You may alter them as you see fit.

For instance if you are playing with many traditionally trained musicians, it's probably better to use the terms they know. Performers can agree on their own short-hand. For instance, you could agree that "broken line" means playing arpeggio sounds in random timing. The most important consideration is that participants can accept and play with whatever the response everyone else offers to any particular word.

These terms below were chosen for their brevity. They were also used because of their application to not just music, but performance on non-traditional instruments and sounds (and actions, including choreography.) These terms came from micro-tonal instruments that had no notation available.

Arrange Game: The Interacting Stage:

Same: General unspecified playing, or keep doing the same type of playing already going on

Line: an improvised sequence of sounds created while following or leading; a melody

Same-line Playing a memorized melody, and improvising the accompaniment.

Same-chord The sequence (progression) or pattern of chords are memorized and agreed on,

other melody line parts are up to the players to vary.

Same-vary-line; Same-vary-rhythm; Same-vary-chording:

Players think of a memorized sequence of sounds, (melody) lines, rhythms, chord patterns or a chord

progression, while they play their own (harmonizing) variations of it.

Stop solo: everyone else stops playing and allows this role to be featured for awhile

Soft solo: Whoever was playing, now plays softer to allow one role to be featured and supported

Group Copy solo: call response #1; group copies or mimics (part of) the phrase, (words?) of a stop solo

Group answer solo: call response# 2; group repeatedly answers solo with a repeating phrase

Delay copy solo: 2nd role repeatedly copies or mimics parts of the first solo, playing can overlap

Mimic: imitating a role or auditory cliché, with exaggeration, emphasis, sarcasm or changing dynamics

Hit -solo -rhythm -drone: Group punctuates together in unison on a brief rhythm pattern, solo, or sound

Group drone: as in group drone-chording, -line, -tone, -click track, etc.

Converging on a chording, line, tone, or click track (as bands can do when ending a piece.) Timed

with signals, or use with delay-stop (taper & drop out) or delay-increase (increase pulse or dynamics, etc.)

Drone: Constant hum, buzz, tone, cricket or other relatively sustained sound

Delay Drone line, Delay Drone Chording: playing sustained or rhythmically sounded lines or chords

that change with the root or harmonic of the call line; As in a bass-line pattern that is sustained for

a phrase to support a line of melody, or for a rhythmically patterned chord progression

Switching: alternating, player switch places, continuing their respective roles,

can be combined, and of different types, for instance:

Call/keeper Switch: The call theme and keeper switch roles, (keeping their respective group of

supporters-developers, if they have them)

Stop-solo supporter/call switch: supporter plays solo, then becomes the caller and

caller is now supporter. Back-same, switching back to their original loyalties

Vary: -speed; vary the rate of playing.

Vary-hold chord; vary timing of how you hold clustered sounds. Vary-volume: vary loud/soft.

Vary-cycle: vary when the rhythm or the pattern repeats, ie: as in singing a round

Vary-other: Vary another action. If other player is Vary-volume, you would vary VO-speed, or VO-hold.

Phrasing: the paragraphs of music; when a measure comes to a pause, a breath

Chording: Simultaneous clustered sounding. It can be of different types:

Timed (Harmonious) Chording or Un-timed (Chaotic) Chording

Harmonious or chaotic sustained sounding in a pattern or cycle (rhythmic, phrase or current)

Group-loyalty-on Caller(s) and Contraster(s) with their respective supporters/developers, would continue

their loyalty to Call or Contrast as the next parts continue, until Group-loyalty-off

Current -volume -rhythm: swung rhythm patterns or dynamics moving across a line of onstage players.

Leave Out -rhythm, -chord: vary or accent by leaving out or fragmenting parts of the rhythm, chord, etc.

Group Leave Out: Everyone leaves out (different) parts or accents of whatever they were playing

Leave Out Phrasing: Break long lines of sounds into smaller groups or chunks with silent spaces between

copyright 1999 Franis Engel