Playtesting

Playtesting

I have been commissioned by the Asian Young Musicians Connection out in Taipei, Taiwan to write a new piece for two percussionists. The composer mentor for this year’s AYMC is Richard Tsang (Hong Kong), and he has written extensively about the idea of creative musicking, where the musical sounds in a piece comes from active decisions made by the audience and / or the performers, and whereby the conventional role of the composer-as-genius model is less emphasized.

I was charged to create a piece that would respond to Prof. Tsang’s idea of creative musicking, and I decided that I would experiment with creating a board game for two percussionists, where there would be a clear winner. I thought about all of the board games and gaming experiences that I had enjoyed, and I came up with a map game where the two characters would chase each other in a maze. The theme of the game is the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Here’s a sketch of a possible map setup for the game:

Theseus and the Minotaur

The labyrinth is built with 25 square tiles that can be placed in different configurations by the players. Hence, the gaming experience will be different at every game. There are no game pieces / meeples, and all of the players’ movements are conveyed through different percussion sounds.

I’m not entirely sure what the resulting musical experience would be like for the audience member, but it seems like an exciting start for me to think about creating a piece as a game. I look forward to refining the piece and the rules, and think more about how to create a satisfactory experience for me, for the players, and for the audience.

My friends Sean O’Neil and David Jones have been helping me with this project. More very soon.

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