Improv Game of the Day: In the Zone

Major and minor triads on white piano keys

(Photo credit: Cuito Cuanavale)

1-4 players. Players pick a major key, preferably a less familiar key. Each player decides on a “zone”, i.e. a range of five adjacent tones. Example in the key of C: Player 1: C D E F G. Player 2: E F G A B. Player 3: A B C D E. Player 4: D E F G A. Choose a comfortable register. Players must stay within this range and share the same beat or pulse; they are encouraged to experiment with the various parameters of music: note value, articulation, register, dynamics, note length, meter. Players should steal much of their material from the other players (rhythm, melodic shape, dynamics, etc.)

Variation 1: Players must only use their “zone” notes, but they may use them in any register.

Variation 2: Try different size zones, e.g. seconds, thirds, fourths, sixths.

Variation 3: Have each player pick a different size zone.


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