06/1/13

Improv Game of the Day: Genre Festival!

The Kitchen Sink

The Kitchen Sink (Photo credit: .michael.newman.)

1-8 players. Composer Kevin McLeod offers a plethora of “royalty-free music” on his web site Incompetech (www.incompetech.com). Of special interest to us here at classical music games central is the listing of his music in genres. To wit:

African

Blues

Classical

Contemporary

Disco

Electronica

Funk

Holiday

Horror

Jazz

Latin

Modern

Polka

Pop

Reggae

Rock

Silent Film

Soundtrack

Stings

Unclassifiable

World

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11/27/12

Improv Game of the Day: Economical Beauty

English: Pitch constellation - chromatic pitch...

1-4 players. Your challenge is to create the most beautiful melody possible – using only three pitches of your choice.

Pitches may be repeated at will or played in any register.

With two players, players should decide if pitches chosen may overlap or are exclusive.

An example of exclusive pitch choice using the C scale only might be:

Player 1: CEA

Player 2: DFG

With three players, there will necessarily be some overlap. Example:

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07/18/12

Improv Game of the Day: Domination

Clap Hands

(Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

1 player. The nondominant hand slaps, raps, or taps the lap or table or any handy thumping-noise making object in steady moderate tempo quarter notes. Tap tap tap tap. Once that is established, the dominant hand does one of two things, perhaps in sequence, perhaps (later) mixed together: 1) it sustains a series of different rhythm patterns that either go with the steady quarters or against them (e.g. triplets, offbeats, etc.) 2) it freely solos over the steady beat. In either case, don’t forget the use and power of including silences. The underchallenged may repeat the game, reversing the roles of each hand.

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07/10/12

Improv Game for Horn Players: Role Playing

One great thing about horn camp is that you have time to do all sorts of things that you seldom get the chance to shoehorn in the narrow time slots available to you back at school. I luxuriated in the three hours we had at KBHC (Kendall Betts Horn Camp) every morning to get deep into various topics (my favorite topic this summer was constructing a thread to organize all of horn technique in a progressive way, using video games as one model…). Also fun were the “Open Studios” that were special times when the faculty member could visit other topics and participants could switch from their regular routines to sample the various offerings. My open studios were on Classical Improv, and attendance was the greatest ever. We had a lot of fun working on horn technique and musicality in the context of classical improvisation. I was delighted to work with some wonderfully talented folks, especially high schooler Nikki La Bonte, who, in spite of being a novice at this, instantly seemed to acquire a very experienced ear, which is often a great challenge to classical players – they have to listen in a very different way than they are used to, and quickly understand what they hear and respond. Kudos, Nikki! I also had the pleasure of jamming with Ian Mayton (college sophomore from the U of NC-Greensborough, a student of my friend and colleague Abigail Pack), who was a terrific jamming partner as we made stuff up for about an hour (I also enlisted him to join me in an improvisation on stage that very night. He didn’t hesitate and did great).

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