Game piece (music)

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Game piece is a concept of experimental music having its roots with composers Iannis Xenakis, Christian Wolff[need quotation to verify] and John Zorn. Game pieces may be considered controlled improvisation.[1][page needed] An essential characteristic is that there is no pre-arranged sequence of events. They unfold freely according to certain rules, like in a sports game. Therefore, game pieces have elements of improvisation. A number of methods can be used to determine the direction and evolution of the music, including hand gestures and shuffled cards, as in his file-card compositions. Zorn's game piece "Cobra", which has been recorded several times for various labels, uses a combination of cards and gestures and can be performed by an ensemble of any size and composition. Zorn's game pieces, written in the late 1970s and mid-1980s, include Cobra, Hockey, Lacrosse, and Xu Feng.[1] His file-card compositions include Spillane and Godard.[1]

As well as a sports game, a game piece may also be considered analogous to language: The performance is directed by a well defined set of rules (a grammar) but by no means fixed or predetermined (just as all sentences generated by the same grammar are not the same). The length of a piece may be arbitrary, just as a sentence can be of any imaginable length while still conforming to a strictly defined syntax.

In Formalized Music (1992), Iannis Xenakis mentions two pieces in his oeuvre that utilize game theory: Duel (1959) and Stratégie (1962).[2] This first of these, Duel, involves an orchestra that is broken into two groups, each with a separate conductor. Each conductor chooses from a palette of six modules, and points are assigned to each conductor based on the combinations of modules that occurred. Stratégie expands this process to a larger orchestra, and it simplifies the rules to make performance easier.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Brackett, John. John Zorn: Tradition and Transgression, p.xi. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-253-22025-7.
  2. ^ Xenakis, Iannis (1992). Formalized Music. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press. pp. viii. 
  3. ^ Harley, James (2011). Xenakis: His Life in Music. New York: New York. pp. 23–24. 
  • Bailey, Derek: Improvisation. Its nature and practise in music, 1992, pp. 75–78.
  • Beresford, Steve: "John Zorn interviewed", in: Resonance. Published by London Musician's Collective vol.2, nr. 2, summer, 1994.
  • Cox, Christoph and Warner, Daniel: "The Game Pieces", in: Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music, New York (Continuum), 2004, pp. 196–200.
  • Harley, James. Xenakis: His Life in Music. New York: Routledge, 2011.
  • Huesmann, Günther: "John Zorn. Über die Verfügbarkeit der Töne" i Ohnesorg, Faanz Xaver: Die Befreiung der Musik. Eine Einführung in die Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts. Köln (Gustav Lübbe Verlag), 1994.
  • Lange, Art: Article in booklet of Zorn (1991;I1),
  • Lange, Art: "Der Architekt der Spiele. Gespräch mit John Zorn über seine musikalischen Regelsysteme", Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 2, 1991.
  • Mandel, Howard: "Howard Mandel interview John Zorn", EAR Magazine Vol. II no. 2, oct., 1986. LOGOS.
  • Mandel, Howard: "Ich habe viele kleine Tricks". John Zorn interview. MusikTexte 23, Febr., 1988.
  • Mandel, Howard: "Guerilla Strategist: John Zorn interviewed by Howard Mandel", Resonance vol. 6 nr. 1, 1997.
  • McGuire, John: "Spiele um des Spiels willen. Der New Yorker Komponist und Musiker John Zorn. MusikTexte 23, February 1988.
  • Rovere, Walter; Chiti, Carlo in collaboration with Achilli, Alessandro; chadbourne, Eugene; Coralli, Michele; Romero, Enrico: Itinerari oltre il suono. John Zorn. In Italian and English, Milano/Valdarno (Materiali Sonori Edizioni Musicali snc) 1998.
  • Solothurnmann, Jürg: "Trickfilmmusik" (1986), Landolt, Patrik; Wyss Ruedi (ed.): Die lachenden Aussenseiter. Musikerinnen und Musiker zwischen Jazz, Rock und neuer Musik. Die 80er und 90er Jahre. Ein Buch der Wochenzeitung (WOZ) im Rotpunktverlag. Zürich (Rotpunktverlag), 1993.
  • Watrous, Peter: sleeve notes for John Zorn: Cobra. 2 LP-sæt, hatART 2034, 1986.
  • Whitehead, Kevin, "A Field Guide To Cobra," Pulse!, November 1994.
  • Xenakis, Iannis. Formalized Music. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1992.