LEE BARRY'S COMPOSITION STRATEGY CARDS
Like Brian Eno's Oblique Strategy cards, the Composition Strategy Cards are used as acreative springboard for creating new pieces of music. They are interesting in that everyaspect of the process is reduced to a random event, which eliminates the need to makeconscious choices about what to compose. Very often the decision making process insongwriting can be paralyzing; compounded by the fact that creative decisions have to bemade democratically in a group situation. Use of the cards is a way to break those types of creative blocks.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
The cards are designed like traditional playing cards and have 12 "suits": Rhythm, Tempo,Key, Mood, Abstractions, Arrangement, Melody, Style, Topic, Meter, Treatments andHarmony. In each "suit" are 6-12 Cards, including an "ace". When playing the game in agroup situation, the cards are dealt to each band member, and each person rolls a pair of dice, one numbered 1-6 and the other 7-12, representing the 12 suits. For example, onemight roll 4 and 9, which are, "Topic", and "Mood", and that person will play a card fromthose categories. The player that has the ace gets to play the card of his choice in that suit,even if a card from that category has already been played. For example, if someone hasalready played a "topic" card, the person that holds the ace of topic takes control of thatcategory and can replace that card.
Sample game result:
Rhythm: Staccato 16th NotesTempo: Medium Fast 129-144 BPMKey: F# MinorMood: Religious Darkness (Light that only appears dark)Abstractions: SexArrangement: Work off of a riff Melody: Use an Exotic ScaleStyle: ExperimentalTopic: The Future: Bleak/HopefulMeter: 8/8 (3+3+2)Harmony: No seventhsTreatments: "Clicky" bass
To make a set of cards using the PDF files:
Print each card category on Avery full-sheet labels and put on index cards, or
Export from Acrobat to TIF files and place into Avery 5388 3x5 labels
To make a pair of dice:
Purchase a package of self-drying clay and shape a pair of dice. When dry, use a magicmarker and write the numbers 1-6 on each side one die and 7-12 on the other. (You alsomight want to make another pair and write the categories on them.)
Copyright 1999, Lee Barry. All rights reserved.