June 02, 2010

Disneyland Queue

I dreamt early this morning about a card game / concept minimalist piece, designed to be played by musicians waiting at dawn to get into an amusement park. It should be performed by four or five instrumentalists (not singers) with instruments of roughly the same loudness (i.e., no horns paired with unamplified ukuleles).

Each musician plays a note designated by which card he plays. He plays that same note over and over with free, improvised rubato rhythms, until it is his turn to play another card. He fades the last note out, plays his card, takes another card from the deck into his hand, and begins to play the note designated by the card he just played. (Whether or not he only plays the note in a single octave, or jumps around, is up to the performers.)

The details of the card game, which I found confusing in my dream, may evolve a bit once we've tinkered with the details.

The deck, including jokers, is shuffled and each musician is dealt five cards. Each player always has five cards in his hand, replenishing one from the deck once they've played their new card, until the deck runs out.

The note-designations for each card:

Ace - A
2 - B
3 - C
4 - D
5 - E
6 - F
7 - G
8 - A
9 - B
10 - C
J - D
Q - E
K - F

Joker - any black note of the player's choice.

Any player with an ace of any suit goes first and begins to play an A. (If no one has an ace, the youngest player plays their lowest card.) If anyone has the card of the same suit three steps above the card played (or a musical fourth), they must go next. (I presume non-verbal eye contact is the best way to communicate whether anyone has the necessary card.) So, if the first player plays the Ace of Hearts, and someone has the 4 of Hearts, he will play it and he will begin to play a D. (The first player continues to play the A until it is his turn again.) If no one has that card, the player to the left (clockwise) can play any card he pleases. Then, again, if anyone has a card of the same suit exactly three cards higher (or a musical fourth, with the occasional tritone.) Ace is both high and low, and the entire scale is circular, so if a player plays a Queen of Spades (an E) the next card played would be three higher, the 2 of Spades (a B) which in these cases will be a musical fifth. Again, if no one has this card because it has already been played or because it is still in the deck, the player to the left can play any card he wants. (Don't forget to draw a new card from the deck into your hand before your start playing your note, because it might be harder to replenish your hand once you've started playing.) A joker can be any sharp or flat note, after which the player to the left goes next.

This piece can be performed as leisurely as the performers choose - they can wait many minutes between turns, or hurry thru the fifty-four cards in real time. It is up to whoever's turn it is to decide how fast he wants to change notes. Obviously, the piece is over when every card has been played, and the musicians may either stop together, one at a time, or fade out.

The dynamics and style of performing your repeated notes are left entirely up to the group and individual players. I think the duration of each note should constantly vary, in a sort of rhythmless rubato, and avoid pulsing deliberately with the other performers.

It's called "Disneyland Queue" because it was designed, in my dream, to be an entertainment / diversion while waiting in line to get into an amusement part. This was the title from the dream, so I figure I should stick with it. However, it can be played anywhere for any reason, of course, not necessarily in a parking lot in Anaheim.

1 comment:

Brains said...

Group trip I propose Disneyland! We must test this game/dream.

It's OK. We won't be selling out if we read Baudrillard's "Simulacra & Simulation" essay beforehand.