LE JEU DU DÉGOÛT ET DU DÉSESPOIR qui est le JEU DU DEBOUT ET DE LA POIRE qui est le JEU des dessous de la foire de la foire du dessous
The Game of Disgust and Despair which is the Game of Standing and the Pear which is the Game of the Hidden Mess from the Fair from Below

Game Music for 9 players musicians. 9? to sound 1 being surrounded by 4 + another 1 surrouded by 3, and other relationship combinations?
No. After discussion with Adam, there is no limitation about the number of players-performers, or: from 1 to 64, even more coming, leaving.

from 1989 by Mathius Shadow-Sky

Game Music Score
Notice that: The game of Disgust an Despair was not created to create desolation in players' mind quite the opposit.
[game-music; game-score; game-music-score; non-agressive-game-music-score; non-strategic-game-music-score]:


1rst instructions of the music-game: The Game of Disgust and Despair

There is 64 linked squares. Each square describes an unique sonic attitude, a behaviour, a remarkable identity to perform (=> which are, in this music-game 64 remarkable identities). Each sonic-attitude/music-behaviour in a square depends from others aroud, according of the neighbouring squares' attitude. I.e. if a musicians is performing a square nearby, that will change the musical attitude of the performed square. The game is a causes-effects in chain (explain its name). If one musician is surrounded (= blocked) by 4 musicians, s/he has no choice to repeat her/his sonic attitude according to the 4 attitudes s/he is surrounded nearby = 4 possible variations. Itself, each sonic attitude/music-behaviour, from each 64 squares is a recognizable identity. Means that each of the 9 music instruments performing the same square, the sonic attitude is immediately recognized. The purpose of the game is to hear how music-behaviours sound in time the similar and the differences, the independency sounding difference and the regroupment sounding similarities until the total cloning or itrs opposite. Which is in our social contexts the choice is or you are attracted by ditatorship or you are attracted by freedom. Both can exist too at the same time. The Game of Disgust and Despair which is the Game of Standing and the Pear which is the Game of the Hidden Mess from the Fair from Below gives a game of massive humain possible interactions.

1989 game-music-score created by Mathius Shadow-Sky bigger format inside

Each of 64 squares of this board
can be detached and stick to a big map in certain location.
One per location.
The paths between the squares-houses
has to go through possible routes (not impossible ones).
This creates a bigger board where more musicians can play,
Even an orchestra of 64 musicians, each one located in one square, or not...

[2018 publication of 1989 (11/01) creation]


Discussion for precisions with Adam Izaak Wasążnik about The Game of Disgust and Despair

Adam - Still, that's the listener's perspective. For music games, I feel that the experience of performing them might have more potential than passive witnessing. The border between performance and rehearsal blurs this way. But how to achieve the situation when as many people as possible plays music games? From this perspective "The game of disgust and despair" caught my eye especially. Because it can be performed with diverse instrumentation (no special equipment), with diverse skill levels, and it has a geometric organization, that seems to provide a very natural method of learning it by playing (not only by analysing). I imagine that players could start with smaller sets of symbols, for example 4x4 for 5 performers and this way arrive later at the full composition. (This is the same didactic method used in Go, my favorite game, where you start with 9x9 which later leads to 19x19 board). Does this fit your concept or do you consider the full 64 total as undividable?

Mathius - you are absolutely right Adam :) starting with a smaller set of symbols and players is the way to increase your abilities to play. Notice that "The game of disgust and despair" is unfinished due to my state at that time being disgusted and despaired! The full title of the game is: "The game of disgust and despair which is the game of standing and of the pear which is the game of the unseen facts of the mess or the mess of underwears", rejoicing! in French it rhymes and the 1rst sense is hiding an other one behind... But the name of the game is not the title of the game which is... also the name of the title is not the title of the name... ah ah, I Iove the Lewis Carroll's logic!

Adam - But also for this game as for cues within the squares, how much do you treat the musical qualities to be performed as free and open? Do you feel that there is a strong composer intention as for sound, a canon to be followed or that aesthetic choices are to be taken mostly by performers and the most important restriction is for the locations to be distinguishable by ear?

Mathius - Good question! As I said, the music-game is not finished. In this case there is several possibles. Or the music-game is developed by others, or I can do something if more precisions are required. But the founder sense, the motivation's engine of this music-game is hide and seek i.e. the identification of the differences and not be able to be identified, by staying hidden by mimicry from partial to complete camouflage = sounding the same (mimicries -copied behaviours- are links to joint differences by assimilation). The variation of the identifiable difference is done by mimicry! The purpose is not to be surrounded by 4 players to disappear in the copy by being not yourself repeating the same pattern (is the signal that a player is trapped). In this case the hidden player behind mimicry leaves the game, or not, if there is an exit to escape the trap, there is always a way. In the case all players are on the same symbol, all play the same identifiable. Because of this identifiable/not identifiable sonic situation, this music-game should be played in the dark, to emphasise the listening (with just a spot light on the symbols board with pawns). To perform the sonic copy, a same musical instrument is necessary for each player, and + one different to be different is possible. Of course there is nothing to win just the musical result, or you like the music result, or not :) Which the musical result is tightly depending on the players' behaviour. This game behave as an auto adjustment of yourself among the others.

Adam - I have music games meetings openly, and coincidentally I have them in the place that at the Warsaw cultural map is connected to ethnic music (mostly Polish, Hungarian, and also French). People come with fiddles or hurdy-gurdys and with their ideas and expectations about what music is.

Mathius - In this case there is a paradox! They come with their tradition to play a new approach to music?

Adam - They meet people who favor for example jazz or found sound, and to my experience, there might happen sort of a competition about shaping the music that results from the game.

Mathius - But my will to create music with games or with the help the gamer state of mind is to create a new form of music and to make musicians understand (from any genre) the zero level possible for music, its birth (considering the vibration generated by the instrument without judgement of in what genre it should be) or what was music before its division, its partition in different genres for different social classes. It is more obvious in France where people are choosing what to listen according to their social class as the flag representing their political sympathy (sic). Classical is bourgeois, jazz is socialist, rock is anarchist, folk song is farmer, etc. And being divided in class inside a genre too... Most of people need to feel they belong to a group: independence is the harder way to recognize yourself. In the game music, known music genres are unnecessary, even has to be avoid, because it reduces the several possible choices.

Adam - For example "Why didn't we end at that perfect spot?" approach clashes with "If it lasts less than a minute it's not really a piece" and so on - different approaches.

Mathius - I choose to act music through game to avoid these kind of considerations.

Adam - Everyone has some preferences, that's a good thing, but it's quite difficult to make a game that is a good platform for sharing and negotiating the very concept of music.

Mathius - Indeed, it is why I gave a basic rule (for all my music game): 'erase every thing you believe to know, before starting to play'. This rule I apply constantly in my music game creation until to forget it! Because it is essential.

Adam - A game that is good to play for many people not just those that have similar ideas about music as the creator of the game.

Mathius - So, the best way to play, is to not have any idea about the game and the music (or worst: preconceived idea or received idea from others). With No idea at all, is even better to start. Or to make oneself forget any memory of what should be play to perform. This gives the only way of the ability to create different music, out of genre, and other from the ones already known.

Adam - Imagine that during the course of the playing your board gets smaller and smaller. There will be more interactions despite fewer and fewer players. That could work.

Mathius - That could be one of the several consequences possible of the game, but by reducing the board, it will reduce de variety of identities to sound different. Finishing with 5 squares in the board will provoke a chord of unison. Or an assimilarisation (= assimilation + similarisation). Or the end of freedom. And that could explain the title of the game!

Adam - You mention elements like playing in the dark and having one family of instruments. Do you consider that a crucial part of playing or it's more for a spectacle? (Again asking from the meeting perspective - we meet in the afternoon with diverse instruments and no audience).

Mathius - It is a suggestion. Darkness, favours to listen. Having one family of instrument (as a consort) makes easier to produce identical sounds (these are suggestions not obligations). The game is not a spectacle, because gamers are too busy to pay attention to any audience (audience is free to come and to leave), and more, if the game is more difficult. Game music recreates, reinvents the basic function of the concert.

Adam - I usually favor the very decisions that players make, over every other aspect of potential experience, because this agency is so unique to games. Choices and their horizons are usually the essence of the game for me, but I wonder if you treat it otherwise.

Mathius - How can you play without choosing? If there is no choices, the game is not possible. And more there are choices, more the game becomes complex, and more you feel free. Consequences of choices create unexpected surprises (if the game is well done) and these unexpected surprises generate enjoyment to experience it.

Adam - The presence of pawns surprised me.

Mathius - How you can located yourself in which square of the board you are without a small object representing you?

Adam - Do players also see the board or is it rather for spectators?

Mathius - How players can play without the board? For me the board is the map to locate oneself according to others.

Adam - I would expect that the exact process for that part must be one of the more difficult to finish.

Mathius - the game is finished when nobody can play any more. This from several consequences possible. Or the ones trapped, in a square obliged to copy the behaviour of their surrounders, leave the game (= stop to play); which means that the density of the music will decrease in the duration of the part. Or the ones trapped, in a square obliged to copy the behaviour of their surrounders, stays in the game, to find a solution to get out from his/her trap. In this case the player has to find an exit to escape. To create an exit, one of the surrounder has to get focused to an other surrounding, to leave her/his blocking square. Many solutions exist. So the trapped player has to find a way to focus one of the surrounders for her/him to escape elsewhere in a new identity (represented by housing an other square). The game has 3 way to be finished: 1. or all players are assimilarisated (= cloned) playing same sound, or every players are individualised (= humans) playing different sounded remarkable identities. In other words, or the players choose a dictatorship, or they choose freedom, or 3. both. In this 3rd ending, it is not an ending. It is an opening. I like to stop the music during the opening!

Adam - The timing of movement or responsibility for moving the pawns for 9 players, whether it is done by one other person, one by one (slowly), or by crowding around the board (and with instruments) or maybe with some technology?

Mathius - I think the game must get rid of the number of players limitation. It has no more sense. In 1987, I supposed an ensemble of 9 musicians to create the music. Today, it could be 64 to 5 until 1 left alone to play, and then, where others come unexpectedly, where 2 leave, etc. Which implies that, more movements there is in the game by players, more the music will be varied. If 64 players are each one in a square that will creates 64 different identity at the same time (a choice that cannot be forbidden). I consider the board as a map, where players localise each-self. That idea shapes most of my music compositions. One by one is possible, but it is not a rule. The crowd around is possible, but it is not a rule. Let's resolve that problem the way to enjoy everybody! Let's deploy a big map (paper or electric or electronic, what ever) where it can be: on the floor, on the wall, on the ceiling, or everywhere, according to the players feeling comfortable to play; and: stick in different locations of the map, the 64 independent squares representing 64 remarkable unique sonic identities. Between these square, mark a path where it is possible to go through according to the context of the mapped land. That will increase the dimensions of the board, and at the same time adding paths between squares to sound (to be noticed or not). The larger is the map, easiest will be to hide squares. Why to hide squares? To increase the difficulty of the game. The pawns inform other players where the others are located to choose consequently the square where to go to sound. Also, a path between 2 squares sounds the mix of the 2 identities of the 2 squares where one is fading in and the other is fading out approaching the new square. So in this case, how to move your pawn at the same time to perform your instrument? You don't. You place your pawn where you want to go (not where you are allowed to go like in the 'snakes and ladders' game, decided by dices). Independently if you will arrive or not. If you never arrive where you wanted to go, you will find a time to put your pawn where you are stuck or trapped. Indeed, that move will create a silence.

Adam - In Poland, it's a popular hobby (from what I read it's more so than in France) and I go sometimes with instruments to board games festivals to have workshops.

Mathius - Wow! That sounds great! Indeed in France, there is nothing about game music's interest, or I don't known. The cultural level in France became quite low and in Toulouse let say: it is a catastrophe.

Adam - Because board games...

Mathius - notice that 'board games' in French it is named: 'society games'... (for people to interact between them).

Adam - ...are such a strong inspiration for us at Warsaw meetings, we use this mechanic quite a lot. But we most often don't use pawns, for practical and pacing reasons. It is usually assumed that everyone will know all the time at what place they are (if they occupy a single spot and don't have to remember many at once). If you need to know where others are, you need to hear it in their music.

Mathius - OK :) great, of course this is the best solution! more difficult? But I like the idea of the 64 squares stick in the big map (of Warsaw?) hidden as possible with possible paths between them to enrich the game!

Adam - With this approach 9 players for a game would be quite a lot and it would require a considerable amount of skill, to listen fast, recognize, imagine and remember much. Maybe it's actually not necessary to identify position of all players, but just to check if the place I want to go is free or taken, but with 5 players for example it's still much easier than with 9. Anyway this would be against your direction to have more and more players.

Mathius - Of course for sure I understand. The Game of Disgust and Despair can be played performed by 1 player too. From 1 to 64, the number is not fixed, some players can leave, others can come in, etc. Imagine with 64 players at the same time, like a symphonic orchestra! ah ah! That would be a challenge! Very exciting one! = how to decondition to uneducate to reeducate educated musicians to obey? This was a music game entitled: 'Score out' I created in 1987 without any writing at all. Imagine the reaction of the conductors of the French symphonic orchestras I sent that music proposal: they scorned me telling: "are you mad! young inconsequent." Ah ah. 9 years after, I started The Trans-Cultural Syn-Phônê Orchestras...

Adam - But what is the rule that makes the game ended? Does it end after the timer?

Mathius - A timer? Oh no! As I said: the game ends when: "1. or all players are assimilarisated (= cloned) playing the same sound; or 2. every players are individualised (= humans) playing different identifiable sounds; or 3. both." but the situation is not the rule of the game, it is a result of what could happen. The end of the game is realised by the interaction, and then by choice: the choice to leave the game (for any personal reason). The game stops because nobody plays any more. We have to precise that... Which brought us to your last question: "If you write that something is possible, do you mean that you will decide later or that you leave that to players?" you need to explain (= unfold) to me what you have in mind. In the Go game, for example, the part is finished when one of the player cannot move. In the chess game when the king cannot move. In The Game of Disgust and Despair, there is an additional possibility: the game can finish when everybody is free to be oneself.



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