Shackle is Anne La Berge on flute and electronics and Robert van Heumen on laptop-instrument. Their aim is to explicitly and subtly exploit shackling in both concept and material.

Shackle Affair: Shackle Multiplayer Music Game

by Robert on January 16, 2013

We developed the Shackle Multiplayer Music Game as the analog counterpart to our digital cueing system The Shackle System. The game is used regulary by ourselves during Converging Objects workshops as an example and exercise in structuring improvisation. The game is also included in the Shackle Stick package.

A multiplayer music game.

Setup: This is a musical improvisation game for 2-5 players. The Shackle deck contains 70 cards: 60 Section cards, 5 Cancel cards and 5 Next cards. The number of sections to be used in the game and the musical parameters for those sections are defined by the players before the game. There are 20 different section names and each section name has 3 variations on its musical parameters. One player is appointed the role of conductor. The other players receive a Cancel and a Next card. The conductor shuffles and holds the rest of the deck. The extra Cancel and Next cards are set aside.

Play: The conductor draws a card from the top of the deck and shows it to all the players for 10 seconds. This is a proposal to improvise on the musical parameters defined for the section on the card. If one of the players holds up a Cancel card within these 10 seconds, the conductor puts the proposal card anywhere in the deck and draws another proposal card from the top of the deck. If no one shows a Cancel card then the conductor puts the proposal card where it can be seen by all players and the proposed section is played. The conductor can draw a new proposal card at any time and this procedure is repeated. The conductor and players continue this procedure of proposal and play unless a player holds up a Next card which indicates that the conductor should draw a new proposal card from the top of the deck and hold it up for 10 seconds to propose the next section to be played. Players again have the right to cancel the proposed section by holding up a Cancel card within these 10 seconds.

Play continues until the players mutually decide that they are finished. An overall length can be agreed to beforehand. Players are encouraged to experiment with variations on these rules. Musical decisions take precedence over the rules.