A MUSIC VERSION OF THE GLASS PLATE GAME

     For several years I have been interested in the possibility
of designing a version of the Glass Plate Game dealing specifically
with the subject of music.  I have been thinking primarily of its
potential as an educational tool for use in the classroom.  The
subject and experience of music is remarkably mutidimensional, and
can be considered from many contrasting perspectives.  A game which
encourages synthesizing some of those perspectives would provide
a desirable tool for the music educator.
     
     Traditional methods of teaching esthetic disciplines have
emphasized the study of the most objective, hence most easily
verbalized, elements of that discipline.  I believe such a use of
verbalization can play an essential role in good teaching, but only
when its limitations are recognized, and when its role is not too
central to the teaching process.  Certainly a mode of thinking
which promotes the search for "the right answer", and that in
words, will limit the students' chances of discovering other rich
and more flexible means of gaining access to any aspect of of the
study of music and the musical experience.  The structure of the
Glass Plate Game provides an excellent means by which to enter a
largely verbal consideration of music, without focusing on the
linear thinking often associated with class lectures / discussions. 
Since the Glass Plate Game placing such a premium on finding
dynamic connections rather than on seeking objective answers, it
can provide both the model for this more comprehensive use of
verbal language, and the opportunity for students to practice and
develop skills in making those connections.  Equally important, the
incorporation of the visual symbol on each card also encourages the
use of a nonverbal perceptual mode to approach the nonverbal
experience of sound.  In the final analysis, synthesis of the
widest variety of verbal and nonverbal experience is not only
desirable, but inevitable if the best learning is to take place. 
John Holt's description of understanding and learning directly
summarizes some of the different aspects of this synthesis:

"I feel I understand something if and when I can do some at least
of the following: 1. State it in my own words. 2. Give examples of
it.  3. Recognize it in various guises and circumstances.  4. See
connections between it and other facts or ideas.  5. Make uses of
it in various ways.  6. Foresee some of its consequences.  7. 
State its opposite or converse.  8. This list is only a beginning,
but it may help us in the future to find out what our students
really know as opposed to what they can give the appearance of
knowing.  9. Ther *real learning* as opposed to their *apparent
learning*. " (John Holt: HOW CHILDREN FAIL. Pitman, N.Y. 1964.

     The music version I propose would benefit from having one or
several leaders to loosely monitor the progress of the conversation.
In experimental uses of the game in my college classes, I have served
as leader.  I prepared a list of topics that I waanted to be certain
were included in the term's discussion, and asked for student
volunteers to make their own symbols for these topics.  I also asked
for these volunteers to include two or three cards of their own
creation, employing topics or concepts of particular interest, or
which they wished to discuss in greater detail.

     I divided possible cards into three catagories;  (1) those
that deal with fundamental life experiences (life ... death, joy
... sorrow, etc.)  2. those that employ terms found in more than
one field or discipline (balance, tension, coherence, function,
equivalence, image, expectation, drive, flow, color, organization,
etc.)  (3) and finally a catagory of jargon specific to the topic
of music (sonata, dance, susite, tonic triad, tone row, etc.).  If
the Glass Plate Game were used as a simple review tool players
would probably use cards taken primarily from the third catagory. 
However, my hope would be that the leaders and players would
structure the choice of cards in a way that would insure some
inclusion from all three catagories.

     I have also experimentked with using a single musical theme
such as Bethoven's *Fifth Symphony*, as the central focus of a
playing.  In that case, topics were selected from Bethoven's life,
the society and politics of the time, the structure of the piece,
the Romantic spirit, the development of musical materials, in
short, any idea of interest that could be related to the *Fifth
Symphony*

     At present, I am gathering and selecting possible topics for
the music version, and am hoping to receive suggestions for the
Game as well as for individual cards from GPG players.

     The following are possible topics for the music deck, but
topics could be chosen according to the age and interests of the
class.  A different deck would obviously result in different and
interesting results in play.

  ton color / timbre
  dynamic / intensity (crescendo / diminuendo
  silence / rests / pauses
  pitch / frequency
  disonance...consonance / tension...relaxation
  harmony / texture
  rhythm / duration / pulse
  key / scale
  accent / emphasis
  repetition...contrast
  imitation (canon, round, fugue, free)
  overtone series
  organization - hierarchy (from active - phrase - phrase group
through larger forms: binary, ternary, rondo, sonata, allegro,
symphony, cantata, oratorio, songle cycle, ballet, etc.)
  motion - parallel, contrary, similar, oblique
  variation: harmonization, ebellishment / ornamentation,
compression
  accompaniaament
  medium of performance (string quartet, symphony, rock band, etc.
  melody / theme / subject
  notation
  gesture / shape - conjunct...disjunct
  perception - aesthetics
  improvisation
  mood - joy, sorrow, peace, nostalgic, etc.
  pattern
  image / visualizing
  one person's music is not another's
  music evokiing response not already experienced
  artistic dilemna - making $ and / or art
  creative urge
  functional music / rituall music - religious, military, athletic,
political, social
  sensation

     I am also considering ways in which actual musical sounds
might be incorporated into a playing of the Game, either to make
connections, pose questions, or to offer nonverbal commentary or
discussion.  Comments and suggestions are welcome.  Please write
to:  
    The Committee for the Game
    P.O. 237
    Corvallis, Oregon 97339

            Duane Heller
            Corvallis, 1/7/86