Choose your own musical adventure

Choose your own musical adventure

Jason Freeman is opening musical scores to audiences of all backgrounds, much like Choose Your Own Adventure novels:

I use technology to make the open score accessible not only to performers but also to audiences, inviting everyone to experience and participate in the work’s creative process. …. The structure is reminiscent of a choose-your-own-adventure novel, of a flow chart, or of the hyperlinked structure of the Internet. Each version of the piece simply follows the arrows to create a unique path through the score. There are an almost infinite number of possible versions.

Only 12.6 percent of American adults play a musical instrument even once per year. And Jason suspects even fewer compose music. As a composer, he’s aiming to change that:

In my work, I blur the traditional divisions between composer, performer and listener, inviting others to make the music along with me. It is not enough for me to share only a polished performance or a mastered audio recording. I want to share the experience of composing music.

Anyone can participate:

Since this printed score is only accessible to musicians who play the piano and read music notation, I also developed an interactive Web site in collaboration with Akito Van Troyer. On the site, anyone can create a remix regardless of musical experience: the notation is graphical and you can hear your version as you build it.

The results are charming and addictive. Piano etudes on observing squirrels, learning to dance, reading a poem, and more.


[Image: Diagram of musical fragments from Jason Freeman’s “Piano Etudes.”]