Monday, January 21, 2013


from R. Murray Schafer, appears in Hearsing

Two teams are chosen with five to seven players on each side.  The teacher will be referee with a whistle.  Flip a coin to decide which team has possession of the ball first.

The ball is a sound.  This could be a short sung phrase or a short rhythm. 

The captain of the team in possession of the ball sings or claps a phrase and passes it to any member of the team, who must repeat it exactly to pass it to the next member of the team, who passes it on until all members have repeated it.

Meanwhile, the opposing team may make as much noise as they wish, to confuse the player with the ball.  If they succeed or an error is made in repeating the phrase or rhythm, the referee awards the ball to the opposing side.  They begin the process with a new phrase or rhythm in the same manner.

Whenever a team succeeds in passing the ball to all team members, a shot on goal takes place.  The player with the ball “kicks” a theme or rhythm at whatever player on the opposition is designated as goalkeeper.  The theme must be reproduced accurately for a save.  If the save succeeds, the goalkeeper’s team then takes possession of the ball, and the game continues; if the goalkeeper fumbles the save by failing to repeat the theme exactly, the person who made the shot must repeat it again for a goal to count.  This verification is to avoid sounds that would be too complicated to repeat.

I have successfully played this game with groups of people in several countries.  The rules can be explained in two minutes.  The game will move at great speed, and the referee will have to remain constantly on their toes – or rather, on their ears.

Copyright © R. Murray Schafer, 2005.


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