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The Compositionals: An Introduction

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The 34 Compositional Cards in the Muzoracle deck are based on concepts, elements, and processes used by composers or in composition. While generally referred to as a single group, the Compositionals are actually divided into three subcategories: Elementals, Directives, and Expressives.

The 21 Elementals are just that: elemental. They can refer to the basic building blocks of music, such as Melody and Rhythm; to tools employed by the composer, such as Editing and Listening; or to elements that occur in a musical composition, such as an Obbligato or an Ossia.

There are 8 Directives in the deck; they are the light grey cards with musical staves on them. The Directives are based on navigation instructions found in a musical score: things like Accelerando and Ritardando, which tell us how fast to go, or Crescendo and Diminuendo, which speak of force; or things like Al Segno and Al Coda, which function like road signs, pointing us in a certain direction. The Directives are unique in that they can be interpreted as actual instructions to the querent: go here, go there, speed up, quiet down. They’re not always instructions, though; much of the time they just describe what’s at hand.

The 5 Expressives are Directives, too; they direct us specifically in terms of emotional tone. They are the dark grey cards with musical staves on them; they have names like Agitato, which expresses agitation, and Con Amore, which expresses love.

The Compositionals can be accessed via the Card Index.

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