/ September 4, 2023/ Art Games, Cooperative Games, Language Games, Music Games/ 0 comments

Compose Yourself is a really clever tool that’s, unfortunately, out of print. Even more frustrating, their website has been taken down, so you can’t even use it. However, there are workarounds, and the game is readily available on eBay.

Compose Yourself isn’t so much of a game as a tool for one person to explore music with. You could make it into a game; kind of like those storytelling games where you each take turns telling a little bit of the story. Something like Tell Tale, but in musical form.

Each card is printed on clear plastic, so you can have it any of four ways. These four cards; 0161, 0162, 0163, and 0164, are actually all one card. But since the plastic is clear, you can turn it around and flip it over.

Compose Yourself’s Website Is Down

Originally, you were supposed to be able to go to ThinkFun’s website for this game and enter the card numbers in the order of your composition. The website would generate your sheet music, play it for you, and I think you could even have different instruments play it. You could then save it and even share it.

Since their website is down, you can’t do all that, but you can still use free software (my favorite is Musescore) and enter your piece manually. Musescore will then play it back for you, and you can change instrumentation.

Downsides to Compose Yourself

There are two big downsides to the Compose Yourself cards. The first is a lack of a key signature. You can either just assume it is in the key of C Major, or you can assign a key signature to it. You’ll want to make sure you do this before entering it into Musescore if you can because otherwise, you’ll have to go and correct every note that is impacted by your key signature. (If you add a key signature in after putting notes in, Musescore will add naturals as accidentals, so your piece remains the same as you originally input.)

The other frustration I have is that all the cards are in 4/4 time. That is, if you assume each card is one measure. Of course, you can always assign a different time signature and carry on with your piece.

Compose Yourself is still an excellent tool

All in all, I love these cards for being an excellent tool. They’re great for helping come up with a melody. You could then go in and write harmony parts to accompany your new melodies. They’re durable, waterproof, don’t take up a lot of space, and come with their own bags. Compose Yourself is definitely in our game library for the long haul.

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