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Chinese Whispers III

by Mace Francis Orchestra

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Response 05:38
Peep 10:30
K 06:08
A Mission 04:48


The idea for Chinese Whispers was adapted from a writing game played by authors. One author would write exactly 200 words and then pass it on the next, who would write another 200 word until they decided to finish the story. When I first heard about this, I knew instantly that it would make an interesting musical game, so I set about designing a musical adaptation.

The idea is to have a group of composers to compose a number of bars each, one after another, in this case 17 bars. The 17 bars need to be completed (within 48 hours) and then passed on to the next composer who then passes on only their 17 bars to the next composer. Each composer only ever sees the previous 17 bars - never the whole piece. Why? - to make it interesting.

Restrictions and rules are chosen which each composer must ad hear to - for example a selection of pitches, tempo etc. This is so the final composition had some sort of clarity and unity. The rules for this 3rd edition were;

1 You may only use the following notes - C – Db - Eb – F# - G - B – any order and any octaves.
2 The tempo will be set at crotchet = 80.
3 You have 48 hours to finish your 17 bars.
4 It must be scored for the instrumentation provided.
5 NO improvisation.
6 NO repeats.

Once the collaborative piece is completed, each composer is given a copy of the finished score and asked to compose a new piece of music which is inspired by the collaboration in some way, with no restrictions on pitches or tempo, etc. This inspiration can be melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, emotional, conceptual - anything.

The final result is a full program of new music which is performed by MFO and recorded. This 3rd Edition was recorded for the ABC Classic FM program Jazztrack. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did in creating it.


released November 1, 2007

Conductor: Mace Francis
Saxophones: Ben Collins, Daniel Thorne, Alistair McEvoy, Mark Sprogowski
Trumpets: Ricki Malet, Callum G'Froerer, Brendan Baker
Trombones: Catherine Noblet, Andrew Murray, Tilman Robinson
Guitar: Tim Jago
Bass: Kaspar Noakes
Drums: Greg Brenton

Recording Producer: Karl Akers
Recording Engineer: Chris White
Recording Engineer Assistant: Ian Manning
Mixed & Mastered: Mal Stanley


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Mace Francis Perth, Australia

I am a Perth based big band composer, band leader, guitarist and valve trombonist. Here is a collection of my compositions for big band, nonet, trombone quartet and trad jazz band. I hope you enjoy.

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