Music-Making as Play

Wondering about musicians bringing melodies and harmonies to life, I realize that what moves me most about a well made musical composition is just how much an artist embodies the joy of “play” in the making of his/her music.

A place where “play” is central in music-production is in the realm of the digital mashup.

ShawnWasabi1Music-maker Shawn Wasabi recently released a  new composition called “Marble Soda”, described on his blog as “music for your ears to hug.”

Shawn’s whole vibe is fun, colorful, playful…  He makes a game of programming bright sound samples for compositions that seem inspired by video game play, with technology modeled after old-school arcade game controllers (circa 1987 Street Fighter).  I think of Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero colliding, except here the artist has selected his own musical loops and arranged patterns made to be presented live in dance venues.

In playing his lively music, Shawn has essentially created a game where the object is to produce harmony with every push of a button and winning happens only when the sounds align just right.  Check it out, it’s pretty amazing.  I wonder how he remembers where each loop is located on the midi board… mind boggling!

(Fair warning though, in case you have little ones around, there’s some profanity in the last 5 seconds of the clip)


Whether it’s a digitally controlled modern mashup or a traditional piano piece, the presence of play for creative self-expression is alive and well in the world of music making.

What are you listening to these days?

Do you see/hear “play” in the music you love? If so, please share some links in the comments below.

Thanks for reading the Wonder Blog @RockshelfStudio!

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