MPR features St. Olaf student’s invention of new musical card game
In a recent news story from Classical Minnesota Public Radio, Jayden Browne ’23 describes his new invention, a card game about music theory, as “a platform for many games.”
Dubbed Transpose, the card game is “for players at all levels of music theory, who have a grasp and want to play a game.” With each card composing one of the 12 musical notes and represented by different visuals — letter names, piano keyboard, and treble and bass clefs — players can develop their own game rules using the cards. Browne has included instructions for several versions of the game on the Transpose website, and encourages players to share rules that they develop for their own games.
An avid musician himself, Browne is highly involved in the Music Department at St. Olaf, majoring in music education and participating in Viking Chorus, Chamber Singers, the Chapel Ringers handbell choir, and various student-led vocal groups during his first year on campus. He is also a member of the St. Olaf Board Game Club, and created Transpose as a way to combine his various passions.
The goal is that hopefully people will use the deck as a tool that will make music more accessible. People talk like learning music is like learning a language. I feel like there’s a lower threshold, but it’s still a daunting task. If you can use something you’re already familiar with like playing cards, that’s great too.Jayden Browne ’23
Browne came up with the idea for the game when remembering that many of his music theory classmates from high school used flashcards to study. Seeing the possibility of translating the flash cards into a more fun and interactive method of learning music theory, he put his idea into practice during a writing class at St. Olaf. “The final part of that course was to design a game and explain it to the class,” he told MPR. “Then the coronavirus hit, and for me it changed from a concept to an actual game.”
This summer, Browne created a Kickstarter campaign to fund the manufacturing of the decks. Having fully met his funding goal, Browne will now be able to distribute the cards to interested players and make his vision a reality.
“The goal,” Browne told MPR, “is that hopefully people will use the deck as a tool that will make music more accessible. People talk like learning music is like learning a language. I feel like there’s a lower threshold, but it’s still a daunting task. If you can use something you’re already familiar with like playing cards, that’s great too.”