Tonic: The Music Improvisation Card Game

Tonic Game

Tonic: The Music Improvisation Card Game is finishing up it’s Kickstarter campaign this week, having more than doubled its original pledge goal.

Created for all musicians, playing any style, on any instrument.  Tonic is a new card based game, developed as a new way for musicians to learn & practice improvisation in a way that emphasizes freedom and fun.  For most of us the idea of improv can be intimidating, and the goal of Tonic is to break through that barrier and make it more accessible.  The game can be played either alone or with a group and requires no experience or knowledge of music theory.  

The Game

Tonic can be played in multiple ways with several add-ons already in development.  At its most basic level it is a simple card game to be played by one or more musicians.  To start you simply pick a card and do what it instructs.  Each card challenges you to create a short piece of music on the spot.  Dice can be added to choose the pitches you can use, or you can simply decide on the pitch yourself.  

There is no score and no winners or losers.  The point is to have fun and create new music.  

In use

Tonic presents a creative new way to tonic cardsapproach your instrument.  Playing around with the cards I found myself exploring ideas I would have never thought of on my own.  I didn’t even consider the fact that I was improvising, I was just having fun playing bass.  The game is definitely a great way to get yourself out of your normal practice routine and shake things up a bit.  I can see myself playing Tonic in the future to boost my inspiration and motivation.  It is so easy to pick a card and start fiddling around, no scales to think about, no technique, just pure musical enjoyment.   


Tonics creator, Scott Hughes, believes so strongly in his creation that he has made the cards available completely free.  You can download them as a PDF here:


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