2013 Toy Piano and Unconventional Instrument

2013 UnCaged Toy Piano CALL FOR SCORES: Music for Toy Piano + Unconventional Instrument

Winner: Tony Marasco

Runner-Up: Silvia Corda

Honorable Mention: Jeff Brown

The 2013 UnCaged Toy Piano call-for-scores is seeking new works using the toy piano alongside of an unconventional instrument (to be defined by the composer.)  The standard toy piano is three octaves, ranging from F3-F6.

Here are the rules for this year’s competition:

1. Score must be playable by a solo performer
2. Piece can be of any length/duration
3. The work must use the toy piano and an unconventional instrument

Do you have a new idea for a piece for toy piano and unconventional instrument? Or do you have something laying around that you think fits this category? If so, we want to hear from you. We encourage musicians from all walks of life to send something in!


For this year’s submission process, you may either a) submit a pre-existing work or b)  a proposal of a piece for toy piano and unconventional instrument.

If you choose to submit a pre-existing work, please send in:

1. Score of one  pre-existing work representative of your style
2. A short audio sample of the unconventional instrument being used
3. Short composer bio
4. Any additional program notes

If you choose to submit a proposal of a new work, please send in:
1. Score  that is representative of your style
2. A proposal of the new work
3. A short audio sample of the unconventional instrument being used

Please submit all materials via email to chenphyllis321 at gmail.com

What do you mean by unconventional?

Many people are asking me what is “unconventional.” Well…that’s what we are leaving up to you to define and use as part of your proposal or new piece. We are thinking non-western traditional instruments. Homemade instruments are strongly encouraged.

What about computers/live electronics?

Though live electronics/computers are unconventional in some ways, they have over-populated recent toy piano repertoire. In fact, there was a whole festival dedicated to this very genre in 2005 called the Extensible Toy Piano Project. Though you are welcome to use a computer/live electronics as part of your piece, we’d like to see it alongside of something else or used in more interesting ways than just a toy piano and max patch. Once again, homemade is encouraged.

If this is for toy piano and unconventional instrument, how can it be played by one person?

With careful orchestration, a toy pianist most certainly can play more than one instrument at a time. To get an idea, watch Margaret Leng Tan’s performance of Wrong Wrong Wrong by Ge GanRu for toy piano and toy instruments. Think of the toy pianist as a percussionist that uses the instrument alongside of a collection of other interesting objects.

More questions? Feel free to email Phyllis at chenphyllis321 at gmail.com


A small honorarium of $400 will be given to one composition this year. Appropriate works will be selected to be performed by artists at the 2013 UnCaged Toy Piano Festival, scheduled to take place in New York City in 2013. More details on the festival to come soon!