The board game Virtuoso is a Trivial Pursuit-style affair for classical music buffs.

It was made as a graduate project by Caleb Heisey, a graphic design student and former musician.

Heisey enlisted the help of a violin maker and a local woodworker in producing the gorgeous game board.

The music theory-heavy game might not have much mass appeal, but Heisey sees it as a collector’s item--or an educational tool.

But even those who don’t know their Bach from their Brahms will have to admit that the game is a beautiful one.

Co.Design

A Board Game Designed For Classical Music Buffs

Virtuoso may not have mass appeal, but it would liven up band class.

I can never be sure which Jeopardy categories are going to go well for me, but it seems as though there’s always at least one I know won’t go well: World Capitals. Legal Terms. The Old Testament. And in a way, that’s a central part of trivia games—they cast a wide net, so everyone is bound to have some blind spots. Virtuoso, on the other hand, concerns itself with a very specific subset of trivia, and, thus, a specific subset of players. This is the board game for anyone who pumps their fist when Trebek reads off a "Classical Music" category at the beginning of a round.

The board game was developed as a graduate project by Caleb Heisey, a graphic design student at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. It’s essentially a Trivial Pursuit-style affair. Players answer classical music trivia questions to proceed around an orchestra pit-shaped game board. But there are a few unique touches.

There’s the "audition," a rapid-fire lightning around, which the designer says is based on the real-life experience of moving up "chairs" in an orchestra. And then there are the dice, which are based on musical time signatures and beats per minute instead of the typical dots. Heisey’s not kidding when he says the game’s intended for those with "a firm understanding of basic music theory."

But even those who don’t know their Bach from their Brahms will have to admit that the game is a beautiful one. The graphic design student’s chops are evident in the game cards and in-box rules listing, and Heisey says he enlisted the help of some experts to make sure all the details were just right. "I have been in constant contact with a violin maker as well as a Japanese woodworker living in Philadelphia about [the game’s] materials," he explains. He borrowed from the visual language of pianos and violins throughout for a unified feel.

Heisey’s aware that Virtuoso isn’t likely to be the next Cranium, but he says he’s had a huge response from music buffs since he posted the project on his site. If anything, he sees Virtuoso making sense as a collector’s item, or even an educational tool, with classrooms stocking the game to get youngsters engaged in music theory. And hey, if the allure of timeless musical masterpieces isn’t enough, a board game is at least worth a shot.

See more of the designer’s work on his page.

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5 Comments

  • Gustavo Melendez

    Hi everyone! Thanks for all the love!

    We are working hard to bring Virtuoso to all of you! For the latest developments, sign up at http://audition.virtuosogame.com, like us on FB at facebook.com/virtuosogame, and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/virtuosogame!

    We have exciting plans for Spring 2014!

    The Virtuoso Team

  • Leslie Hultman Hollowed

    I really want this for my orchestra teacher/violist older son, and my younger son who plays cello and piano and is a classical music lover. Will this ever come to market? They would LOVE to play!