You Are What You Play

Musical Chairs

Party Game

Name of Game:

Musical Chairs


Party Games

Country of Origin:

UK, Iran ('sandalee'), Albania ('Karrige'), Eritrea ('Sapoti'), Peru ('Sillas Musicales'), Italy ('Il Ballo della Sedia')

Where did you learn it?:

At parties

How many players?:

From 6 up to 20 or more. 1 person as umpire and 1 person to play and stop the music



Where is it played?:

Normally indoors in a room large enough for one chair per person


In the space you set a line of chairs (one for each person), alternately facing different sides.


Each end chair is placed facing away from the line.


Everyone sits in a chair.


When music starts everyone must stand up and start moving in a clock-wise direction around the chairs.


Everyone must keep walking all the time


Anyone who stops can be disqualified by “the Umpire”.


The Umpire removes one of the chairs (not the end ones - they remain as markers which make to circle to walk around)


Whoever is operating the music should not look at the game but randomly stop the music.


This can be after 10 seconds or more. When the music stops everyone should sit down on a chair as quickly as possible.


But as there is one less chair then somebody will not find a chair. That person is OUT.


N.B. that person can then become the Umpire for the next round.


The game continues with music. A chair is removed. The music stops, everyone tries to find a seat - one drops out.


There are less and less chairs, less and less people


But remember the two end chairs stay to keep the walking circle big


At the end (when only two people remain) you can arrange the space so that there are 2 end chairs but only one chair in the middle to sit on.


The one who gets to it WINS!

How to play:

Chairs and Music

Materials Needed:

To be most skilful at getting to a chair

Aim of game:

How does it End?:

When you sit in the last chair

Variations from other places:

In ALBANIA it is played with chairs in a circle and the circle shrinks as people and chairs are removed.


Also IN ALBANIA, someone would sing the music and stop at will.   Some participants likened it to MUSICAL ISLANDS, which can be large pieces of paper, one removed at a time.  IN ITALY they play MUSICAL BROOMSTICKS where a broomstick is passed, everyone has to hold it between the legs and pass on.


The one holding it when the music stops must drop out.  IN PERU, and elsewhere, a balloon is passed beneath squatting bottoms.


When the music stops you must sit on it and burst it! UK also has MUSICAL BUMPS, you move around the room. When the music stops the last to sit down is OUT.


Average time needed to play:

5-10 minutes

Age Range:

5+ , but best not have small children mixing with adults it can get rough!

Other information:

Every children’s party


Rosa: when everyone had gone away - just the family played it


Sheyda: at grandmother’s house. Children were banished to the coldest room so played this to keep warm.


Shani: stopped playing when became teenager - the boys got rough and would pull chairs away from the girls.


Albert: a child would sing and stop, and would tend to stop to favour his friends!!


Mel: played it at a birthday party in McDonalds, Victoria Station with clowns


Meti: played it in school with the Music Teacher


Who Introduced us to it?: