heavy and unfinished

17 Aug

This past summer, I went down to Branson, Missouri to play with my friend Larkin Sanders and her Taneycomo Festival Orchestra. I wrote a new viola trio for the festival, to perform with my two friends Kyla Witt and Amanda Smith, and my, oh my, what a good time it was! Here is a bit about the piece:

For weeks, the piece was titled Triola (blame Kyle Frost for that cleverness and obvious name for all viola trios forever), but now, that is the name of our ensemble that premiered it. To me, violas can be very deep and raw, and that was part of the sound I was trying to explore with this piece. When working on a new piece, normally I have some idea, or overarching concept in mind before I really begin writing notes, but for this, some of the notes came first. I wanted to use a little bit of Jazz/Rock language, and take advantage of three layers of awesome viola harmonics (I mean to say that viola harmonics are awesome, not that my choices were necessarily the best, but I like my choices too). I kind of made the piece from there, and then finished before really coming up with anything more of a concept. With the help of new friends in Branson and at home, and a little deeper thought, I decided on this title. Expect a video soon!

New Piece Coming!

16 Mar

I’m working on a new piece to play with Geoff Deibel in Florida at the end of April! The tentative title is “Man was proud” and is for Tenor Saxophone, voice and electronics. I’m exploring a couple things with it:

I’ve been thinking about creation myths lately (with the help of my friend Corrina) and have been trying to marry it with some other ideas I’ve been wanting to use for a while. There will be some pop-style sampling, lots of indeterminacy in electronics, and live processing of voice and sax, making them sound like recordings from different ages. More coming soon!

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Thea Musgrave’s Narcissus

5 Oct

A couple years ago, I put together a Pure Data patch for playing Thea Musgrave’s Narcissus with my friend Margaret Rowley, a great flute player and ethnomusicologist. This was one of my first times making a software solution for some piece of hardware that was either too hard to get a hold of, or didn’t exist anymore. Narcissus calls for a delay unit that has some pitch modulation too, with very specific instructions for delay time and feedback, so making a Pd patch to emulate it wasn’t so bad.

I went the route of programming the patch to be played by a separate performer, playing a separate computer part (every time I say that, it reminds me how my parents would make me stop playing the computer all the time growing up). I’ll probably post my part soon, but I guess I have to track it down first. 🙂 Anyhow, here is the patch:


All the controls can be controlled from the computer keyboard (no MIDI controller or other interface). I’ll post more detailed instructions later, with the computer part.

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Missing Partner

9 Sep

I made this piece to complete an animation assignment for a live theater projection class at MSU with Alison Dobbins. The piece is pretty straightforward, and the animation demonstrates my simple abilities with Adobe After Effects (CS 4). Here it is!

Missing Partner Score

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Back To New York

8 Sep

Back to New York

This started as an old viola quartet with piano that I wrote years ago as a recording project about a friend.  This adaptation includes text about a person I met a couple of times in different dreams in a strange period of my dreaming life.  I kept meeting people, having completely regular interactions, small talk, learning their names and where they were from.  The character I describe in the text is one of those people – one that reminds me of the friend the quartet was originally about.

I ran into the dream character a number of times:  commiserating on a bus on the way to a conference in New York, painting in a cave offshoot of a basement of an abandoned dormitory cafeteria, at a punk show in Detroit…. After a music conference she presented at in New York, she showed me the beautiful ruins of an old pool in the main student union.  I recognized the pool as the one that used to be the end of a gauntlet in a recurring dream I had as a child, and she revealed to me that she used to be the monster at the bottom of the then-murky pool.  Strange stuff.

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Hold it! Nobody Said Anything About Three Books!

8 Sep

“Hold it, nobody said anything about three books!”

Playing salsa is one of my favorite things to do these days.  So, what is this strange title and how is this instrumental salsa-styled tune dream influenced?  well…

One night, I was the character in the Duke Nukem video game, and I was all pixilated and 2D sideways, like in the game.  As I went around, shooting up monsters, there was some excellent videogame music going on, and I liked it enough to remember it and write it down in the morning after I woke up.  It had a pretty cheezy bassline, but I liked the harmony behind it.  I wrote some stuff over it back then, but nothing really came of it, until now!

So, the title:  Duke Nukem 3D uses audio samples from the movie Army of Darkness for its main character’s voice acting:  phrases like “Gimme some sugar,” and “Groovy.” I’m using a bit of music from the dream version of what that game’s music is like, sort of like how the makers of the game took a tiny bit of what the movie is like for their game.  For fun, I looked for other things Bruce Campbell (the one that acts in Army of Darkness) says, and decided on this one.  If you want, you can call it “Hold it” for short.

Download The Score!

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Work in progress

27 Aug

I’m updating this website thing slowly but surely, and maybe a little out of order too, publishing the skeleton and incomplete/old pages, with the plan of fixing it all later. Pardon all the broken links!

New home, new hosts

16 Aug

I just moved to a new town in Michigan, and it is all quite exciting! Meeting new people, setting up a new house with my friend Dave, and getting to see this great new city! Right now, I am adding information about all my old pieces as blog posts, trying out generating content in this very different wordpress format. Hope it works nicely!

Finally started with WordPress…

3 Jul

So, I’ve given in to peer pressure (or finally gotten on board with a good idea) and am trying out this WordPress thing.  Hopefully this will be a good move. 😉

Over the next two weeks (while my free trial lasts) this should change in look as frequently as I can manage.  Let me know what you think!



a to b equals c

25 Jul

I wrote this for my good friends Shawn Teichmer and Jamie Lewis.  They were very patient with me, and premiered it at the College where they teach, Spring Arbor University in Michigan, and at NASA in the Spring of 2010.

This piece explores three different relationships that can occur between musicians, those that are humans and those that are computers.

The first movement is acoustic, with the piano and saxophone developing some material.  All the while, the computer listens and remembers.

In the second movement, the computer drives.  It starts with a footswitch trigger, and goes.  The computer is making lots of sound, and continues to listen to the humans, and comments a little, but mostly doesn’t pay attention.

In the third movement, the computer and humans are supposed to play together, but the computer stops listening completely, like a crappy person in your chamber group.  It’s hard to play a 3/2 clave together when the rhythm section isn’t listening…

a->b=c mvt. 1 score

a->b=c mvt. 3 score

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