Years ago I studied classical composition. After fiddling about for a year or so, I took lessons with an established composer. As part of my lessons I wrote a little “classical sonata”. It was more or less in a Mozart style, though perhaps it was closer to Clementi. If you don’t know Clementi, look him up! Although there are shining moments on this “sonatina”, I wasn’t satisfied. Continue reading →
Years ago I followed a music forum. One thing we did was a “Composition Challenge“. The winner of the last challenge would present a theme and people would create a composition based on that theme. Most of the themes had been difficult and produced more “modern” music, but the winner of Challenge 13 put up a very simple phrase.
OK, I decided to play a bit of a joke. I wrote a ground bass or passacaglia (think Pachelbel’s (misnamed) Canon in D minor) done with strings in 4-4 time, a Sousa style march done in brass and percussion – in “cut time” and a simple country dance (almost waltz) done with a small woodwind ensemble (I think flute, clarinet, english horn and bassoon) in 3-4 time. I then had them all playing simultaneously but ending together on a huge C major chord. Continue reading →
I took two of the miniatures from my composition “Child’s Play” and rearranged them a little. Actually the biggest rearrangement is making the super simple starting piece, “Happy Feet”, a little more complex by having it modulate from the key of G to the key of D. When you hear it again at the end, that is how it is in “Child’s Play, Book 1”. Actually, that piece, “Happy Feet”, is based on one of the first things I ever wrote, back when I was a Freshman or Sophomore in college. I broke a few counterpoint rules at the time, which were fixed when I added it to “Child’s Play, Book 1”. Continue reading →
One of the reasons I have been off line for the last few days is that I have been working on some music. I now have something to share with you :)
Quick background – I studied classical music composition in the mid naughts (00s). To hear the music I was composing, I used a product called GPO. You can hear this on some of the videos on my video page. Sounds pretty realistic, if not exactly like a live orchestra.
As some of you may have seen, lately I have been playing with old-school analog modular synthesizers. What? OK, that sounds odd, but this is the type of synthesizer they used in “the old days”, synths that sounded like synths. The “modular” part means that I pretty much create a new instrument using patch cords every time I make a sound.
Lately I have had the idea to recreate some of my old music using this even older technology. It won’t sound as realistic, but perhaps it will add something. Continue reading →
It is funny but my mom is much better known in classical music circles than I am. Of course the contemporary classical music that I’ve written has been heard by only a few people. Yes, you can buy a CD of my Hamlet Symphony or listen to some of my classical music here on my blog or on YouTube, but not many have heard it. My mom, though…
I don’t know, maybe 20 years ago, give or take, she bumped into a man at a Cleveland Orchestra concert. They started talking and he said he was a classical composer, that at the time he was concentrating on on Art Song, but he was writing his own lyrics because nobody else said what he wanted to say. So she said, “I’m a poet. How about I send you some of my poems?” Funny thing, he said sure, why not?
The composer’s name is H. Leslie Adams, and he is a well known son of Cleveland, though his music has been (continues to be) played around the world. He’s used a few of my mom’s poems for his music. Continue reading →
One of the very first posts I ever put up on this blog was called Challenge Me! It was about musical challenges that I used to participate in when I followed a music forum back about a decade ago.
Here is a super quick synopsis of that post. Someone would post a phrase or a theme. The “contestants” would compose music based on that theme. The music could take any form, any genre, etc., as long as it used the music software that the music forum was about. The winner of each challenge would post the theme for the next challenge. You can read more on the original post. Continue reading →
I recently finished the “Music That Means Something” challenge.
Don’t know this challenge? Here is the basic idea:
Post a song a day for five consecutive days.
Post what the lyrics mean to you. (Optional)
Post the name of the song and a video.
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge. –>Well…, All of you! :)
I was “volunteered” by Sue Vincent ;) And I did it my way (like Frank, both Zappa and Sinatra). Because of that, I felt I needed a little nightcap. Uhm, I mean I need a little recap….
Don’t know this challenge? Here is the basic idea (which I’ll semi-ignore):
Post a song a day for five consecutive days. (will do, well album, not song)
Post what the lyrics mean to you. (Optional) (nope – instrumental)
Post the name of the song and a video. (will do – a song from the album)
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge. (Well…, All of you)
(I was “volunteered” to do the challenge by Sue Vincent ;) )
Yesterday I talked about Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach. After that I was always in search of electronic music. A lot of it was garbage (not that I cared as a kid), often kitsch or novelty. Often just bad. But I listened to what I could find.
One day when I was about 10, I saw a very cool looking album. It was too expensive, but I had a plan – I bought it as a Christmas present for my brother (the same one who received Tommy). It soon became a favorite.
Several years ago, when I was deep into composing contemporary classical music, I belonged to a music forum. One of the things we used to do on the forum is have challenges. You can see this post for more detail, but basically the winner of the last challenge would come up with a motif and everyone else had to write a piece of music based on the theme. I thought I had a real chance to win Challenge 12 (I might have if I would have only put in one entry) so I decided to create a theme for Challenge 13, just in case. I wrote a short sample piece to go along with this little motif, not to play as I posted it (no influence to the competitors) but just to show that the abstract motif wasn’t that far out. I didn’t win Challenge 12, so I never used that theme except for this short work. I posted it and everyone loved it, but that was the end. I had always meant to expand it, and the people on the forum expected me to, but I never got around to it and eventually stopped writing classical music.
I really liked the music, Thirteen!, and so I decided to make a little video of that snippet I created as an example. It’s a little dark at the end, so I thought “Halloween”, but I didn’t have time to make Halloween graphics. I used fall foliage scenery, including short videos of me running around in the woods behind my house and call it “autumn inspired” instead of “Halloween” Enjoy! Continue reading →
This movement is in some ways the most beautiful, the most sad, the most delicate, the most simple, the most complicated the… well, you get the idea, there are a lot of contradictions. It is by far my favorite. It doesn’t end here, but goes right into the fifth movement, so the ending is abrupt. Anyway, here is what I wrote about it as I was actually composing the music (I worte most of the below before i wrote the music and then corrected i to fit the music after I was done) ::