Saturday, December 03, 2011

Partial Success

My first attempt at a new process of  writing melodies has produced something useful, in part...

What I ended up doing was working out my chord progression, then playing on the piano and singing possible melodies. What was surprising to me was how easy it was to come up with good melodic lines this way.

Now, the melody that I'm working with does still need some work (I'm using it in a song, and therefore needs more variety), but I'm quite pleased with how this process works and will be using it more often and that is something that I'm quite happy about.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I really do wonder how some composers do it... how they manage to be a wellspring of melodies and beautiful themes. I try to dig up something that evokes, something that catches your attention and leaves an impression on your mind. I don't care how little of an impression - I just want you to remember it.

That's the problem that I'm facing right now - I'm coming up with cool harmonic ideas, but the tune that I write to go along with things just never manages to measure up.

A part of things might be that I've never had a good process for writing (in general even, but that's another matter). Now, I'm not liking for some magical method that will net be something awesome, but a consistent process that can come up with a line that is at least serviceable wouldn't be too much to ask, right?

I am going to try some new ways to come up with a tune that I haven't really tried before... maybe something useful will result. Here's hoping.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I've spent the last few days working on a cello solo. I've worked out some cool motifs, and have started a draft that is coming together nicely, which is pretty cool. In fact, it's quite rare that I'm so happy with something that is still a work in progress, much less at this early stage of this (only about a minute of actual 'tune' written). Things are going so well that I'm thinking that I'm going to do something abnormal when I'm done with this piece... I'm just going to throw the sheet music it up on the Internet (via my site) and see what/who picks it up (most likely, only one or two people, but you never know.).

Is this a way to get even a microscopically small amount of exposure? You bet your ass it is. Will it fall flat on it's face. Big chance of that, yes. Do I care? Oddly enough..... not really.

Anyway, I'm still writing this thing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Good Feelin'

What a nice little buzz I got just now - working on some revisions to a cello quartet I started back earlier in the summer. It was a pretty good little tune (which, considering the way I wrote it, might tell me something about my normal process, but that's another tale) with just a few niggling issues. I took a nice step towards fixing those issues (in theory, anyway), and it was a really good feeling to write this stuff down, know what it was doing to correct stuff.

Just something I wanted to mention.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Apparently, things happen when I don’t constantly post to my blog.

Nothing big, except for moving to Boise. You know, the little things.

Luckily, this really hasn’t impeded my writing too much – I’ve churned out two arrangements, a guitar/cello duet, started transcribing a song and finished up the Polar Express medley since moving about a month ago. Not too shabby.

Granted, have some time at my new job (and bosses that don’t mind that I write when I have free time) to work on music is quite cool, and I’m looking forward to getting even more stuff done.

I’m currently looking for musical things to do in the Boise area (and if they paid, that would be quite a bonus!)… there’s a choir that I’m going to look into, among other things.


Now Playing: “Hotel California” – The Eagles - Hotel California

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Short update

Just a quick progress update. More detail this weekend, I think...

1. Some progress on the Military Variations for Fife and Drum. They might be ready for revisions.

2. Symphony: I'm going to be starting an official "draft 2" when I hit a milestone on this next project.

3. Working on a medley of music from the movie "The Polar Express" for the University of Idaho Holiday Concert. Voice parts are almost done (draft one), then quick revision phase and delivery, then I can work on all the instruments (between 17 & 26 posts, depending on doublings and what I decide to end up using). I've made some VERY fast progress on this one, considering how slow this could be going at.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The tune referred to in the post below is done. It’s up at the website, and it’s looking like it’ll be performed in the next few weeks (if it hasn’t been already).
The piece, “The Fog at Evening-Time” was a nice change of pace from the scale that is my symphony-in-progress, which I’ve gotten back to in some degree. More on that when there’s real news about it.
Just for fun, I think I’m going to challenge myself to write one or two arrangements a week – just to keep myself sharp. And I’m going to get out of the rut of doing almost constant TTBB versions of newer pop tunes. Gonna try to get some good ol’ Jazz Choir II-style things going, mostly because it’ something that is a bit harder for me, but isn’t totally out of reach for me. Just a stretch. Heh.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Twelve-Tone Matrix

Just started a Twelve-Tone piece for Flute and Harp last week.

What I’m working from:

  I0 I5 I8 I3 I2 I7 I11 I9 I10 I1 I4 I6  
P0 D G A# F E A C# B C D# F# G# R6
P7 A D F C B E G# F# G A# C# D# R1
P4 F# B D A G# C# F D# E G A# C R10
P9 B E G D C# F# A# G# A C D# F R3
P10 C F G# D# D G B A A# C# E F# R4
P5 G C D# A# A D F# E F G# B C# R11
P1 D# G# B F# F A# D C C# E G A R7
P3 F A# C# G# G C E D D# F# A B R9
P2 E A C G F# B D# C# D F G# A# R8
P11 C# F# A E D# G# C A# B D F G R5
P8 A# D# F# C# C F A G G# B D E R2
P6 G# C# E B A# D# G F F# A C D R0
  RI6 RI11 RI2 RI9 RI8 RI1 RI5 RI3 RI4 RI7 RI10 RI0  

For those that don’t know:

P = Prime

I = Inversion

R = Retrograde

RI = Retrograde-Inversion

Twelve-tone matrixes are nice, because they take one challenging aspect of composing out, which is picking the notes, but getting all the variations of the prime row to work together without sounding too different/unrelated is quite a challenge.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Symphony in Progress!

Progress is being made on the Symphony. This is actually kinda scary, seeing as I’ve been working on it, in one form or another, for about 2 years. It’s the longest I’ve had a project in progress, and that’s really cool. It also makes me want to finish is, so that I can:

  1. Really focus on some other ideas I’ve been working on (Sunshine Mint project, which if I pull off, could be AMAZING; film score project – some cool ideas in place, but I need to finish spotting the film first! Ack!)
  2. Get used to setting PERSONAL deadlines, so that I get used to finishing things quickly. It’s gonna be a skill I need – go figure.

The second movement of this thing is pretty much done (needs some revision to help with flow/pacing and dynamics), the first is about 30% orchestrated, but what is gonna be TOUGH is the third movement. I’ve got some cool motifs worked out, I’ve been doing some math (really!) for all the overlapping/offsets that is the ‘basic’ construct of the movement, but getting it all to sit together, and then orchestrated will take quite a bit of effort. Plus, I’ve just (in my head) changed what the starting key of the movement. How that’s going to affect all the work I’ve done leading up to it, I don’t know.

How long do I give myself to finish the symphony? Because I’m pretty bad at setting my own deadlines. But I need to FINISH this. Move on to newer and cooler and whatnot.

C’mon people, tell me what to do! Ha!

Now Playing: “Keeping the Blade”, “Welcome Home”, “Ten Speed”, “Crossing the Frame” – Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of MadnessCoheed and Cambria

Monday, March 31, 2008

Hand Cramps

I think I can qualify as a tree-killer.

I just finished writing up a 24-page orchestral score. I still need to play with some dynamics (the few that are there are not enough), and shove the thing into Finale so that I can confirm what I'm hearing in my head got on the page.

From there, we'll see what becomes of the piece...