Music

I started playing music when I was relatively young. My first instrument, trumpet, I began at 10, not liking it or wanting to play it all. I had a recording of music that had an instrument I could not identify, so I took it to the band director. It was a harpsichord, but he needed a trumpet and, being old, jaded and burned out, completely ignored any request to the contrary, making me start.

Not too long after that I switched to double bass and ended up having quite a nice little career of that. I began taking Music Theory classes at the local university when I was in 8th grade with a pupil of Paul Hindemith. This was very good. Eventually I got to college where I decided that I really wanted to do harpsichord and organ. I studied first with O. Ragatz on organ, then Anthony Newman on organ and harpsichord. After he left, I studied with the simply wonderful Marilyn Kaiser (still have a crush on her all these years later).

About this time I graduated and started a career in music. I decided that was a mistake, the main reason being that I loved (and still love) music but doing it as a business means exactly that. You have contractual obligations to fulfill and if this is how you are making your living it becomes a straight service-sector job. As the saying goes, they don't want it right, they want it Tuesday. There is something far too personal about music to simply consign it to such a fate. Nobody is interested in what you want to do but need you to play for whatever reason (mostly social events and churches). So here is my advice to all of you: Never do what you love for a living. Find some other way to make ends meet and treat that as a strict business proposition that you can leave behind at the end of the day.

'nuff philosophy! Of course I've dabbled in music ever since and now I have a music editing program called Finale, so I'm trying my hand at some composing again. These are small pieces and mostly for specific occaisions, but you might like them. All of them are played through various synthesizers because that is what I have available. Enjoy!

Nota Bene:There are several of these at various tempi. This is because at least a couple of these have become quite popular at dances (the Vals in particular is having a heyday in Ballroom and Tango dances). So DJs have requested a few versions. The ones with the star (*) are the what I think are the best tempi. A Vals is an Argentine version of a waltz. It tends to be much quicker than a Viennese waltz. The slower version is more for a ballroom setting. Everybody needs a big brassy passionate waltz now and then, I think...

*Vals (60bpm)

Vals (72 bpm)

A Milonga is another faster dance from Argentina that was once upon a time long long ago derived from the polka (we all know that polka is the Czech word for half, because you step on the half beat, don't we?) Milongas tend have a quite a bit of drive to them. The fast version is if you skipped your aerobics, but is a lot of fun.

*Milonga (108 bpm)

Milonga (120 bpm)

A Rondo was a very popular dance in the late Middle Ages. It actually consists of a repeating section with couplets or other sections between. This form was revamped and widely used still in the Romantic Era and Beethoven wrote some very fine ones. This example is for solo violin and strings. I wrote it as a simple piece for my youngest son. It is quite nice and fits squarely in first position. Mostly I wrote it because beginner's pieces are musically just awful. I think it is easier to learn and practice something if you like it.

Rondo

Pieces by other composers

A few other pieces. I have done all of these as various self-appointed tutorials learning MIDI, various types of notation, studying counterpoint etc. Of course, they are all also thumpingly good pieces with fine performance. One should have a learning experience that inspires and leaves a warm glow of pride afterwards, I think.
 
Mozart Fugue K. 546 (c minor) This is a striking piece. A great deal of fun and it strongly pushed the boundary for music in its day. I think this version turned out particularly well.

Bach Sinfonia to Cantata 29
A Cantata is essentially a short opera with no sets or costumes. Bach had to write them often for various occasions. This is the first movement of one written to celebrate a city election in 1731. Yes, that's me playing the organ! This has been one of my favorites for many years.