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- Wednesday, April 28, 2021:
Recital Day: 20th Anniversary Nostalgia
Here is the long and unnecessarily verbose recital program I created for my music recital 20 years ago. I sacrificed my spring break in my final semester to stay in town, print 175 copies on the constantly jamming music department printer, and painstakingly bind them on a real binding machine.
(The text is preserved for easier reading here ).
- Monday, July 02, 2018:
List Day: Songs in My Head
I once mentioned that the Carnival of Venice pops into my head every night before bedtime, filling up an otherwise unused channel in my multichannel brain. If I'm not listening to active music, this channel is immediately populated with random songs from the past, none of which I otherwise listen to with any kind of regularity. Here is a list of the most common songs that pass through my brain at least once per day, and usually more often.
La Rejouissance from Handel's Royal Fireworks Music
The minor section of the 3rd movement of the Hummel Trumpet Concerto
Sally's Song from Nightmare Before Christmas
- Monday, December 11, 2017:
Songs of the Enrichment Jungle, Volume III
This next batch of songs does not revolve around characters in the Enrichment Jungle, but they'll be included in the same anthology when it goes to print.
The Nap Song : This is the song I used to regularly hum to Maia to get her to nap in the joey pouch while walking around the basement. When you get to the end, you repeat it ad nauseum. Most of the notes are staccato so you can hum it while out of breath on the nature park hill. She has since transitioned to 70s funk jazz as a soporific, but this still gets hummed occasionally.
Poop Bike : This is the song I use when Maia is working on her outputs. In measures 1 - 3 and 5 - 6, you should be gyrating the baby's l...
- Monday, December 04, 2017:
Songs of the Enrichment Jungle, Volume II
The songs in this volume are about Mr. Lion, Orange Squirrel, and Boring Felt Owl. Orange Squirrel was written by Rebecca.
Other Posts in This Series: Volume I | Volume II | Volume III
- Monday, September 25, 2017:
Songs of the Enrichment Jungle, Volume I
These are the songs I sing about Maia's favourite buddies in her Enrichment Jungle. The eighth notes should clearly be performed in a swing style, because I'm not some kind of heathen.
Volume II will cover the supporting cast, such as the Orange Nut Squirrel, the Boring Felt Owl, and the Monkey Lip Apple.
Other Posts in This Series: Volume I | Volume II | Volume III
- Friday, December 09, 2016:
2016 Favourites: Top 10 Songs First Heard in 2016
2016 was a more musically lean year, so I'm just listing 10 songs I enjoyed this year in alphabetical order by band rather than ranking them against each other.
Bliss n ESO - Reservoir Dogs (2013): I got into Bliss n ESO from Hilltop Hoods and actually like them slightly better. This is a fun collaboration with several other Australian hip-hop artists.
Charlatans UK - So Oh (2014): I listened to a lot of the Charlatans UK a decade ago, and was happy to find their new album. THis is a relaxing, mellow song, great for winding down.
Drapht - Jimmy Recard (2009): This ...
- Tuesday, May 03, 2016:
To note the passing of 15 years since my undergraduate composition recital last week, I put together these two videos of performances synced up with their sheet music.
Some of the notation might be a little off, as I'm now several hundred versions of Finale behind, and I find it amazing that these old files even open anymore, much less render properly.
- Friday, December 11, 2015:
List Day: 4 Disappointing Albums
Stand Up by Dave Matthews: This was the album that made me stop buying Dave Matthews albums. At the time, I coined this mission statement for it: " Create a forgettable vamp that repeats every four bars and sing about something arhythmically while your band plays a fifth-grade arrangement as backup. Occasionally throw in a random mix of nonmelodic sounds on a separate track that has nothing to do with anything and call it an "Intro" track. Do not, under any circumstances, call this CD Busted Stuff because that name was already assigned to a CD with the exact same music on it. "
Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon by KT Tunstall: This album was devoid of h...
- Tuesday, December 08, 2015:
2015 Favourites: Top 10 Songs First Heard in 2015
2015 was a great year in the "music that I enjoy" genre, which is the only important genre. In addition to multiple catchy singles, there were even a few solid albums proving that albums still have some relevance. Give a listen, and maybe you'll find something new to enjoy!
B. Reith - Old School (2009):
Nothing terribly special about this white rapper, but the song is a pleasantly blended orchestration of different styles.
Whitton - Rare Bird (2011):
I like the interesting timbres of Whitton's voice.
Breakestra - Hiding (2008):
Breakestra has done a nice job o...
- Tuesday, October 20, 2015:
List Day: Jams of the Times
Songs I listened to incessantly during the month of October, based on highly accurate recall, web citations, and Amazon MP3 purchases...
2004 : Muse - Sing for Absolution
2005 : KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See
2006 : Kansas - Journey from Mariabronn
2007 : Gomez - How We Operate
2008 : Jack Penate - Second, Minute, Hour
2009 : Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet About Me
2010 : Plan B - She Said
2011 : Dirt Poor Robins - Love Again
- Friday, August 28, 2015:
List Day: 4 Songs Weird Al Should Parody
Don't Let Me Fall - B.o.B : Rhyming "don't let me fall" with "shooting for stars" is already a stretch, so why not "don't let me fart" paired with all of the things that might lead to gastrointestinal distress? However, this might get repetitive around the 1:54 mark .
Stone Cold Sober - Paloma Faith : "On A Sewn Old Sofa" is a rapid patter song about all of the things that Weird Al has saved money on by buying them at the thrift store.
Take a Bow - Muse : The metric pattern of this song is perfect for a song about a driven cook who's slowly being driven crazy by his trade. For example, at this point in the song, "Bake, you must ba...
- Friday, April 10, 2015:
Stan Freberg, known for his satirical comedy records and funny advertisements, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88. Freberg takes much of the blame for how my sense of humour "turned out", as evinced by the double digit numbers of CDs I started collecting in high school after finding an LP of Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America on my parents' shelf.
Freberg was writing music and voicing cartoon characters as recently as last year although his later material, such as a 1998 song comparing Monica Lewinsky, Tara Lapinski, and Ted Kacsynski, was not as strong as his stuff from the 60s.
To give you a laugh on this rainy Friday, here are a few of my favourite Frebe...
- Wednesday, March 18, 2015:
Stuff in My Drawers Day: Convocation
It was seventeen years ago yesterday that I performed the first movement of The Hero , a four-movement, 21-minute symphonic work for a wind ensemble of 20 people. Not feeling up to the task of making friends with 20 musicians, I did the next best thing and created a piano reduction of the score and then hired an accompanist.
Had I thought ahead further, I would have hired an accompanist with 20 fingers, not 10 -- one finger for each member of the wind ensemble to address the fact that nearly every note from the score ended up in the reduction. It wasn't a reduction so much as a stave clogging, similar to the effect you see on I-95 towards Kings Dominion every Saturday morning.
Here is an ...
- Tuesday, December 23, 2014:
Composing Spotlight: Badinage
I wrote Badinage in the Fall of 1999, inadvertently making it the last piece in my repertoire to be considered "Contemporary 20th Century" music. It was originally performed by Allen Bachelder and Jim Bryant on my 5th Year Recital, and then again by me and Rob Kelley down at Florida State.
With the looming Christmas holiday and my recent interest in trumpet endurance practice sessions (currently up to 12 minutes per day), I thought it'd be fun to do an amateur recording session of this piece. I'm no Kelley Corbett but I still remember which buttons to press.
I recorded this over two days in my home studio (the office with the door closed), using the Roland SC-8850 for the accompaniment and Ado...
- Tuesday, December 09, 2014:
2014 Favourites: Top 10 Songs First Heard in 2014
I used to call this list "Top 10 Songs of the Year", until I realized that I always lagged far behind the curve in discovering new music. My relevancy seems to have improved over time -- the oldest song on this year's list is from 2009. Enjoy!
Ingrid Michaelson - Girls Chase Boys (2014): Although much of Ingrid's newest album consisted of ghosts singing "woo" to forgettable tunes, this song made the cut of "songs I didn't delete".
Caro Emerald - Liquid Lunch (2013): Remixing swing with electronica seems like such a no-brainer that I'm surprised it's taken this long to surface.
- Friday, November 21, 2014:
List Day: 10 Albums in 10 Years
A short list of my absolute favorite albums from the past decade, in the order of the year I listened to them religiously. Branch out today!
Muse - Absolution (2005)
KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope (2006)
The Darkness - One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back (2007)
Last Shadow Puppets - Age of the Understatement (2009)
The Hoosiers - Trick to Life (2009)
Just Jack - All Night Cinema (2011)
Lenka - Lenka (2011)
Mark Ronson & The Business Intl - Record Collection (2012) ...
- Tuesday, January 14, 2014:
List Day: My Pandora Stations
My standard operation procedure for Pandora is to start with a single artist and tailor it with ratings until the algorithm goes awry and I'm forced to delete the station. I once had a Henry Mancini station which had a pleasant mix of dinner music like Pink Martini before the Pandora robot short circuited and played nothing but the dystopian accordion tangos of The Gotan Project.
Scissor Sisters : Flamboyantly upbeat music with strong dance beats, like Mika, Paloma Faith, or La Roux.
Gangstagrass : A mix of twangy bluegrass and hip hop, including groups like Nappy Roots and Rehab.
Mark Ronson : An eclectic mix of hip hop, electronic...
- Friday, January 03, 2014:
Today, I have released v0.1.0 of Auricle , a free, open-source resource for mastering music fundamentals and ear training skills. Weighing in at 86 hours of development effort, the initial release is pretty bare bones: you can login, and practice with a single fundamentals topic (Basic Notation). However, laying out the frameworks and infrastructure is the hardest part, so I should be able to make faster progress on future exercises.
The first exercise is a "see" exercise, which is essentially a multiple-choice quiz. Future exercises will also include "hear" exercises, for pitch and interval recognition, and "play" exercises, for keyboard input.
You can give it a try with thes...
- Wednesday, December 11, 2013:
2013 Favourites: Top 10 Songs First Heard in 2013
I know that my musical tastes generally don't align with that of most readers, but this is the one time of year that I try to push my favorites like a free sample to the street drug buffet. Give them a listen, on the off chance that you stumble upon something you like but never would have discovered on your own!
Trombone Shorty - Buckjump : The energy in this chart is irresistable.
Bird and The Bee - Man : I can't resist a good Bird and The Bee track, and the harpsichord in the background doesn't hurt.
Outkast and Janelle Monae - Call the Law : After I started listening t...
- Tuesday, November 19, 2013:
Sixteen years ago today, on November 19, 1997 , I was corresponding with a trumpeter from my high school, for whom I was writing a trumpet concerto. The concerto ultimately morphed into The Hero , a symphonic work which Dave McKee called "that grade IV solo with the grade VI accompaniment".
I had sent the score for the first movement to Cat Armstrong, the trumpeter, and she had sent back a cassette tape with her comments (Cat happened to be blind, which made writing notes on the score a non-starter). Here are some excerpts from my email correspondence, offering some rare insight into my super-serious musical thoughts as a young composer.
While I was working with your stre...