Not Quite Juvenilia, Vol. 3

6 February, 2010

In my undergrad, I wrote a piece for a female percussionist friend. It turned into a piece for two percussionists, and as it happens both players were women. So I ended up titling it after another female percussionist, Maureen Tucker. The title comes from a play on the old union song “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night”, which was also referenced in Bob Dylan’s song “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine.” This is not to suggest a sympathy with the Wobblies, but only a useful title. So here is I Dreamed I Saw Moe Tucker

A Young Man Ain’t Got Nothin’ In the World These Days

4 February, 2010

As an undergrad, I had the distinction of being the first student to receive the annual commission from the New Music Society at the Dana School of Music. For that commission, I wrote my Concerto Grosso. It’s for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and strings. The premiere soloists were Corrina Hoover, Pam Kennedy, and Reid Young. (If anyone has a link for these three, send it my way.) Herewith, the Concerto Grosso.

Men at Work

29 January, 2010

David Kulma and I are writing a piece for dance at Kent State University. It’s the first time either of us has done a collborative work, and the nature of our collaboration has been tremendous fun for both of us. Herewith, a clip showing some of the work we do in writing the piece.  This piece has been very process-oriented, and thus has required a great deal of whiteboard sketching. After our first round of such work, we began joking about filming these sessions for posterity. Now we have. Look on our work, ye mighty, and despair.

The Seminal Work or, Academia Ho!

17 January, 2010

My in-progress dissertation is concerned with Hindemith. His theory of chord analysis is a fascinating rethinking of harmony, and is  potentially more viable than set theory in analysis of post-tonal music. In his The Craft of Musical Composition, Hindemith presents analyses from Machaut to Schoenberg. His Schoenberg analysis always bothered me, because it seemed perfunctory, and because it seemed to bypass a true attempt at analysis in favor of a dismissal of Schoenberg’s music.

So, I went out for the team. I started working on analyses of other works, mainly concerned with chord root analysis and melodic step-progressions. To my delight, the sixth of Schoenberg’s Op. 19 piano pieces was very plausible in a Hindemithian analysis. While it is true that the perfect fifths and fourths that Hindemith priveleges are not as predominant, the melodic and harmonic intervals that Schoenberg himself prefers are structurally significant. Further, the upper voice and the general melodic tendency form a wonderful descending step-progression, crossing over 4 octaves in the course of less than 20 measures. Herewith, please find a more detailed discussion of the analyses that inspired my dissertation’s theoretic work.

Hindemith and Progression

Peter Maxwell Davies, Bs!

9 January, 2010

So I’m checking the stats on my website (it’s a daily reminder of how unbelievably awesome I am), and I see a link from referring to me. Apparently, in an interview they did with Mr. Davies, they referenced my paper on the magic square readings in two movements from his amazing piece, Ave Maris Stella.   It’s also a nice interview, talking about some of his earlier works (Miss Donnithorne, 8 Songs), and the ongoing series of string quartets on Naxos.

Like Oscar Wilde and Charles Wuorinen at a disco.

7 January, 2010

David Kulma and I are starting a new blog. We’re reading the big names in post-tonal theory, and commenting thereon. Starting w/ Forte’s The Structure of Atonal Music.

Not Quite Juvenilia, Vol. 1.

7 December, 2009

Some older works this week. We’ll start with a pair of smaller works, I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time, for any low (bass clef) instrument and piano, and Fanfares, Canons, and Chorales, for brass.  I Think… is based on a very simple magic square reading. Pitches are derived from a D mode, combining the major tetrachord (D, E, F-sharp, G) with the natural minor scale’s upper tetrachord (A, B-flat, C, D). The rhythms are not coordinated by the square at all, only the pitch content.

Fanfares is based on two Native American love songs (the titles I have forgotten and the source material is in a storage space at the moment). It was composed as a wedding gift for a family member. It begins and ends with a fanfare that features overlapping rhythmic ideas between upper and lower voices. In the middle, as one might expect from the utilitarian title, the two songs are treated canonically and are then stated in a pair of chorale harmonizations.

Concert tomorrow

4 December, 2009

5 December, 2009:

Trystero New Music concert of electronic works including works by Dorian Wallace, George Anderson, David Kulma (his fantastic A Series of Allusions and Implications: In memoriam Jason Clark), and my very own The Homestar Dances, based on samples downloaded from

You can hear said dances at my (irregularly maintained) MySpace page.

New Trio!

28 November, 2009

A newish piece, written over the summer, mostly in the Wild West of South Dakota, between Indian attacks. It’s a trio for flute, oboe, and bassoon, and is dedicated to Krystal Young, David Kulma, and Leah Schaaf.

Someone Saved My Life Tonight Score

Three Bagatelles

26 November, 2009

These are three pieces originally in open score, transcribed for piano. Dorian Wallace premiered the piano version.

 Three Bagatelles