Perfect Pitch: No Measure of Musical Ability

Perfect Pitch: No Measure of Musical Ability

I once saw a YouTube video of a dog demonstrating perfect pitch.  A lovely Golden Retriever sat at what looked to be a makeshift, paw-friendly piano keyboard . Opposite and off screen, a woman played a penny whistle and addressed the dog in German.  The woman would...
Are Friends Delight or Pain for Double SATB Chorus A Cappella

Are Friends Delight or Pain for Double SATB Chorus A Cappella

This setting of Emily Dickinson’s short poem is an excerpt from my 1996 piece Cycle of Friends for soprano solo, chorus and chamber orchestra.  This video perusal score features the premiere performance by the Music Group of Philadelphia, conducted by Seán...

"Ducks in the Garden" for SATB Chorus

This off-beat little a cappella piece was written many, many years ago (1991, to be exact).  It is an earnest and faithful setting of a very silly poem by my friend Will T. Laughlin.  It happens to be very difficult to learn and perform, with a lot of meter changes,...

"Roll the Tide" for SATB Chorus

“Roll the Tide” is a short, a cappella quasi-spiritual excerpted from the larger work Waiting…, based on poems by Elisabeth T. Eliassen. In the “video perusal score” above, you can follow the score as you hear its premiere performance by...

Upcoming Performances for Summer 2012

The SF Choral Artists, conducted by Magen Solomon, will give the world premiere of my very short (and very, very silly) a cappella madrigal Ducks in the Garden, which was composed in 1991. Details… July 27 – Kodály Summer Institute, Holy Names University,...

Poetry and Music: A Conversation With Poet Elisabeth T. Eliassen

What is so wonderful about for me about my poetic “thought music” is that while it can have specific meaning for me, it doesn’t have to have a specific meaning for anyone else. — poet Elisabeth T. Eliassen My new choral work Waiting… is built around a...

New Choral Work to be Premiered in February

The Sanford Dole Ensemble will give the premiere performance of my new choral work Waiting…, for chorus, string quartet and piano,  at the San Francisco Conservatory on February 4th at 8:00pm. This “All New, All Local” program also includes new works...
What is a Tritone? And, What Isn’t It?

What is a Tritone? And, What Isn’t It?

The word tritone is frequently used interchangeably with the terms augmented fourth and diminished fifth.  Let’s see if we can clear that up. The intervals of the augmented fourth and diminished fifth indeed sound the same when played out of context on a piano,...

Raw Dough and Tea: Diabolical Solfège Songs

I recently discovered that an old acquaintance of mine is a fellow musicianship teacher and has been writing and recording diabolically clever songs that illustrate musical ear training concepts in a refreshing and fun way. David Newman is an accomplished baritone...