My Neglected Blog

Perfect Pitch: No Measure of Musical Ability

January 7th, 2014|

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 […]

Music for Soprano Solo and Orchestra – “Blue Hills Over the North Wall”

December 12th, 2012|

“Blue Hills Over the North Wall” is an excerpt from my 1996 piece Cycle of Friends for soprano, chorus and chamber orchestra, commissioned by the Music Group of Philadelphia, and premiered by them in conjunction with Orchestra 2001. I was in my twenties when I […]

Are Friends Delight or Pain for Double SATB Chorus A Cappella

November 22nd, 2012|

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 Deibler […]

“Ducks in the Garden” for SATB Chorus

July 5th, 2012|

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 […]

“Roll the Tide” for SATB Chorus

July 5th, 2012|

“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 the 2011 Kodály Summer Institute Chorus at Holy Names University, conducted by […]

Upcoming Performances for Summer 2012

May 18th, 2012|

The San Francisco 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.

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

January 26th, 2012|

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 […]

New Choral Work to be Premiered in February

January 9th, 2012|

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 by San Francisco composers David Conte and Peter […]

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

November 16th, 2011|

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, but they are not the same interval, they are not both the same thing as a tritone, and the tritone is not an inversion of itself. […]

Raw Dough and Tea: Diabolical Solfège Songs

November 11th, 2011|

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 soloist and teacher of voice and musicianship at James Madison University, who apparently knows a thing or two about songwriting as well.  His songs are on YouTube and they speak for themselves. If you are at all concerned with getting students to hear harmonic progressions and intervals, you will be thoroughly entertained by these. […]