Believing in Ghosts

I feel that many of our problems as composers are self-created byproducts of something that is not actually there. Oftentimes, our compositional ghosts are constructed more out of our own fear and anticipation of disapproval, absorbed through a strange form of social osmosis rather than handed down from an authority figure on high.

Games Played: Dyad

Dyad is that rare musical game that owes nothing to the stagnant glut of Guitar Hero and Rock Band knock-offs—a new and decidedly high-octane way to interact with our senses, both high-tech and deeply expressive of the user experience.

Games Played: ToneCraft

ToneCraft—a musical toolkit that takes advantage of Web Audio API as a workspace for free composition—provides a fantastic metaphor for introducing unwitting normal people to the zany world of composing, albeit one that is far too limited for anything beyond some rudimentary dabbling.

Fonts, Glorious Fonts!

It’s pretty geeky to write, think, or read about fonts. But if you’re composing notated music, trust me, paying attention to fonts won’t make you any more of a geek than you already are—and you’ll likely reap some great benefits as a result.

The Top Five Composer Blunders

Following my recent open letter to new music performers, I thought it might be worth turning a critical eye on composerly habits that can grate on others and stunt personal growth.

Down the Pigeonhole

It is a composer’s prerogative to seek out new stimuli and accept new challenges in order to ward against stagnation. But there are also external forces which conspire to define composers and lump their work into handy pigeonholes.

An Open Letter to Performers of New Music

Here’s why it’s so important for ensembles to make sure they keep living composers apprised of performances of their own works: performances are as much the bread and butter of a composer’s career as the performer who actually brings the new work to life onstage.

Games Played: Journey

It might be more accurate to consider Journey as a musical composition with interactive video element, rather than as a barely challenging game with a fantastic and lovingly created underscore.

The Quest for Volume

When I think about the variety of musical instruments among the world’s cultures, I can’t help but notice how one universal driving force behind the evolution of new musical technology has always been the search for louder sounds.

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