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Everything posted by Rodney

  1. Yes, in fact when I started using a computer to make music, I arranged for other instruments than piano most of the time. When I first put out this one, I got 179,000 views: Me too, but I kept reminding myself that it referred to the speed of one's finger's descent to the ivory! The thing is, I was not, and am not, much interested in becoming a good arranger, just a melodist and songwriter. But the only way I could see my way clear to achieving this--to get heard and noticed--was to approach local concert bands or to create computer arrangements not meant for human players. So I had to study orchestration and arranging to an extent. I started with a notation program called Rhapsody, given to me gratis by a young flautist who was in one of those concert bands, after my first-ever premiere, a very ambitious piece called ANTHEM. (Afterwards I inputted the whole massive score into Finale but never used the result. The concert used my onerously handwritten score and parts.) Then I switched to Rhapsody's later version, Encore. Finally, I took up MuseScore, which I still use. From MuseScore you can create both PDF scores and parts and sound files. I prefer MP3 because I can fix the exact sounds in the final product; with MIDI the end consumer can change the sounds and I don't like that.
  2. I think it's because in the score the melody is set low. A human piano player, whom I hope the piece would have one day, could make sure the melody is more exposed. I could have simply changed the velocity on the melody notes for recording the playback, but I didn't think the issue was worth the trouble (also I had a submission deadline).
  3. That has always been a favorite of mine. Only later did I learn it was an old song. Here's a very operatic pop song from that same period, which was also a favorite--you probably know it:
  4. Years ago I wrote what I like to call a “serious operetta” titled THE WATCHER ON THE SHORE (WOTS). Recently, I revised its first scene in order to enter a competition held by Hartford Opera Theater. Though I did not win, I got an email stating, “[We] want you to know that we regard your work highly and that ‘The Watcher on the Shore’ was in the Top 10 selections that were finalists.” (I also entered it into three or four other competitions for which the results have not come out yet.) The entire scene is about 13 minutes long (of continuous music), of which the first third is an instrumental introduction, which is the sound file here. This short piece begins with a melody used later on in WOTS for a song titled “I’d Like to Welcome Everyone,” making it appropriate for this instrumental opening. Next there is a representative section of the title tune. The ending is a succession of waltzes (a dance form given significance in the story), some truncated and one of them more romantic in style. The basic theme of WOTS is the tension between different approaches to life, represented by the characters in that first scene (soprano and tenor). My focus is not on Objectivism, but the influence is likely much apparent.
  5. For some years, there has been a ghastly trend of film- and meme-makers' using some of my favorite music and pictorial art to subversive ends (subversive of the very values by which the works even attract an audience). Disturbingly, I suspect that the reason they do it is because they in fact LOVE these works themselves, but want to bring them before today's public in a way that today's intellectuals will not heap scorn on. Schwarzkopf is my favorite soprano. I love the vowel sound she gives to the city name "Wein" at the end, which I believe she does because the note is high and loud and certain vowel sounds do not work well in that situation. Normally this annoys me a bit, but not in this case--I love how she sings this whole thing. I hope to one day be known for at least one song myself. I think I already wrote it a while ago, but as you know there is a lot involved in such success besides the quality of one's work. Crucial is getting heard to a certain "critical mass."
  6. Thanks for fixing it, Michael. On second thought, I misunderstood. I had decided in the end NOT to embed the video. But I do not mind that you did.
  7. This recording has been one of my earliest inspirations as a composer and songwriter. It is a love song to the city of Vienna, written by Rudolf Sieczyński, sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.
  8. To be convincing, the video would have to be done in one take, and many more times. It's not, and the lack of that makes me think the video creator simply spliced together the successful runs. I love cats and would like this to be true, but the video does not show it.
  9. My recommendation is to start with AR's fiction--and not ATLAS SHRUGGED, but THE FOUNTAINHEAD or even WE THE LIVING. Thus you can see where it all germinates. It is, after all, in her intention "a philosophy for living on Earth." The novels show a working-out of her ideas in life itself, and the terms in which she is conceiving it.
  10. One does not even need any math to resolve the paradox (explain the apparent contradiction). It was resolved at the beginning. It only takes a little thought and a discovery of the fallacious assumptions in the statement of the "contradiction." One can state things in mathematical terms afterwards, but that is not necessary. The thread is useful only in showing how screwed-up a mind can be, and still seem brilliant (and perhaps be such, in certain quite limited aspects).
  11. In my top favorites by him, how could I neglect to mention Pitney's "Only Love Can Break a Heart" (thanks for the reminder of it) and his "Half Heaven, Half Heartache "? Both of these records sit at the pinnacles of songwriting and arrangement excellence, in my view. (Bacharach wrote the first one.)
  12. Gene Pitney's "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" has always been one of my favorite records. The song was never used in the movie it was written for, but I had never heard of any such movie anyway. From the standpoint of music theory, I am intrigued by the fact that the fiddle introduction to "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" is intentionally out of tune--and that the record is the better for it. I explain this by holding that music is based ultimately not on the use of mathematical tonal relationships but on the use of psychological impulses of which a major example is the use of those tonal relationships. Gene Pitney did another song that WAS used in its same-titled movie: "Town Without Pity," again one of my favorites, and again one whose connected movie I never knew existed. The record seems to capture all the inchoate yearnings and confusions of the young people of the time.
  13. Here is the lyric: AVE MARIA (Ellen’s Prayer) Ave Maria! Maiden mild! O, listen to a maiden’s prayer! Thou canst hear though from the wild, thou canst save amid despair. Ave Maria! Ave Maria! May safe we sleep beneath thy care, though banished, outcast and reviled. O, maiden! Hear a maiden’s prayer, Let thy protection hover there, The murky cavern’s heavy air shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled; Then maiden hear me as I pray, Ave Maria, Maria, Ave! (After Walter Scott)
  14. Here is a link to my song "Ave Maria (Ellen's Prayer)" as performed March 10 in Minneapolis. The singer is Christina Christensen, mezzo-soprano ( and the pianist is Emily Urban ( (I am not sure how long this link will remain active; I will post a permanent link later. However, the audio file can be downloaded from this link.)
  15. As Valentine's Day winds down, here's a little offering, by one Leapy Lee, as a sendoff: There's a boy a little boyShooting arrows in the blueAnd he's aiming them at someoneBut the question is at who.Is it me or is it youIt's hard to tell until you're hitBut you know it when they hit you'Cause they hurt a little bit.Here they comePouring out of the blue ...
  16. When I saw the first ads for MADAME SECRETARY, I realized right away the subtext. Never watched it.
  17. My song "When Matter Touches Antimatter" is set to be performed again this month in Austin, TX. I got this email this morning: Rodney, Hope you're well! Fast Forward Austin has asked OOO [One Ounce Opera] to contribute a short set of contemporary art song on their upcoming FFA Festival, Sat 9/22. I would like to include an encore performance of "When Matter Touches Antimatter," if you approve of the inclusion. Here's a link to more about the event, which is free to attend: Here's more about Fast Forward Austin: Let me know what you think! Best, Julie Julie Fiore Executive Director and Founder
  18. I hope that wasn't to argue against me, because I know all that you said of course. The slip is not between the wheels, but between one of the wheels and its tangential path. Which one depends on which wheel is doing the actual rolling.
  19. Looking over this thread I see that all the points I would want to make have already been made. The paradox is easily resolved in reason. The resolution obviously would be able to be mathematically expressed; but it would be a mathematical expression of slippage, and quite unnecessary to the curious mind. So I am out.
  20. Hold a flower by the stem and twirl it in your fingers. Notice how slowly you can move your fingers while the petals whirl around.
  21. Yes, that's a good one, always liked it--though not as much as this one. BBJ is also easier to interpret in rational-ethical terms.
  22. This song, "Desert Pete" by The Kingston Trio, at first blush seems to convincingly argue against the ethics of rational self-interest: There is no denying the impact of the song for many listeners. Judge for yourself: However, I think the song's impact stems from factors that do not have to involve the literal truth of the quoted lines: the compelling issues of pioneer life and human survival that form the factual background; the power of art--the excellence of the song as a song, including the fact that the spoken portions are poetic and underpinned with good music and the chorus has a good melody; the repetition in the chorus, with its well-known artistic effect of tying all the thoughts into a satisfying unity; and a certain underlying truth behind the moral force of the tale. I think it is possible to state that moral principle in terms compatible with rational self-interest. I have my own formulation. Anyone else care to address it?
  23. I have made my own YouTube video for "When Matter Touches Antimatter." The audio is from the World Premiere, performed by tenor Brian Minnick, November 3, 2017, at Central Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas. The song was a winner of the Second Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song competition, hosted by One Ounce Opera.
  24. I should mention I don't like 90% of her work, especially the later things (I admit I have not heard much of it)! But the things I do like I find stimulating and challenging. Moreover, I am fascinated by her personality, which you might as well get a sample of here. I am a melody man, and there is not much of a tune in this song ("Hunter"), but there are other aspects of the music I do like--and look at her facial expressions as she sings!
  25. I was aware of the Regina connection, having noticed it mentioned in a YouTube comment also. I don't think Björk so much was influenced by Regina as admired and identified with her. Björk had, very early on, quite a repertoire of vocal expressive tools, completely sui generis, as is shown in her very first independent release, Human Behavior (which I'm hoping you've never heard--it's a great example of her virtuosic vocalizations!)--which shot her to major fame. You bring up many subjects that I don't have time to discuss these days. Maybe sometime later. (You certainly have a varied history and background in many topics! Your theme song might be Björk's 'I've Seen It All,' the song nominated for an Oscar she would have gotten at the ceremony where she wore that 'swan dress.')