I am currently working on a piano trio piece, commissioned by the Trio Nuovo to be performed in April. The plan is to have this performed in an all-Beethoven concert so I am incorporating some of Beethoven’s themes and motives into the piece. You can download and listen to the score here:
Anyways…so far I have included Für Elise and the opening motive of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The plan is to have this piece begin in C minor and end in C major. Why, do you ask? Because that is what Beethoven does in his 5th Symphony!!
This is my second piano trio. Here is my first one….
Side note…it is Christmas time and all of my family is in town. It is always great to see my brother, sister, nephews, nieces, etc but it can get exhausting. Yesterday I played a game of football with them and halfway through realized that my 45-year-old self needs to chill or a torn ACL is in my future. I was trying to make moves I haven’t made in 45 years. Here is a pic of a few family members:
Etude 1. This performance is a big hot mess but at least it gives you an idea of what it should sound like. I am currently composing 10 etudes. The main reason I am composing these is to help me to become a better guitarist. I am currently working on the 7th and this one (etude 1) is by far the hardest.
Last night I finished a rough draft of my 6th etude. It primarily uses the tapping technique throughout. Here is the midi recording…
This is very much a rough draft. After I write all ten I will go through one by one and make some changes here and there as well as add more articulations and dynamics.
I started working on the 7th one today. For this one I want to explore different timbres on the guitar such as dolce, ponticello, glissandi, and so on. I improvised some ideas which you can listen to here…
You can hear in the recording that I am playing certain passages ponticello. Other passages I am plucking 12 frets higher than the left hand fingering which gives it a hallow sound. At one point I pluck the string on the left side of my left hand and then do a little glissando. A couple points I cross the strings which gives it a very percussive sound.
My goal is to get these 10 etudes composed by Christmas and hopefully will begin recording after that. I’ve got a lot going on so I’ll see. I have a commission for a piano trio that will be performed in April, I want to do another volume of easy arrangements (English/Irish/Scottish folk songs), as well as life (school, family, etc).
Side note….I took this pic a couple nights ago. The fog was rolling in and it looked really cool outside. Unfortunately the pic really doesn’t do it justice.
Currently working on my 6th etude. My goal is to write 10 etudes. I am writing these for a couple of reasons: to make me a better guitarist and to explore the different sounds (extended techniques) you can get from the guitar. For this one I am incorporating tapping. This technique involves “tapping” a right hand finger on the fingerboard to produce a sound which is usually followed by pulling off to an open string or a note with the left hand. Eddie Van Halen made this technique popular in his piece, “Eruption”…
Eddie Van Halen was/is a HUGE influence on me. Pretty sure if EVH had never been born I would have been a recorder player instead of a guitarist.
Here is what I’ve got so far….
You can listen to it here…
I recorded this last night and I worked on the piece some more today so the audio doesn’t quite match up to the score.
Last weekend I played the South Haven Jazz Festival. My combo was made up of myself and two Lake Michigan College students (where I teach) and my oldest son. It was a blast and the weather was perfect. Here are a few pics from that concert (courtesy of Marissa Hoard)
Change of subject………
Friday was an AMAZING day because it was hot and muggy and I was able to go golfing. Golfing is pretty much my most favorite thing to do ever and I live in Michigan where in late September the weather can not be great so that fact that I went golfing on Friday and it felt like summer was…….let’s just say it was perfect.
Change of subject (last time)….
I’ve not been good lately with listening to the Buckethead pikes. In my book, Buckethead is a genius and I want to check out all of his pikes (all 200+ of them!!). Last week I finished the 44th one. I keep a list of what I have listened to on my phone as well as songs from the pikes that I like a lot and will want to check out again.
I am currently composing 10 etudes for the classical guitar. I am writing them for myself, to become a better guitarist, and I am also composing them for anyone interested in incorporating new techniques in their playing. Extended techniques are a great way to increase the expressive nature of this beautiful instrument.
Here is the ending of my 8th Lament. Last year I composed rough drafts of twelve laments. I am currently going through and expanding them. I am currently through eight of them.
This one uses tapping with the right hand to play the bass part. Tapping is fun and is easier to get a good sound on an electric guitar than a classical. When you tap the bass strings on a classical there is a lot of noise. If you tap on the upper three strings it’s tough to get a loud enough sound. Here is the score for this section…