As a composer, I also have a few featured songs that were recently performed at the Student Composer’s Concerts at University of Northern Iowa. My styles vary depending on the theme of the song that I am currently composing. I will divide the featured songs up into categories based on their styles and harmonic language.
In this category, the music will have a scalar basis, meaning I use one or more scales as the basis of the melodic and harmonic material. I may also decide to not use a scalar basis but still center the piece around a collection of pitches, which will serve as a moving tonal center, to root the song in a more improvised harmonic basis.
Don Quijote’s Madness is a good example of this style.
Don Quijote’s Madness
- This was performed April 10, 2012 at UNI. J. Shick played the piano, and M. McClellan played the cello.
- This piece is an improvisation with a tonal center on E.
- I improvised this in July 2011, making it up as I went. It’s a raw recording that has not yet been edited.
This category involves the use of mathematics and physics theories. Depending on the project I have in mind, I will focus on a particular idea within physics and then craft the harmonic and melodic language from that idea. For example, each planet in the solar system can be described with a set of numbers that catalog its orbit, its size, mass, surface gravity, and so on and so forth. These parameters are numbers, and these numbers can be assigned to a scale.
In my Solar System piece, I did just that. I assigned the numbers 0 through 10 to two whole tone scales. Using this language, I was able to construct a piece that describes our Solar System. I then crafted the piece to give a sped up glimpse of the birth and death of the planets within the solar system. I used traditional instruments such as percussion, strings, and woodwinds to represent the various bodies in the solar system.
- Here is the piece and its more in-depth description: The Solar System
- This piece was performed in the last Thursday of November 2011 at the Student Composer’s Concert at UNI. Dr. Schmitz directed the performance, and there was ten student performers.
Another method is to use a set of ten to twelve notes, assign numbers to them, and then crunch them through some equations. The equations I chose for my Particles piece was the equations to give a probability of the location of a particle within a two body system. This provided the harmonic and melodic language, which I then carefully molded into a piece that represents various aspects of the Quantum mechanics theory and it’s most well known equation: the Schrodinger’s Equation.
- Here is the piece and its more in-depth description: Particles
- This piece, called Particles, was performed in April 2010 in the Student Composer’s Concert at UNI. Four student performers: a pianist, a celloist, an alto singer, and a clarinetist. Dr. Schmitz, my tutor, also directed this piece.
I am developing a few new melodic and harmonic languages based on the periodic table, quantum properties of particles, and the geometrical equations of space-time. My hope is to expand my list of compositions to explore other aspects of physics theories using musical techniques.
More of my music will be added to this page once I upload them to my primary account at SoundCloud: Aibird (My Profile)
Also, for your enjoyment, I have found a way to embed my playlist here directly. Enjoy: