Sep 212017
Starting Monday morning, September 25, will be unavailable for a bit.

It’s getting a facelift. It should take 10 minutes, but things that are supposed to take ten minutes often take days instead. So this is advance warning… if you need something before then, now’s your chance.

Fingers crossed that we’ll be alive and kicking in the blink of an eye and no harm done, but time will tell. (I tried to work as many clichรฉs as I could into that phrase, but I got bored and gave up.)

If you’d like to wish me luck below in the comments, feel free–I need all the luck I can get–but this post won’t show up after the update. Hopefully everything else will.

See you on the other side!


Aug 012017

Best. Analogy. Ever. Or at least the most accurate.

Yeah, that’s the story of my life.

From the front end, it looks like my site is just sitting here, toodling along without a hitch. On the back end, I’m in a bit of a panic. That’s what you get for doing things yourself.

When our cat isn’t napping in weird positions, he’s jumping off walls. Which pretty much describes the state of this poor site at the moment.

Apparently the theme I use (the thing that makes my site look like it does) is no longer up to the exacting standards of WordPress, and… skipping all the boring details… I have to redo the entire thing. (300+ pages. Okay, I admit it. That’s a plea for a little sympathy. Chocolate will be fine. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

It’s a blessing in disguise, really. After decades of adding scores and pages piecemeal there’s no uniformity in the content here, so that can be fixed. After the change all the Personal Composer scores will be available so you can transpose to your hearts’ content. The fonts and sizes on the scores will all be updated. This is all a good thing. *she tells herself*

Fortunately I found one of these for sale on the internet.

The project is in progress, and will (I hope) (fingers crossed) (fingers really crossed) be transparent when the changeover happens. However, I do anticipate the site being offline for a couple of days, hopefully in late August, while I make the switch, so be sure you get what you need before then. I don’t want anyone waiting until the night before a practice and finding that the score they need is temporarily inaccessible.

One thing to note: I am discontinuing the use of Soundclick (since they refuse to move on from Flash-based players), so any recordings found only on Soundclick will be unavailable, some temporarily, some permanently. If there’s something there that you really like, download it now.

I’ll give you a couple of days notice once everything is ready.

There are a few new things in the pipeline… I’m working on a children’s album with two new songs… Katherine Wright did a lovely new setting for a hymn-text I wrote… and a new Christmas choral is running circles in my brain… but I won’t post them until after the switch. No use doing the same work twice.

Happy Tuesday. I’m off to lasso a few more felines. ๐Ÿ˜›

Feb 062017

Fair warning: this is a really boring, instructive blog post, containing some rather basic information. It’s also a new FAQ entry in the making. ๐Ÿ™‚

Many of the songs here on the site include obbligatos that specify the use of a “C instrument.” People often write to ask, “What exactly is a C instrument?”

So without further ado…

OboeA “C instrument” is any instrument that plays a real, honest-to-goodness C when it encounters a C on the staff. Sometimes the instrument will sound in an octave other than the one you expect, but in spite of this liberty, it’s still a C instrument. Even violas, who insist on a clef of their very own, are C instruments.Violin

Here’s a list of C instruments, courtesy of Wikipedia:

If that list is too long, the C-instruments I most often write for are Violin, Cello, Flute, and Oboe, with some chimes thrown in here and there. They are sometimes interchangeable, sometimes interchangeable with a few adjustments, and sometimes interchangeable if you don’t mind annoying the player mightily and/or providing chocolate.

If an instrument isn’t a C instrument, it’s a transposing instrument. These renegades see what cellos and flutes and oboes render as real Cs, and make some other sound. When you listen to an orchestra, a substantial number of the instruments are doing this. Actually, they do it for every note, C or not. The grand thing is that somehow, like magic, it works.

I don’t often specify obbligatos for transposing instruments, although some of the obbligatos would sound just fine played on a horn or clarinet or alto flute or… If you have such instruments at your disposal, you can transpose the obbligatos using the Personal Composer files/demo. Some players are skilled enough to read the obbligatos as written and transpose on the fly, but don’t push your luck.

KazooWhile we’re on the subject, a related question that comes up is, “Will this obbligato sound good on a…” Unless the sentence ends in “kazoo” or “washboard,” well, give it a try and see if you like it. If the obbligato specifies “C instrument,” chances are it’s simple enough to sound reasonable on any of the more commonly-available instruments. If it specifies a “Flute” or “Violin” (or whatever) chances are I was after a particular sound or wrote in a particular register–though that doesn’t mean it won’t work on other instruments. The bottom line here is… if you like it, use it!