Archive | April, 2010

Joined ASCAP

I’ve always thought these performance rights organizations were one step removed from the mob.  Tons o’ money sloshing around, some incredibly powerful legislation and court cases at their back, a near monopoly on the services they provide.

But they also provide great resources and the main way for composers to earn income for performances of their works.

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Star Spangled Banner for SATB and hand drum

I created a new arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner for Global Harmony Community Chorus to sing at a nationally televised Minnesota Lynx WNBA game on June 1. I’m very excited about it!

It departs from the traditional harmonies and also adds some African-inspired rhythms and harmonic progressions. A fair amount of I-IV-I thrown in for a more soulful feel.

From the Program Notes:

I wanted to reflect the multicultural demographics of the United States in the 21st Century and not just the British history as is evoked with the traditional setting.

I wanted more modern rhythms and harmonies while remaining compatible with the John Stafford Smith melody, since often the audience sings along. I also wanted to evoke some of the vivid imagery that is in Francis Scott Key’s poem.

Lastly I wanted the arrangement to be flexible for performance and a fun alternative to the usual with a few surprises.

I will participate in a rehearsal this Sunday and can’t wait to hear what it sounds like!

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Upgraded to Sibelius 6

After years and years of using Sibelius 1.4 for my notation software, I finally upgraded it to Sibelius 6. So far, with only a week of using the upgrade, I’m pretty impressed.

Before the Dynamic Parts feature, you would extract parts into separate files and then worry about syncing them back up with the score file if you made any changes in a given part. No more! The Dynamic Parts keeps all your separate parts within the master score file and changes are reflected throughout. Awesome.

Also you can track versions within a single file. I used to save about three or four copies of a file each day I worked on it, just “in case” I wanted to go back to before making a major change. No more!

I will need to spend a lot more time working on it to get fully used to it. They changed some of the keyboard shortcuts, so I make some input mistakes with my old keyboard habits ingrained.

But still, more than 10 years later, I have no regrets about switching from Finale. For most things, I find Sibelius to be vastly easier to work with.

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