I've always had a liking
for classical music. I think it must have started
with video games, however nerdy that is. There I was, six years old, playing Age of Empires ... and hearing Stephen
Rippy's synthesized soundtrack. Many of my favourite
composers are still ones who work in the video game industry: Michael Giacchino, Jason Hayes, and Jeremy Soule come to mind instantly.
I didn't really think about
making my own until high school.
My brother Caspian used to use a program called PowerTab, which I tried out... I had no music theory and PowerTab didn't give you any. The music I created lacked everything, including a time signature, and you could hear it.
Later my band teacher, K.
Hayward, introduced me to a nifty program: Finale
Notepad. It had two strengths: it didn't sound
quite so bad, and it foisted basic music theory on the user. Of
course, it wasn't perfect, but it worked for me. I
used it for two years, and the music is somewhat more acceptable.
Flashback: Joyful Canon, 2006
of the Lord, 2007
But I was still just fooling around until, once I knew how to do more than Notepad's limits, I shelled out to get the full version of Finale. Mostly it had a lot of neat things that ease the more tedious parts of composing, including making orchestration easier.
Eventually I put together everything I'd done on a single album: Gray
Gate Symphony (all the music is now free, though). It was a summary of all
my stuff so far, run through, frankly, too much reverb. It's still recent enough to delight me when I listen to it.
Flashback: Of Demons, 2008
In 2009 I acquired Garritan Instruments,
which are real instruments recorded for your use at home. Sweet! I also worked on actually improving my composing. I regularly talk and discuss music with fellow amateur composers (like Sean Patrick Hannifin, see the section below), and I taught myself some basic music theory out of books. My list of influences
shifted from video game composers to the classical greats. I also tried some new forms ;
Experimental piece: The Royal Say, 2009
Recently I've been writing pieces with more thought, planning, and time. The list at the top of the page has most of them, but I also made another CD, An Unfamiliar Place (bet you didn't see that coming), which was a collection of pieces with the theme of moving on from my familiar home, my comfort zone, to a new place.
In spring and summer 2010, my friend Marc Wilkinson of Chaotic Edge asked me to write the scores for three short films, which I did:
Short film score:
Shadows of the Frozen (video — old version)
Short film score:
The Archaic Duel (video)
Short film score: The Golden Hour (video)
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For six weeks in late 2008 to early 2009, I worked on a side project (Sean
Hannifin's) called Free Daily Melody.
Each day, he
produced a simple melody, played just by piano: the treble
line and the chords. I undertook
to orchestrate them all as well as I could, matching him one a day. It was a challenge because of the melodies' small format: I had to compose each piece quickly; I had to pack a coherent, listenable piece into only a few bars; and I had to scrounge for creativity since I had just one sequence of notes without much deviation allowed. Over time they got more and more developed, and I gained in several ways from this project.
Here are all the ones I completed while the project was underway.
Orchestration; = Sean's Original
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