I used to compose fairly frantically (though not necessarily fairly cluefully) between 1985 and 1988. By the time I was finishing high school, in 1988, I was actually getting the hang of it (though I was still having trouble working out how to finish a piece.) The best thing I produced was a sonata for violin and piano; unfortunately I lent the piano part to my fellow student Geoffrey Urquhart, and I never got around to picking it back up. (One of these months...)

In 1999, I came across what I'd been looking for for a very long time: shareware that would allow me to enter my tunes onto computer, so I wouldn't be at the mercy of musician friends to perform my pieces. (Never really got to, in the end; my arrangements of the Dutch and Danish national anthems for the final lectures of Tobias Ruighaver and Harald Søndergard, 1990 Computer Science, don't really count.) That software, which I'm quite happy to plug, is Myriad's Harmony Assistant.

To cheer myself through some dark days in 1999, I started writing music again, as well as finally entering someone of my older pieces (and having to do a lot of tidying up in the process.) Most of these are rather more pleasant — and tuneful — than what I suspect my native idiom is: chromatic and polyphonic, probably like Reger only even worse. I haven't managed to get much done in 2000 on account of the book I've been working on, but perhaps I'll get more out soon. They are posted here in Myriad format and MIDI. I've also posted PDFs of the pieces; most are done in Myriad, so they aren't that neat, but I've done a couple in Finale. These pieces are also available in Mp3 format at my page.

Lumen Mundi Es (Alto, Tenor, Bass; 1987) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

I wrote this out of annoyance in having to play in the orchestra for our high school production of Godspell, that fatuous "Jesus is Cool" '70s musical (Jesus Christ Superstar was at least much more cogent.) As a response, I mocked up a pseudo-Gregorian Latin version of one of the musical's songs: You are the light of the world;/ but if that's light's under a bushel/ it's missing something kinda crucial./ You gotta be cool to be the light of the world.) (Never mind your Mapplethorpes; that's your capital crime right there.)

Perpetuum Mobile (with Nishad Prakash) (May 1999) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

This is what happens when you let your colleagues play with the reflection tool on composition software. My co-worker Nishad went bezerk over my new music software, and proclaimed leoninely that he would take over the world with his exponentially growing composition (i.e. cut and paste retrogrades and inversions.) In reality he got stuck at bar 25, and I took over.

Seattle (Piano, Banjo, Guitar; June 1999) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

My first piece proper; a minimalist doodle begotten of my joy at getting the hell out of Orange County (and to Seattle) for the first time since arriving there.

Fugue on Master of Puppets (3 voices; July 1999) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

This is a fugue on a riff in the guitar break on the Metallica song Master of Puppets, with another riff appearing later on as a countersubject. Probably a little tamer than it should have been.

Invention in G (Piano; August 1999) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

This piece is basically a canon, with no tonality that would be out of place with Haydn. Given the sucking vacuum of my life at the time, I'm surprised it turned out so sprightly. This was by request for Nishad, who is a sucker for arpeggios.

Tik (Piano, Drums; October 1999) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

Something I very briefly tossed off to see how drum kits worked on Myriad; a dance after the style of the Pontic tik.

Scherzo in F (Piano; December 1999) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

A tune that had been wandering in my brain for years, before I finally snared it into a scherzo with not that much of a trio.

Study in Short Attention Span (Violin; 1991/January 2000) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

This is a minimalist piece, only minus the interest. :-) Somewhere around the middle I unwittingly quoted from Philip Glass' Einstein on the Beach; but this is even more redux than that piece, if at all possible.

Twyborn (Piano; January 2000) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

In this piece (the plan of which had been running around in my brain for a decade), I tackle the problem of how to set a folk song, from a monophonic tradition that does not take kindly to western harmony. The piece is a series of settings of a Cretan folk song, The Death of Digenis. Digenis (who has also been translated in English as Twyborn) was a hero of Byzantine romance; his memory has persisted in many regions of Greece, particularly in his epic fight with Death. You can consult the song's text; the version I used is from a recording made by the Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, in the '30s. The piece contains my first chorale (the penultimate setting), and I'm rather happy with how I've accomodated the tune.

Nocturne in Bb (Piano; 1987/February 2000) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

A mellow rondo, with too many countersubjects, and some problems with its form around the middle (no, the Beethoven quote in the middle is not strictly necessary.) I did some major intervention when I came back to it 12 years later, but am not sure I managed to fix it. Ends well, though -- the only thing I seem to have learned in the intervening decade.

Waltz in A (Piano; February 2000) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

A fairly straightforward waltz (another tune I had in mind for a long time -- since 1992), with a trio I tossed off pretty much on the spot.

Canzone for Horn and Piano (1992/March 2000) [Myriad] | [MIDI] | [PDF]

This is another piece more akin to my style; the nervous crashing through remote keys is very much me. Originally this was a song (When will I grow to joy), but it does much better wordless.

Nick Nicholas, opoudjis [AT] optusnet . com . au
Created: 2001-3-6; Last revision: 2003-4-12