RPM Day 7

When I woke up this morning at around 6, I laid there for a few minutes until I was suddenly compelled to get out of bed, get the coffee going and get to work. I am so thankful that this project is motivating me so much!

So I tried some more to fix my Cubase problem. I didn’t exactly get if fixed, but I did find a workaround. I got to work on “Serpentine.” It started out as a sort of spooky dissonant thing, but somehow this morning a funky little bass line emerged and I got some drums going too. Interesting. I like it so far.

Yesterday morning I did more work on the orchestration for “When It Will Bloom.” The oboe part surprised me a bit, there is a little percolating 16th note figure in the piece now which is pretty out of character when compared to the original version. Though it’s time consuming, I think this is really the best way to approach writing a piece like this for me. Writing the entire thing out, I mean. It’s really forcing me to think about each note and as a result, the piece is going to have much more direction. Here’s an example of the oboe part:

I have another deadline this week, I need to write two songs for another project. Slightly overwhelming but what a lovely way to be overwhelmed.


The best part of this process so far is that I am constantly thinking about writing music. I wrote some lyrics on the subway yesterday and came up with some ideas about my second song for the RPM album. The title is “Serpentine.” I toyed around with some musical ideas for it, and have a start, but when I opened up Cubase to start sequencing some music I ran into a snag.

There are a handful of applications that facilitate communication between my keyboard and the music production software on my computer. One of them, the editor, actually keeps my keyboard in sync precisely with the computer, so, if I change one of the sounds on my keybaord, it gets changed in Cubase, and vice versa. Yesterday, Mr Editor was NOT playing along as directed so I spent alot of time reviewing settings, and making sure I had everything set properly. I did. Boo.

Luckily, there is a dedicated website for users of the Yamaha S90XS with a forum that is frequented by a particularly brilliant tech guy for Yamaha. I posted my problem and expect to have a solution sometime today. Thank God for the internet. Until then, I am going to work of my orchestration for When It Will Bloom.

Technical issues like these frustrate me a great deal, but as much as I want to be a more prolific composer and songwriter, I want to be more proficient at how all this stuff works as well. When my new audio interface arrives I’m going to have a whole new batch of problems learning opportunities.



It’s probably been six months since my friend Sari Gurney finished the design on this site (check out her other work here.) When it was done I found myself paralyzed at the thought of how to begin writing on an “artist” site. I knew what I would write if I had already started, but what is the first post supposed to be?

For a couple of years now I have been wanting to commit to doing the RPM Challenge: 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material written and recorded in the month of February. It looks like this is my year and a perfect time to start making use of this site.

So, here’s where I am with it on day three:

– I decided to allow myself one “cheat.” I’m including a piece that I have already begun, and even performed in Houston at DiverseWorks. The piece is called “When It Will Bloom.” I wanted to re-orchestrate the entire thing anyway so I started it entirely from scratch on Feb 1st. It’s being written for Piano, String Quartet, Synthesizer and Oboe. Of course, all of that will be generated from my keyboard (Yamaha S90XS, if you’re into that sort of thing) unless the funds to pay 6 other musicians miraculously appears before the end of February. I’ve written 45 measures so far.

– I met with my pal Eve Beglarian last night. A brilliant composer and friend who is kindly helping me out as I re-enter the world of composition in terms of writing that shit down on paper. We also talked about my need for:

– A digital audio interface for my computer. I decided on a MOTU Microbook, which I ordered last night. Now I’ll be able to properly record my work. Yup yup.

I have LOTS of other work going on right now, so the trick is going to be balancing my time between teaching, my “for pay” music writing and the RPM project. I’m thinking the “for pay” work will happen during regular 9-5 work hours that I have available and I will do RPM work on evenings, early mornings and weekends. With updates and maybe some audio samples here as they emerge. I also have had a musical theater project on the back burner for way too long, so I am thinking of including some as-yet-unwritten songs from that on the RPM album as well.

I welcome your encouragement and support with this project. I’m feeling SO INSPIRED!