Why the “California Girls” Chorus Won’t Get Out of Your Ears

Some tunes won’t get out of your ears. The chorus from the Beach Boys’ “California Girls” is one of them

Chromaticism: Accidentals Aren’t Created Equal

Why do composers use all those flats and sharps, let alone the weird x’s? Understanding this question can help you both as you play music and as you write it.

Pre-composition is not the real work

Relating to my January composing report, I rediscovered this gem from the LA Phil while looking up notes on Joan Tower’s Violin Concerto:

Composing Report: January 2016

As part of my PhD studies, I’ve wanted to develop professional work habits. I needed a composing system that would eliminate my excuses for not working and would cushion me against life’s curveballs.

Melodies vs. Gestures

melodies on a pageMany people say melody — the foreground sequence of pitches — is an essential part of music, but lots of music does just fine without any pitches. Even music that uses notes often doesn’t have melodies. So how does music operate when it does not have melodies?