D. Ackerman

Greetings to all who wander through. To introduce myself, I am a writer, an artist, what Stravinsky called an inventor of music. In short, I am a composer. And this is my little bit of digital land. Come in and make yourself comfortable. Take off your coat. Kick up your heels. Stay a while. Sample the humble entertainments that I prepare for you.

Since my breed has fallen a bit out of the daily life of good people everywhere, I ought to try and describe what it is that I and those like me do. (For those already familiar with the job description, please feel free to skip ahead. This isn't class, and there won't be a quiz at the end. Go ahead and click on that button that reads "Composition" over on the side, or skip to the second paragraph from the end and I'll try to tell you a bit about what I want to accomplish.)

We write music. This much is obvious. This makes us a bit like the songwriters you met at your church or that coffee shop down the street. To be fair, a songwriter is a composer of a certain type. A specialist of a sort. A craftsman. Some of us even started out that way. We picked our music up as a hobby, but we couldn't seem to quit and go to bed at a reasonable hour of the morning.

But there are differences too. Many of the best songwriters are self taught. They find something they like, and they stick with it. It's the kind of thing you can learn pretty much on your own. A good songwriter is like a good carpenter in that respect. Most of us know the basic tools of the trade. Quite a few of us can even use them to an extent. You don't need to take years of High School shop classes, you just need to work with wood a lot.

A composer is a bit more like an architect. Simply carving wood won't make you a good architect. You need to study architecture, including all the arcane things an architect needs to know, like building codes, and structural dynamics, and form and balance and so forth. And this does take years of formal education. A songwriter can learn to play the guitar and he's pretty much set. He can pick up the rest on his own if he has a good ear and plays a lot. A composer needs to study harmony, and counterpoint, and form and balance and a dozen different instruments . . .

I think you have the idea. Right. So what was I trying to do here? I promised that I'd try and tell you what I want to do with this great art we call music. If you haven't already noticed, music, like pretty much every other art, has experienced a certain special dissonance in this post-modern world. The audience split away from the composers. (So did the musicians, for that matter, and many of the composers from one another. And to be completely fair, even the most troublesome of composers have an audience. It's just a small one.)

I'm kind of crazy, and I think that all of the music that all of these groups love to hate has a certain merit. The movie scores that the "serious" composers hate are stirring, and darned memorable, and just plain fun to listen to. And the jagged fractured stuff that the old folks hate has merit too. And I have this crazy idea that I can incorporate some of the best of both into a really nifty whole that just might excite both groups. So I write movie music, but I try to make it colorful and interesting. (Okay, to be fair, it was a few radio plays.) And I write serious stuff, but I try to write it in such a way that you don't need a music degree to enjoy it. It's a dark and dangerous path, but I truly wish to see the end of it, and so there go I.

There you have it. That in a nutshell is what I'm trying to accomplish. (Hey! I heard you snickering in the back row. There may not be a quiz, but let's just try not to push it. I'd like to see you explain your life's goals more quickly, but in equally interesting prose.) So without further ado, let the games . . .

Er the show must go . . .

No, no, that wasn't it. Oh yes . . .

On with the show!

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