A Composer's Life, In Music

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This web-page allows you to explore a composer's (my) life in music. It includes my first compositions as a young adult, and extends to later life, after retirement.

There are several albums in this collection. An interesting thing about these albums, is that they include the composer's own recollections, ideas, comments, and feelings regarding each piece of music in each album.

The collection is organized according to the instrument I played, on which the compositions were performed. They also are arranged chronologically.

This collection of my music includes all of the music I have composed, improvised, and performed.

You are free to use this work in any way you want to, as long as you attribute me as the author. Depending on the scope of the use, it would be nice if you could also tell me about it, at: aere@keymusician.com

For each of the audio files, you should be able to click on the link, and it will play it. If you have slow Internet speeds, you may have to right-click on the link, and select “Save Link As...” (or something like that), to download it to your computer, and then you can double-click on the audio file you just downloaded.

My Musical Beginnings

My musical life began with two significant events.

The first, was that I began playing B-flat Cornet in the Millard High School band, in Fillmore, Utah. Our band director (who I much admired) was Dallin Nielson.

I actually started a year later than most band members, but with my good grades, they thought I could catch up with the others, which I did in a few months. By the end of my time playing in the school band, I was 1st chair of the 1st Cornets section. I did not take part in my senior year of high school because I instead attended the University Of Utah as an early-admission student.

The other significant event in my musical life, was an unexpected Christmas gift.

My mother got me a phonograph record of Beethoven's 4th and 5th symphonies.

I was initially disappointed in this gift, not having asked for it, and It was toward the evening (or possibly the next day) before I got around to listening to it.

Having heard so much about Beethoven's 5th symphony, I first listened to his 4th symphony.

At first, it was to me like background music, but it inexplicably began to grow on me, and soon I was really liking it.

So I listened to Beethoven's 5th symphony, and liked it even better. Later, I became familiar with the music of Brahms, who became my favorite composer.

At this point, I was totally hooked on classical music, and where other teens listened to rock, I almost exclusively listened to classical music.

Being in school band, and engrossed in music, I began to compose music for the Cornet I was playing.

Seeing my interest along those lines, my mother purchased a piano for the family, and looked into getting me piano lessons.

Unfortunately, most piano lessons in the area involved playing little-kids tunes, which I didn't want to do. I wanted to start playing Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique, which I was already enjoying listening to on a record by Arthur Rubenstein.

Most piano teachers responded to my wish with “No way. You have to start with the little-kids pieces.”

But one of them, Carma Swallow, said, “Why not?”

So she became my piano teacher, and I did learn to play the first part of the first movement of that piece, enjoying it a lot.

But my interests in playing piano turned strongly in the direction of composition. I discovered that it was easier and quicker to compose an impressive piece, and play it, than to learn a difficult piece written by somebody else.

So now that the stage has been set, we will explore my piano music (including my written music), by clicking the link below:

Aere's Piano Music

Though when still in high school, I had studied orchestration from my band teacher's college orchestration text book, and I had written 13 pages of the score of a symphony I was composing, I never had a chance to use that knowledge.

When I lived in West Jordan, we had a neighbor who played Cello, and I wrote a Cello part for my Intermezzo #4. Unfortunately, no performance ever came of that. In fact, it seemed that all my work in meticulously writing down my music, was a wasted effort, since nobody ever played any of it.

In experimenting with music on my home computer, in the early 1980's, I began to see a new way of doing music that would allow me to compose music with different instrument parts, and be able to hear that music played, without depending on anyone wanting to play my written music.

I first experimented with music synthesis cartridges for my Radio Shack Color Computer, which most definitely whetted my appetite in the synthesizer direction.

Finally, after much comparison-shopping (including a set of requirements the synthesizer must be able to accomplish), I finally purchased a Roland D20 synthesizer, which began an entirely new chapter in my creation of music.

You can explore that chapter of my musical experience by clicking on the link below:

Aere's Music on the Roland D20 Synthesizer

In the 2000's, I purchased a new synthesizer – this one based on sampling technology, and having after-touch (channel pressure), which was only coming into wide-spread use when I purchased the older Roland D20. This new synthesizer was the Yamaha S90-es model.

This one did not include an on-board sequence-editor, since by then I was adept at using sequence-editors on computers (which have a bigger, easier-to-read screen), and with laptop computers, there was no longer a need of the extra expense of an on-board sequence-editor.

You can explore the music I created on the Yamaha S90-es synthesizer by clicking on the link below:

Aere's Music on the Yamaha S90-es Synthesizer

You may have noticed in my “Explorations” album, that many of the compositions are based on a piano (or other instrument-sound) improvisation. In older terminology, pianists such as Chopin, would have called it an impromptu.

I have an album of these improvisations. All but one of the pieces in this album are from 2012, played on two MIDI keyboards connected to the Qsynth software synthesizer, running on Linux. The last piece is done on the Yamaha S90-es synthesizer.

Aere's Improvisations – 1st Album

I started developing the KeyMusician Keyboard as an application to help in teaching people to use sequence-editors. But when it took on the ability to play chords along with melody, it took on a life of its own as a musical instrument in its own right.

With its ease-of-learning features, it even replaced what I formerly had in mind as an sequence-editor for everyone.

I did an album of improvisations using the KeyMusician Keyboard, and I think you'll be impressed with what the instrument can do, along with the music.

Aere's Improvisations On The KeyMusician Keyboard

I had a dream of composing music for symphony orchestra. It’s probably to be expected, where my musical idols were Brahms and Beethoven, and I loved their symphonies so much.

To that end, I studied my band director’s orchestration book, and started (13 pages worth) writing the score of my very own symphony.

That dream faded, as I gained life experience, realizing that writing the music down – however legibly, didn’t mean it would ever be played.

So I worked more on performing my music, first on piano, but later on a Roland D20 synthesizer, and later a Yamaha S90-es synthesizer. This worked well for carefully crafted, layered-parts music, recorded using a sequence editor.

But there was no way I could perform it live – too many simultaneous parts!

To give me a way of performing my orchestral ideas live, I invented my own musical instrument (a type of synthesizer), called the KeyMusician Keyboard. This allowed me to perform live, first as a soloist, then in duets with my spouse.

But however impressive that can be, there is a limit to what two people can do performing live.

During the corona-virus pandemic, when live performances stopped, I started looking at other ways of getting my music to the public.

In this process, I came to realize with today’s faster computers and advanced music software, it not only possible to write a musical score for a symyhony and print out the score and parts, but that the computer can even do a reasonable rendition of the written music.

So my dream of composing music for symphony orchestra was back on again.

Aere’s Orchestral Music

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