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               My whole life has been about learning things, and then sharing what I've learned.

--Composer David Amram

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Site Map and Archived writings and recordings:

welcome and index pages

home page  
Site Index  You are here!
About page all the nitty gritty details about the webmaestro and his strange domain
MP3 Index access to all the sound files on the site


Articles about composers

Composer Article
Bach, J. S And now, a word from our friend, Mr. Bach:
Some friendly, or perhaps not-so-friendly advice about organ playing.
Brahms, Johannes It's Only the Truth If You Can Yell the Loudest  Brahms writes a letter to the editor
Beethoven, Ludwig van Looks Aren't Everything, Unless you are a Legend  -- what did Beethoven really look like?
Buxtehude, Dietrich What a long, strange trip it must have been: Bach travels 250 miles to hear Buxtehude
Gottschalk, Louis Moreau Not Your Average Concert Tour: Louis Moreau Gottschalk tours the United States during the Civil War
Joplin, Scott Respecting Mr. Joplin  Joplin's battle to bring dignity to his person and his art
Mendelssohn, Felix Thank you, Mr. Freud      Even great composers are human beings. Which, alas, makes them pretty irrational. So much so that many of them didn't wait around for the advent of psychoanalysis to be born, write great works, throw themselves into rivers, and die. What would Freud have to say about all this? You'll have to ask him. This essay's only concern is the relatively tame case of Felix Mendelssohn.
Moszkowski, Moritz The Sunshine Composer Answers his Critics  Was he just too nice to produce great art?
Mozart, Wolfgang A. Not bad, for a five-year old: Mozart's first compositions
Mussorgsky, Modeste With Friends Like These... pals dish a little gossip about Modeste Mussorgsky
Praetorius, Michael,
    Hieronymus and Jacob
'The Three Mayors': Michael, Hieronymus, and Jacob Praetorius in the digital age
Satie, Erik Erik Satie, the Individual
Scarlatti, Domenico The Solace of Noble Minds: The Strange Employment of Domenico Scarlatti
Schubert, Franz Back to School with Franz Schubert  Schubert chooses the last week of his short life to start taking counterpoint lessons
Tchaikovsky, Pyotor I. All I want for Christmas is to have my mentor and roommate completely trash my piano concerto   A heartwarming anecdote regarding one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire


Other Articles on Music

  articles about instruments and the people who play them

The Anatomy of the Piano
Thousands of parts, tons of pressure, hundreds of precision adjustments--a karaoke machine this isn't!



The Behemoth of Instruments   Inside the mighty pipe organ
part two: the pipe room
part three: how to register a complaint


  Simple Gifts   A brief guide to the things musicians do
simple gifts     
an essay on same

Don't your fingers get tired? A friendly question and answer page for the curious...



  in concert
  A Page Turner's Survival Guide   How to get an up-close look at your favorite artists!
  I Survived the St. Paul's School Holiday Concert   The closest thing to a blow-by-blow description of being a pianist during a concert I've come up with so far!

  things you might not know about classical music
  Koechel, God Bless You!     What's the deal with those funny numbers?

What's With all the Italian?       Have you ever wondered why musical terms always seem to be in Italian?

On the Nature of Harmony:  (Orthodoxy and the Overtone Series) What makes harmony so--er, harmonious?

The Wonderful World of Enharmonic Spellings  Wouldn't the world be a nicer place without F-double sharp? Well....

A Semi-brief Explanation of When to Clap   Afraid to enter the cathedrals of music because you might genuflect at the wrong time? Then, would-be concert-goers, this is for you!
  Musical History from early to recent

Can You Believe What They're Listening To These Days? An Early Culture Critic Speaks Out (Plato tries to keep it simple, and free from pernicious influences)



The Birth of Musical Notation (the Pope gets "inspired" by the thought of written music)

  Take this Job and...Great Composers and their employers

If They Don't Sue You, Is it Still Stealing? Sergei Rachmaninoff weighs in on the subject of illegal downloading, with a brief history of the art of helping yourself, musically speaking


A Guide to the 'Isms'   (a thumbnail guide to music in the 20th century)



  from the department of musical mythology...
  Music and Math   Music is just math in sounds, right?
  professionally speaking
(articles for fellow musicians more than laypeople)
  When Is a Piano not a piano?  How most of our greatest pianist-composers didn't know how to write for their instrument, according to some of our mediocre academicians.
  Is Music theory Really Necessary?    Would I deserve a doctorate if I didn't answer "yes and no"?

  Inside the Music
(the creative act of writing and understanding music)

The Gymnopedie Project: students take on the eccentric Frenchman by writing their own Gymnopedies


Taking a Chance with the Music: Mozart's Dice Game (you too can play at composing music)


  What's in a name: Fugue
  How Not to Write a Musical

  a little speculation on the graphic representation of sounds...

Looks Like it Sounds--or, those bizarre squiggles we call music.
Why do we write music the way we do and is it actually the best method? Dare we ask?
           Part One (the staff that ate Chicago...)
Part Two  (mock some sages, clefs for me) 
Part Three (it's about time) 
           Part Four (in perfect harmony)



  What's the meaning of this?
Essays on Art and society
  Sandwich Artist  Does art have to pass a qualifying exam? (2003)
  Speak For Yourself    Christo's Gates spark the usual diatribes about what art isn't, but it's not coming from the critics (2004)
  Music and Its Uses, United States, circa 2010   Music in the 21st century is about as plentiful as running water, electricity, and food, and is often treated as such. (2007)
The Universal Language of Mankind  After reading this essay, you will agree with everything I have to say. If you don't, go find yourself another universe, buddy. (2006)
  Topping the Charts     An Uberpopular cell phone ringtone signals the decline of civilization for those who like to lament this sort of thing (2005)

Does it matter if we care if you listen?   Milton Babbitt's controversial article struck another nerve in the war between high and low art (2009)



Godmusic  as organist of Faith United Methodist Church in Champaign, Illinois, I frequently post music I play for services as well as bulletin commentary, and other resources as well.

    blogs about musical issues

 traditional worship music A Mysterious Stanza in 'Wondrous Love' /  St. Bach /
How I Survive: Four Ways to satisfy the constant need for church music:

one: improvisation / two: composition / three: use of classical literature / four: keeping it simple
Improvisation Corner / Excuses / Would Jesus have used an Urtext edition?

contemporary praise bands So What key is this thing in, anyway? / My Very First Praise Band Keyboard Lesson / Making a lead sheet; some observations /
Making a lead sheet: more observations /What Does a Keyboardist do in a praise band? / Improvisation 101 / 102 / 103 / 104 / The Ultimate Lead Sheet
Christian Piano Music An Interesting Conversation / Too Many Notes? / The Sacred Text? / Modulating and the Gospels / Minor Chords


    the Godmusic (non-musical) blog pages  

(2012) Jesus Apologizes for being a Liberal / God vs. Google / Rebuttal / The Not Quite so Good Samaritan / About that Earlier Blog Post... / Days of Noah
(2011) Half the Argument / Squirrels and the Church Fathers / Helping the Poor / Seriously, ...who is my neighbor again? / It Must Be a Sign / Actually, they did ask directions
(2010) Truth or Dare / Letter from the Recording Angel / One-note Theology / The Art of Persuasion / Yes, But Not Really / Crèche Politics
(2009) The Imitation of Thomas a Kempis / Could it be...Satan? / Salt of the Earth / You Who Are Evil / The Sower / Comfort Ye

What it's really all about... / Can They Do That? / Jesus for Messiah '08 / A Letter to Martin Luther / Not to be rude, but... / The God-Sellers


    planning ahead for members of Faith    this page is mostly unhelpful unless you are involved in planning services at our church


wedding pages   If you happen to be planning a wedding at the above church, you might find these pages helpful.
page two: the email form (currently non-functional)
page three: FAQ and our sound system


The Noise  a more-or-less monthly column about things non-musical, or perhaps about 'the music of men's lives' to borrow  a phrase from Shakespeare--Now with a series of archived pages of previous columns:

(2010-12) To Your Health / Friendship, Limited / Normal Americans / Uncivil Wars / Inventing A Controversy / Bad News: You May Actually Be your Brother's Keeper
(2009) Things I Read In the Newspaper / Testing, Testing / Don't Take Your Car to Champaign Auto Sales and Repair / Nazdar, Y'all! / Just Having a Beer / What Really Happened? / Get Reel!
/ Biblical values / Typo / Toward A theory of Swearing / Conversion Rate / Immediacy / Dwarf Planet This! / The Sound and the Fuhrer / Bush Made Us Dumber / OMG! We Were Just Kidding! / Notes from the Blagosphere

'Classic Noise' (pre-2009) :

Primary Colors  Some people may have learned everything they needed to know in kindergarten, but I found first grade a pretty valuable learning experience, too (2003) 
Hot Buttons Once upon a time, the state of Maryland had a Republican governor. And he got some people mad at him.... (2003) 
Why They Really Named It Twice  A civil look at civic pride, civic snobbery, and civic inferiority complexes (2004)

Hail to the....   Another round in the endless cultural debate. Here it concerns the late lamented symbol of the Fightin' Illini (of the University of Illinois), and who should or shouldn't be happy about its demise. (2006)

public service with a side of sarcasm

The Pianonoise guide to political rhetoric

hotdog reviews


teaching pages

studio page
teaching calendar

travel pages  I still, after many years, have only gotten around to chronicling one trip. It was, however, a wonderful experience. Shortly before the apocalypse I may get around to further installments!

trip to Greece (2004)      part one     part two     part three


catpage  one of the oldest pages on the site, it contains pictures of a very polite and personable feline with whom I've been privileged to share a domecile.

footnotes   anytime I needed to add something parenthetically, I stuck a hyperlinked asterisk that steers you to this page. It should more properly be called endnotes, but I couldn't resist the pun.