Friday, January 11, 2019

20 Years Ago Composer Father in Studio


My father was a classical music composer, a rare breed that was supported only in the hot-house of academia. Composers before the 20th century, and most in that century, made their music on the piano or other natural instruments. But as the new millennium approached, the composer's craft was re-invented to work with computers and software. A number of programs such as "Finale" and "Sibelius" did transcribing work and score formatting that in the previous world was done by hand. My father gladly adopted this kind of computer work and equipped his studio with "Finale." Finale was great when it worked but it was also fiendishly complicated to use. My father was always on the phone to consultants to ask how this or that feature proceeded.

This sketch shows my dad in the studio, sitting in front of the computer (which isn't shown here) talking on a portable home phone. He is in the large music room which was built onto the original house in 1989. (This room is still extant; it was incorporated into the new house built on the site.) Father was 78 years old and still active musically. The real piano is to the left, and he hardly ever played it and it was in disrepair. There is a Yamaha midi keyboard in the foreground. Father is dressed in winter outdoors wear including a wool cap because it was cold in the music room. It was cold there because he was really cheap and didn't want to spend money heating the room. 

After my father's passing I had to dig through the mass of clutter in this room, including piles and piles of Finale scores, printouts, and floppy discs. With a detachable disc drive I was able to copy the mass of digital scores into my own storage. They were transcribed from an old version (2002) of Finale which I paid a professional musician to update for me. I still have the floppy 3 1/2" discs but there really isn't much to do with them and all the Finale material has been transcribed. I am still handling the archive some of which dates from this sketch from recent antiquity.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 8" x 6 1/2", December 28, 1998.

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