Computers and Music
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
New Composition: "Song for a Carbonated Beverage"
Tonight I wrote a song that was inspired by the music in a soft drink commercial. It's called "Song for a Carbonated Beverage". Yes, it's definitely a pop song, and a sweet one at that. Please click below to listen, and do let me know what you think by emailing me at

> Song for a Carbonated Beverage MP3, time 2:17, (Geoff Peters composition)
Saturday, October 27, 2007
New Composition ("Go Karting")
Yesterday I went Go-Karting as part of a corporate fun day. It was exciting, but very high speed and quite dangerous. One coworker got in an accident and had a concussion. I was moved to write a dramatic, almost dirge-like composition to capture some of the complex emotions that I feel about such an innocuous and "fun" activity such as Go-Karting. Please click below to listen and let me know what you think!

> Go Karting - MP3 music file, time 2:25 (Geoff Peters Original Composition)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
(Jazz theory) Inverting 5 note chords on the piano
This is a somewhat advanced jazz theory trick that I am trying to teach myself right now. It is a method to "invert" a five note chord. Inverting a chord means to play the same notes but in different orders and positions on the piano. It allows you to add variety and movement without changing the underlying chord harmony.

1. Pick any five note voicing, such as a standard two-handed minor voicing (b7 b3 5 1 11). Play it with two fingers in the left hand, and three fingers in the right hand. As you move the chord around the piano, continue using two fingers in the left hand and three fingers in the right hand.

2. To invert it one position up the keyboard:
-the notes you are playing with your rightmost two fingers in your right hand become the notes you will play with your left hand in the next chord, down one octave.
-the note you are playing with the leftmost finger in your left hand becomes your right thumb's note, up one octave.
-the "middle notes", that is, the rightmost finger (or thumb) of your left hand and the leftmost finger (or thumb) of your right hand) now become the rightmost two notes in your right hand, up one octave.

For example, the two handed voicing (b7 b3 5 1 11) becomes (1 11 b7 b3 5).

3. To invert it one position down the keyboard:
-the two notes you are playing with your left hand become the rightmost two notes you will play in your right hand, up one octave.
-the note you are playing with the rightmost finger in your right hand becomes your right thumb's note, down one octave.
-the leftmost two notes in your right hand become the notes for your left hand, down one octave.

For example, the two handed voicing (b7 b3 5 1 11) becomes (5 1 11 b7 b3)

It really helps if you can visualize this and work it out on a real keyboard. Now who said music isn't like math!

Vancouver jazz pianist Sharon Minemoto showed me this trick a year ago at the Douglas College Jazz Clinic - she said that Bill Evans used it often. Incidentally, the notes in the minor voicing above also make up a Pentatonic scale, if they are reordered (b7 1 b3 11 5).
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
New Live Recording (Jazz)
Last Friday I performed on piano with Mark White (bass) and Greg Murray (drums) at a birthday party in West Vancouver. It was a 4 hour gig, and we played 27 tunes. The whole concert is available to listen at the link below:

The family whose house we performed at allowed us to use their beautiful Schimmel grand piano, which had been recently tuned. My favorites from this batch are "Voyage", "Straight No Chaser", and "Night and Day".
Hope you enjoy listening to some of the music. Please let me know your comments at
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
New live recording - jazz
On Monday I had a practice with my friend Jason (on acoustic bass) and we recorded a few tunes just for fun. Feel free to listen by clicking below:
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Canadian Jazz Archive
Click here to view a new website that has a comprehensive history of Canadian jazz including a lot of freely available sound recordings.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
New Composition - Sonatina #1
Tonight I wrote a little composition which I call "Sonatina #1". It's like telling a short story - it has a lyrical, mostly happy opening theme, a darker, more involved middle section, and then returns to the original theme to end. Writing this made me think that I want to do some longer compositions someday, maybe even write a full Sonata in the tradition of Beethoven or Mozart. :)

Please click below to listen, and let me know what you think!
> Sonatina (Mp3 recording, Geoff Peters composition and solo piano, time 1:39)
Friday, October 12, 2007
New composition "Delicate"
Tonight I wrote a new composition. It's a waltz that's in the tradition of folk dance music but it has definite pop influences. Please click below to listen and let me know what you think!

> Mp3 Recording of "Delicate" (1:57). Geoff Peters composition and solo piano.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Creativity and freedom in art

I wanted to start writing a few thoughts down about this topic, but I'm too lazy to do research to find out what other people have said, so here's just what's been going around my brain lately:

Freedom in art vs. freedom in life

I get a sense of freedom when I am able to take tangible ideas and implement them, or make them into something real. In the process of making them real I need to make use of the physical world, with all its constraints and limitations. Making a physical manifestation of an idea can also guide the continued formation of the idea itself, or modify the purely abstract part of the idea.

Freedom in Improvising

When I am improvising, I am repeatedly going through the process of visualizing and imagining, and then transforming the stuff of thought into a reality-based form. A recording of an improvisation is more concrete than a passing impromptu performance that is not recorded, and I believe there is no cost or detrimental effect to recording a performance. I have become accustomed to having all my practices recorded, and knowing that I am recording everything no longer affects how I practice.

Self reflection and the duality of creating/observing

Recording also allows greater self-reflection. While performing I am simultaneously a creator and a listener. It is possible for art to be appreciated by the creator even if there is no outside audience.

Freedom comes from technique

Mastery over a physical domain can be only done through the acquisition of technique. Technique is precision, control, and the ability to know exactly what the effect will be of an intended motion or action. Technique can be built through a combination of exploration of the unknown and more significantly the repetition of the known, with specific goals in mind.

Art can be valued

It may be difficult to value a work in monetary terms but I don't think there is any harm to putting a price on it. I also think that there is a big benefit to making copies of works available to wide audiences at low or no cost, as long as the creator gets enough resources back to sustain his/her existence and fuel more creations.

Sunday, October 07, 2007
New live recording
Last Tuesday I played a gig on piano with Mark White (bass) and Greg Murray (drums). I've posted the entire show on my web site. It was at the Happy Honda dealership in Burnaby for the unveiling of their 2008 models.

My favorite tunes from this batch are "Day in the Life of a Fool", "Captain Marvel", and "Footprints". I like the tone of the electronic piano sound in Day in the Life, and this was actually the first time we had played Captain Marvel in like 3 years, so it was interesting to see what would happen. In Footprints I was experimenting with adding some major ascending/descending harmonies because I have been playing this tune for a long time and was getting tired of the basic minor-7 sound.

> Click here to view track listing and listen
Thoughts of an aspiring jazz musician and computer programmer.

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