Pipe Dreams, take…4?

Back during my last semester at Drury, I needed something for the annual composer’s recital (because there’s no way that the Mass was going to get played), so I wrote this short piano piece. Carlyle said it’d work better as a percussion ensemble, so I rewrote it for that, hijacked the “percussion methods” class going on that semester, and had it performed. And people loved it.


2009 Drury Composers Recital. If you’re going to watch this, start from the 2:00 mark. Unless you like seeing people set up.

So I set that aside, moved to Oklahoma, and…picked it up again and revised it. I added a couple of movements, and somehow managed to get the third movement played by the K-State percussion ensemble (my first validation as a real composer!)


And for the past couple of years, I’ve largely left it alone. I’m still not comfortable with the percussion writing (I think the difficult parts are too hard and the easy parts are too simple for an ensemble to play it), and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it.

And that’s when I decided that Pipe Dreams needs to be a band piece.

Well, at least that third movement, the first part that I wrote. It’s a lot of fun. It’s short(ish). It’s catchy. It’s the closest I’ve come to Steven Eiler in terms of melodic genius. And it needs to be played more often.

So that’s my plan over Christmas break.

Decorative element

Prepared Piano Preparations: Shopping List!

So I decided I should write a prepared piano piece after I finish with Creatures from the Black Bassoon. This should be fun.

Of course, I’ve never written a piece for prepared piano. Nor have I played much with the inside of a piano (unless you count this). So what am I going to do?


So basically, I get to fill pianos full of things. Specific things. So I went shopping for miscellaneous small things at Amazon today, and here’s what I ended up with, which will undoubtedly screw up my recommendations for the next year:

25 Green Dice – 19mm

4 dozen Glow In The Dark Bouncing Balls

200 Cats Eyes Glass Marble / Sling Shot Ammo

12 dozen Ping Pong Balls / Table Tennis Balls

4 pairs of Finger Cymbals

In addition to all of that fun stuff from Amazon, I’m planning to also use:

The aforementioned cell phone trick (from the video)



A Slinky

What sorts of sounds will these make? No real idea. I’ll be trying them out on Tripi’s piano and recording the result.

Decorative element


That title is misleading. I’m not actually getting anything done. Well, not as much as I should be doing. Oh, how about I just tell you and let you decide?

First of all, I moved. Well, my website moved. So did this blog. I had my reasons for picking KyleVanderburg.Net several years ago, but I finally decided that it was time to move to a dot-com. So I’ve been carefully moving everything in such a way to where search engines and people don’t get confused. And I finally moved the blog from WordPress at to WordPress at NoteForge. Hopefully this will free up some space so I can upload more ridiculous things.

I also built some stuff into Hammer, but we’ll get to that in another post.

I’ve been practicing for an upcoming performance of John Cage’s 4’33”. I have the first two movements down, now I’m working on the third.

Cage Sheet MusicYes. This is the actual printed sheet music to 4'33″.

Some Assembly Required didn’t make it as a finalist in the OU 4×4 Prizes, which is one of the few contests I’ve actually paid attention to recently. Luckily, it’s one of those pieces that leaves an impression, so I’m hoping that it’ll still get performed somewhere. I’ve mailed it off a few places, so, we’ll see.

I’ve been completely slacking off in writing music, which I’m sure has nothing to do with my parents being in town two weeks ago and my girlfriend being in town last week {Sidebar: it probably does}. That said, Creatures from the Black Bassoon is coming along somewhat slowly, but at least it’s getting…done? Written? What’s the proper word for the act of creating a piece of electronic music? Distilled? Forged? It sounds something like this:

Tara and Tripi’s performance of Foi dans l’aleatoire from 2 weeks ago is online over at Listen (note that it’s now! How cool is that!?), and it’s pretty much great, as are they.

Also, I’m playing around with how everything from the blog gets updated to Facebook, Twitter, and all that stuff. This should be fun.

Decorative element
Kyle Vanderburg