I sometimes say that I have just enough musical knowledge to be dangerous. It has lead me to believe that I can compose. I made up a chant for a small glbt Christian congregation that has ended up spreading all over the place and is included in a couple of hymnals, but I don’t take that accomplishment very seriously. I’m pleased by it, don’t get me wrong, but it could’ve just been one of those things.

A couple of summers ago my friend Elaine Kirkland opened my eyes to GarageBand. Although I had seen the program on my iBook, I hadn’t quite figured it out until she pushed me over the edge. So blame her if you must blame someone for my errant composing. It did propel me on a course to composing quite a bit of music over the past couple of years.

I began with a series of short pieces, experimenting with several different styles of music—working my way through the “genres.” Some of them seemed like they might be good to use during InterPlay classes, so I took of few of the original compositions and made them a bit longer, then composed a few new ones as well. I am in a very slow process of compiling them into a CD collection called “Indigo Waltz” which was stalled a bit when I dropped my laptop and mangled my harddrive. I lost the original GarageBand files but still had mp3s which I still need to gather and organize.

More recently I learned how to use Sibelius so that I could not only compose music but also be able to publish musical scores. I composed a woodwind quintet (“Spring Released”), a string trio (“Languish”), an organ piece (“Jubilee”) and a clarinet solo with piano accompaniment (“An Almost Longing”).

I think the next phase will be a series of “short symphonies”, not necessarily with multiple movements but with rich instrumentation and a certain scope. I have completed one, “The Point of Exclamation.” Hopefully more will come!

Music Player

Launch music player. With this player you can listen to any or all of the compositions on this page without having to select each individual file.

Best with headphones if you have them handy.

Current Project

Here’s a bit more of my second “Little Symphony” (what I have as of 11:36 a.m., Monday, May 4). My definition of a little symphony? Lots of instruments, goes on for awhile, but not too long because it is, well, “little”. Lots of movement but only one movement. The organizing principal of this piece? Lots of saxophones! First little symphony was “Point of Exclamation” below.

Little Symphony 2
excerpt · saxophones, trumpets, trombones, piano, bass, drums (eventually?)

Early GarageBand Compositions

Thunder Lightning
1'58" · piano, drums, trumpets, flutes, organ, bass

2'25" · tula bass, fiji afterglow, coronados brass, percussion, electric guitar, horn, church bell

2'16" · flute, electric piano, percussion, bass, trumpets

Night Streets
2'02" · rawaii riffer, percussion, silicon strings, patara echoes, fiji afterglow, piano, electric piano, church bells

West Swing
1'54" · piano, rhythm guitar, bass, percussion

Drawing Room Chase
2'19" · harpsichord

A Little Folly
1'06" · clarinet, bassoon, guitar, soprano sax, piano, percussion

Aunt Zaida’s Surprise
1'29" · clarinet, tenor sax, trombone, bass, percussion

Music for InterPlay

4'18" · celesta, space harpsichord, deep bass, english horn, percussion

Slipping By
4'08" · electric piano, bass, percussion

Sylvan Springs
3'47" · koto, triangle

Garden March
3'08" · piano

4'05" · marimba, percussion, cellos, harp

Last Evening
2'34" · classical guitar, piano, strings, bass, percussion

Lake Breeze
4'05" · trombone, martian lounge, koto, moonbeam, percussion

Hang Time
3'34" · piano, flute, clarinet, bass, tuba, samoa sweep, percussion

On the Head of a Pin
3'28" · celesta, piano, percussion

Left Bank
3'50" · clarinet, accordian, bass, strings

Great Plain
3'52" · piano, percussion

Distinct Possibility
3'14" · piano, bass, percussion

Indigo Waltz
3'39" · english horn, martian lounge, upright jazz bass, percussion

Music with Scores Available

To request a free pdf version of the sheet music for any of these pieces, email Phil Porter.

Spring Released
3'27" · clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon, french horn

3'55" · organ

4'15" · violin, viola, cello

An Almost Longing
3'08" · clarinet, piano

The Little Symphonies

Point of Exclamation
4'32" · trumpets, trombone, tuba, harp, timpani, percussion, organ, french horn, oboe