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My name is David Rubenstein. During the week I'm an oceanographer, but during the weekends I turn into a music composer.
When I was a teenager I took piano lessons. My teacher was wonderful. He played jazz at a nightclub as a second job. Therefore he was able to teach me improvisation, arrangement, and composition techniques. The styles he taught were jazz and semi-classical. I composed music for piano for a short while, but it was SO time consuming! The manuscript paper had holes in it from repeated erasures! I took a short summer school course in computer music when I was in college, and a course in classical music; that was a lot of fun. Also, while I was in college, I played organ in a rock band named Heaven.
In the intervening years I didn't do anything related to composition. But then a few years ago I bought an inexpensive keyboard (Yamaha PSR-320) and connected it to my computer, and also bought Cakewalk sequencer software. Since then, I've been having lots of fun composing midi files. You can listen to them and judge for yourself. I'd love to hear your comments.
My brother is a computer computer 3D graphics animator, and I wrote a short piece that was synchronized to an animated video that he made. That was fun, and had special challenges capturing the flavor and the "feel" of the video. Last year I learned that Thomas Ansorge was writing a new shareware computer game. It is a fantasy role-playing game. He needed some help composing a number of short midi files. You can hear the result, Dragon Hunt Suite.
Since then, I have contributed music to several other projects. I worked with Thomas Lisson on another RPG named Mongar's Prophecy. I helped a special web site named Lightning Strikes, by providing the site producer Joseph Ramelo with music to go along with a fictional series about high school kids contending with paranormal activity. More recently, I provided tranquil "mood music" to Khew Sin Sun, who is producing a set of CD-ROMs on the subject of aquaria. Last month I worked on a couple of short orchestral sketches, to accompany animations on an educational CD-ROM Luna versus Io.
I have been collaborating on a musical play with David Runions, a Canadian playwright who has a lot of experience as a musical director of a theater. The script is marvelous, the music is great--it is going to be one blast of a musical. The subject matter is relevant to today, and also entails a classic theme, and includes a love quadrangle. This musical will be a great treat.
I recently collaborated with video producer Paul Silverman on a travelog, Canyons and Casinos. I composed the entire 20-minute soundtrack (the video has no narration) that accompanies a tour of the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. The music for the Grand Canyon section is cinematic, while the Las Vegas section is combo and big-band jazz. Lots of fun!
I have some rather strong views about electronic music. Much of the electronic music available on the web today sounds like it was computer-generated, and sometimes devoid of musical expression. In my opinion, superior electronic music should have special qualities in both Composition and in Performance. A composition should have interesting musical structure, with contrasts in melody, harmony, and dynamics. The performance should have musical expression, and in the case of synthesizing acoustic instruments, the performance needs to have a spark of realism. The melody should sing, much as a live musician would breathe life into his performance.
My goal, in creating this music, is to give the illusion that it is a recording of a live performance. Of course, each midi sound card or sound module has different characteristics. As a result, a midi composition that sounds well-balanced using one set of equipment can sound like mush on another. This is a well-recognized problem, one that begs for some level of standardization in the future.
Everyone's taste in music is a little different--no two people hear music in quite the same way. One person loves a particular style, and another strongly dislikes it. People simply do not perceive a given music composition in the same way. Well, that is one of the true fascinations in music! If you enjoy my music, please let me know--I appreciate all comments!