Wednesday, February 22, 2017

String Quartet for Mini and Amol

I wrote the following string quartet as a wedding gift for two friends:

Cheesy MIDI Rendition

Sheet Music

Technical Details

Written in the Lydian mode. I did not think consciously about harmonic rhythm when I wrote this, just added layers of counter melodies that I thought sounded good.

I don't actually play any of these instruments, but made every effort to write something that can physically be played on them. I'll probably hire a string quartet in the near future to test my work out, and to record it.

But first I need to add dynamics, staccatos, and other annotations.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Trick to Improvisation is Confidence

The trick to improvisation is confidence.
I was asked at a punk show last night to come up on stage and sing with the band. Problem was, I did not know and have never heard their music. They handed me a microphone and started playing, and I realized they wanted an original vocal track. The stakes were high for me; there were about 30 people in the audience and I’m promoting my music actively, so I really wanted to make a good impression. Therefore I mustered up all the confidence I could and made up lyrics and melody on the spot. And stage presence. One always has to project good stage presence (this was hard for me because I’m usually standing behind a guitar when I sing).
Anyway, we made it work! Sure the decades I’ve spent developing my musical skill helped, but I primarily credit the DECISION to deliver confidence for the success.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How I'm Going to Get There (Notes)

Notes on How I'm Going to Achieve My Goal

Organize transgender musician “summit”

  • D, R, and J
  • Group on Facebook
  • Draft plans
Help at Transgress Fest

Work on getting more gigs
  • SD county
  • OC county
  • LA county
  • Booking agency in Long Beach
  • Fallbrook open mic?
  • Soda Bar
  • Casbah
  • House of Blues
  • Queer bars
Girls to the Front
  • Propose April or May
Post liberally to the Transgender Musicians Network Group

Find other Facebook groups for transgender musicians

Write a 10-15 minute sitar set

Take sitar lessons

Connect with East Meets West Music
  • and the Ravi Shankar Institute
Look into getting CDs made

Write a blog post justifying my “raw” mix down

Write a blog post about how creativity is a skill

Pay for my domain name

Start a SoCal trans musicians Facebook group

“featuring Emily Williams” on all instrumentals
  • or all sitar work
Backup files

Get files on iPhone

UCSD radio

Album reviews
  • Alyssa’s zine
  • other?
  • the Advocate?
Write blog posts on my music theory

Post tablature online

Enter contests
  • composition contests
  • Guitar Center
  • songwriting contests
  • other?
Always be ready to perform
  • gear ready
  • iPad with me and charged
    • or iPhone with me and charged
Punk Rock Food Drive

Strategic use of Facebook promotions
  • how to measure?
  • when to use?
How to measure brand success?

How to measure success in general?

Write blog post about my intent to be “selectively famous”

Read about it
  • How to promote
  • How to get gigs
  • How to tour
  • How to market
  • How to use Facebook effectively
    • and other social media
Up the Twitter use

Plan a GoFundMe strategy for touring
  • USA
  • India
Print business cards

Renew SoundCloud

Figure out a plan for using metrics
  • SoundCloud
  • Band Camp
  • Google
  • etc.
Contact NotApologetic
  • Shows together
  • Collaborations
Send sitar recording to the shop I bought the sitar at.

Get a CD of my sitar recording to East Meets West Music

Get the sitar piece ready for the stage. Keep developing it.

Connect with Headstone and the Schematics

Market in Korea again

Friday, February 17, 2017

"Red Shift" featuring Emily Williams


Sheet Music

Rhythms aren't perfect. I added guitar tablature for the sitar part in case anyone wanted it.


I've always enjoyed Hindustani music, and after traveling in northern India last December I've become passionate about it. Therefore I am learning all I can about the subject. Furthermore, I am incorporating these ideas into my own work. I consider it "cultural exchange" rather than "cultural appropriation" since I am making every effort (but not necessarily succeeding) to respect the contexts of the ragas I employ.

Anyway, here is a composition I wrote for the sitar that combines Western and Hindustani ideas. The technical details:

The Hindustani ideas I use are:
  1. Melody in the sitar.
  2. Used the Yaman raga in the bass. However, I'm not sure I used the motifs and dominant notes of the raga properly.
  3. I intended to use the Yaman raga in the melody, but made a mistake that I thought sounded good, so I went with it. Essentially, I mix use of the perfect and augmented 4th, and use of the major and minor 7th. Similarly, I mix use of the major and minor 3rd.
  4. The interplay between the sitar and bass was inspired by the interplay between the sitar and tabla that you hear in Hindustani music.
The harmonies and backbeat are fundamentally Western.

I really hope you like it!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Potential Material for Alyssa’s and Daliah's Zine

Daliah and Alyssa,

Here are lyrics you are absolutely welcome to publish in your new zine! If you use any of these, I’m hoping you can put in a link to the recording.

You Can Drive the World

I'm a gentle discontent
Ready for poise
Ready to please
Ready to gain advantage

I'm bold discontentment
Ready to light something big
And this world is not enough
So let's make a new one

My agenda is to fuck you
My agenda is to drive you
Decent and kind
Loving and responsible
And you can drive the world

I'm gentle release
Disguised as pressure
Disguised as peace
Ready to gain advantage

I'm bold release
With no loss of composure
No loss of grace
And this world is not enough
So let's make a new one

My agenda is to fuck you
My agenda is to drive you
Decent and kind
Loving and responsible
And you can drive the world

With no loss of grace
No loss of composure
You can drive the world


Stand up you little chickenshit
when your chosen name is resistance
your choice to live is resistance
It's a simple matter really
Revolution in and beyond the mind

I'm exactly who I am and I make no apologies

When your life just wants to be normal
With your name no big deal
It's a simple request really
Acceptance in and beyond the mind

So stand up and demand it
The time is now
The times demand it


These are the days of passive rejection
Of sins of omission
But who really cares?

These are the days of bitter grandiosity
Of driven absurdity
But it takes you places

It's manic self medication
Or maybe manic restraint...
...or maybe the problem
You overthink it, deliberate it
But it will still be here when you get back

These are the days of active resistance
Of sins of commission
And you care too damn much

These are the days of bitter persistence
Of driven despair
But it takes you places

It's manic self medication
Or maybe manic restraint...
...or maybe the problem
You overthink it, deliberate it
But it will still be here when you get back

Smelly Cunt

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
but I still fear men in the dark
I’ve never had a smelly cunt
but I still fear rape in the dark

its not who you fuck
its not a caste, not abstraction
there’s no release from this, no algorithm,
no relief

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
so where’s my equal pay?
I’ve never had a smelly cunt
still I’m not a part of this “club”

its social abstraction,
genetic algorithm,
brain development flux
but I know its easier for you to assume I want attention

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
and I’m a better woman than you are

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Something I Might Set to Music


I need your help to find a creative, open-hearted solution to a major issue in my life:

Despite my best efforts to the contrary, you remain the most important person in the world to me. I've given up trying to change this fact.

So now I’m trying to create a positive way to live with that reality—one that works for you… one that you can tolerate.

Preferably one that adds value to your life. One that brings happiness and joy to your life.

I need your openness, support, and creativity to help me find a path forward.

Thoughts on How I'd Set it to Music

My late 90's composition "3Jane" ( sets a precedent--as far as my work goes--for setting spoken word to music, though here I'd do something more upbeat and hopeful.

There is the concept of "techno without a backbeat" that I've experimented with before; I'm thinking heavy use of samples, synthesizers, and electric instruments. Nothing acoustic. Nothing chordal. No melody. No harmonic rhythm. Just sound.

But major 3rds and major 7ths to establish the optimistic imagery I'm going for. No cheesy perfect 4ths since they will suck the life out of it. However, augmented 4ths (a la the Yaman raga) might be perfect.