I play the piano, mostly classical repertoire, and am trying to transit to being a recording artist, publishing via
Technology The instruments and other bits of hardware and software I use for making and publishing music.
Composers The composers whose music I perform.
Interpretation My thoughts about interpretation.
Performance My approach to performance and the peices I'm working on.
Publication How and why I'm aiming to publish my music.
Midi A short account of the nature and history of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface.


The instruments and other bits of hardware and software I use for making and publishing music.
Music making has always been a part of my life. My first instrument was the recorder at primary school, then the piano. I played violin and viola at grammar school, and played the viola in the orchestra at Keele University. I also spent some time improvising on the guitar. This is all past, now I play a (somewhat mature) Yamaha Clavinova electronic piano (CLP500).
recording methods
I did dabble with completely synthetic performances, but soon gave that up.

I now work by doing performances on the Clavinova either for live capture on the CD recorder or for capture by a sequencer and later replay for recording. Since both of these methods give only the not wholly convincing sound synthesised by the Clavinova I am looking for a viable method of synthesizing a more realistic piano sound from the midi files. I have acquired GigaSampler, which is supposed to give the best grand piano sounds, but so far have found this very hard to work with.

The details of the logistics are still evolving, but I have no plans to start editing midi files (the equivalent of lots of old fashioned sound studio editing). Its more fun to work on the performances until they come out good enough to publish.

  • Clavinova CLP500 electronic piano.
  • Atari ST1040 (PC) + C-Lab Creator (sequencer)
  • Kawai K1m (synthesiser)
  • Yamaha DOM-30 (synthesiser)
  • Grundig RCD-45 audio CD writer
  • 200MHz Pentium, 96Mb RAM...
  • Gigasampler + Gigapiano (soft sampler, delivery awaited)
the result
Well I don't have much of it yet, but the result is music in electronic files or on Audio CD's. The intention is to publish, a kind of substitute for public performance, which I don't have much inclination toward (and I might find drumming up an audience tricky). For how I plan to publish, see below.


The composers whose music I perform: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Joplin, Satie.
In my youth I played more Beethoven and Mozart than anything else, finding Chopin beyond me. In my mid twenties, as a student at Keele I embraced Chopin and for a long time he became the center of my attention. I love some of the earlier more melodic bits of Rachmaninov, but though I don't dislike listening to his later works I never attempt to play them. I like Chopin a lot and really wish I could play the stuff properly.
I've spent oodles of time working at the Études, which has made a big difference to my technical competence (I fancy), even though very few of them are close to satisfactory performances. Having even recently (in my fifties) spent a few years concentrating on Chopin's Études, I am belatedly trying to discover how to get things to performance standard (for recordings). If this all sounds back to front to you, then you are probably getting the idea.


My thoughts about interpretation.
My main driving force musically is the desire to hear piano music played just how I think it should be played, so I think that's about interpretation. And this is pretty tricky, because I've never acquired the technique necessary to do it the way I want it. That must sound odd, surely every performer is that way? Well, I didn't discover that I wanted to play pieces different until I was in my early twenties (after I bought the box set of Barenboim's Beethoven piano sonatas, and decided I would like to do them different). If it were not for this I would never have taken the piano as seriously (in my haphazard way) as I have. If I had had this idea fifteen years earlier maybe I would have got some pieces right before approaching senility!

I did try cheating (e.g. getting the computer to play it right) but that promised to be just as much hard work and a lot less pleasure.

Interpreting Chopin
The challenge it seems to me is to achieve lightness of touch, subtlety, emotional immediacy, on modern pianos which are designed for concert hall bravura rather than the intimacy of the salon (and this includes clavinovas, which try to reproduce the touch of a concert grand). Perhaps one should play Chopin on period pianos, but I'm trying to get the delivery right on modern instruments. Emotional immediacy entails that no two performances are the same, this was true of Chopin. I just read [Eigeldinger86] which is an excellent collection of writings on Chopin from those who were closest to him, and made me feel much stronger the similarities of temperament between myself and Chopin (if not of talent!), and helped me to understand why I have so strong a feeling for his music.


Details of performances available and in preparation.
A list of works in progress. Later, links and notes will be added.
Three two part inventions and a couple of preludes.
Two sonatas.
Für Elise, and a selection of sonatas.
A selection of preludes, etudes, waltzes, ballades and impromptus.
A couple of preludes.
Scott Joplin
Some rags.


How and why I'm aiming to publish my music. provides facilities both for publishing performances and for promotion of artists. I'm not too keen to spend time or money on promotion, but I am grateful for the facilities which save me time and money in achieving publication, which are:
  • mp3 hosting and streaming
  • CD compilation
  • CD sales
  • CD pressing on demand, packing, delivery and invoicing
The whole messy business of producing and selling CDs sorted out with no hassle for the artist, no cost to the artist, and no minimal volume required. However little you can reasonably expect to sell (or do sell) you get exactly the same deal.
What I have to do is this. I make recordings direct to CD or by synthesis to .wav. Then I convert them to .mp3 files. Then I upload to my page or pages at Then I decide which combinations of tracks to make available as CDs (do this online). Also I make the CD cover art on my PC and upload that to, and decide on other fine detail like the price. ( gets the first $3.99 and half of the rest of the CD price, I get the rest)

Also, if your .mp3 tracks get enough online plays you can enroll in the Premium Artist Service (for a subscription fee) and then you get paid half a cent for each play (which seems for most artists to net a lot more cash than CD sales).


A short account of the nature and history of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface.
Midi History A very short history.
A Simple Midi Setup Rather like the one I have.
Midi Messages A summary of the available messages and their encodings.
Key to Abbreviations Key to abbreviations used in table of message types.
Standard Midi Files How midi is stored in files.
Timing Info in Midi Files There are several different kinds of information in midi files which relate to the timing of the music.
The Future of Midi Some possibilities for where Midi is going.
Sources Some of the sources I have used in compiling this page.

UP HOME © RBJ created 1995-4-17 modified 2003-3-14