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O sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His Name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Psalm 96, 1-2

The tones of air, I know not how they flow; where'er they move, all things melodious grow.
Faust PT II, Goethe

Recent
Recordings

Lost World Tango

Two Lonely People

Galaxy

Elysium

Blues for Zarathustra

Wings of the Morning

Cycles

Doloroso

17 Solo Piano Improvisations

Music in Three Parts

House of Counted Days

Voyage to Arcturus

Ron Thomas performances, recordings, teaching, composition and essays.

Bits and Pieces

from Ron Thomas:

We (or those like me, I should say) make art because we yearn to discover forms of our own devising, forms which come to life by our own hands. A man catches fish because he understands the ways and habits of the fish. A composer 'catches' music because he understands the ways and habits of music. Unlike the fisherman, I can also invent the fish......

Discontinuity. Free association. Associative-chains. Montage. Overlapping and Interactive events. Tune-lists. Interlocking-patterns. Non-endings. Hyperbaton, the violation of an expected order of things, the second phrase ahead of the first, e.g., anaphora, the repetition of an idea at the beginning of phrases, ellipsis, the omission of parts known to be necessary to the whole, anacoluton, abandoning one type of construction, taking up unexpectedly another, collage, montage, assemblage, etc. Tediousness, a note repeats, it goes nowhere, mediocrity; a passage of no particular importance, sociology; quotations, correspondences with internal reality; passages with no transitions, patchwork, fragment-collections, motifs, genre-schemes, scraps, pieces, these interwoven, entangled densities deployed to re-present the complex, multiple ambiguities of experiential reality.

inspired by Donald Tovey:

A work of art, in as far as its purpose is unmixed, is a single coherent whole, and as such expresses our faith in the possibility of wholeness and coherence. This conception is a first step towards the view that artistic wholeness or perfection is a type of infinity. Could it be that "infinity" is a word Tovey uses to represent "timelessness" or transcending space-time restrictions?

from Ron Thomas:

The multi-level character of consciousness is representable in music because polyphonic correlatives are possible. Again, the key word is PLURALITY OF ASSOCIATIONS. Tonalities (Centralities, or points-of-focus) are deployed polyphonically in a flexible, always-redefinable musical space. A tone (any tone) is potentially a Sound-Center. Around it a network of 'composed (i.e. artificial) overtones' create a tone-aggregate which may function as a Mode (melodic configurations deriving from and embellishing this aggregate). When a 'Central-Tone' remains fixed while surrounding tones change, luminous kaleidoscopic variations can be achieved. (Tone-Color, then, may be just as structural as it could be ornamental.)

inspired by Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism:

"Only one organizing principle has so far been discovered in literature, and in music too, the principle of chronology. This supplies the magic word 'tradition' which means that when we see the miscellaneous pile strung out along a chronological line, some coherence is given it by sheer sequence." This "chronological fetish" is the essential presupposition of all modern avant-gardism. A sequential basis of organization is an obvious habit of mind when considering the past. "But even tradition does not answer all our questions. 'Total music history' gives us a glimpse of the possibility of seeing music as a complexification of a relatively restricted and simple group of formulas that can be studied in the oldest examples of that history. We next realize that the relation of later examples of this history is by no means purely one of complication, as we find the older formulas reappearing in the greatest classics, in fact there seems to be a tendency on the part of the great classics to revert to them." Perhaps his most influential statement for me is that the maserpiece always displays an enormous number of converging patterns of significance. This wonderful phrase adds support to my "school" of "Associative Pluralism" (!)

from Ron Thomas:

A credo (derived from ideas of Frederick Chopin: To stand apart from the humorless and pretentiously mystical debates and post-modernist battles of western art, and to abide instead in my own habits of art and the spirit. --To help myself abundantly to all the laws of liberty. To prefer the rare and the unfinished and not great applause. --To construct my work through dynamic points of reference around which free associations are arranged in steadily settled designs. --To attain to the holding of the very big in the very little.

Chopin on Chopin....
telling little musical stories.......
peopling the darkness with a conclave of fairies....
incomplete sketches.......
partial closure.......
the empty silences: doorways to imaginary avenues for the mind of the listener.......

For me, the disciplines of musical composition such as, melodic writing, knowledge of harmonic principles, form and continuity, etc. exist for the purpose of treating the musical experience as a dramatic medium. Dramatic in its theatrical and literary sense. The materials of sustained musical expression are controlled by a sense of the inner narrative associated with the sounds in my mind. However, be sure of this ... it is an intrinsic drama in the music itself not a semi-realistic "added on" or quasi-literary programmatic attachment.

Quotes:

"... If you are a professional ... music also brings suffering and a sense of your own insignificance. It's not always comfortable to be one on one with it....
--George Balanchine

"Art may be beauty but it is not an easy beauty."
--Jacques Barzun