Contemporary Classical Composer


Chime Melody

August 27, 2014

Here is one of my Contingency Etudes. Like the others, it features a randomly changing variable, in this case…

…register. My task was to create something meaningful out of randomly shifting registers (sets of 12-note octaves from low to high on the keyboard) determined by the Contingency Theme. This does not make melody impossible; it simply requires that one wait for a convenient register to randomly present itself before the melody can “lawfully” continue. The continuation of the melody is contingent upon register. Sometimes it has to restart because it was interrupted. As a whole, the goal of this piece is to ascend, as if out of the dust, and attain a level of energy from which emotion can be channeled freely. The process is gradual and requires some patience, since the melody cannot ascend but at the behest of chance; but when it is actualized, there is a sense of fulfillment, and the music lays down its head in peace.

The pentatonic scale (the black notes on the piano) is always intuitive. Whatever harmonies result from it, randomly sounding from the depths to the heights, complement one another, as if members of the same family. The intuitiveness and simplicity of the scale, in this case, make me think of plants, animals…life in general. The level of organization in biological life is extremely high; and yet its existence depends to a significant extent upon random forces–both those that shape conditions in the external world, and those that determine DNA during procreation. The interplay of “randomness” and “organization” in this way seem to be metaphorical for life.

Meanwhile, the piece may admit other interpretations. The randomly shifting chords are struck and left echoing like chimes. Yet out of that randomness, a melody emerges, something that would never happen if left to chance. There is Intelligent Design, causation by conscious intent, yet that working through or from within contingency.

In any case, there is the pentatonic scale, which is essentially the universal language of humankind.

Free Etude: Metaphysique

July 15, 2014

I’ve been writing piano etudes lately, and here is the latest one: my “Free Etude.” This piece was originally part of my ongoing Contingency Etude series…it had randomly changing dynamics that would have created a sort of strobe-light effect (loud, soft, very loud, moderately soft, extremely soft, extremely moderately loud, etc., following no pattern). It was ridiculously hard to play. I didn’t even want to play it, as the composer, and a pianist who likes to grapple with Ligeti etudes. The idea is this: if something is hard to play, the aesthetic reward must be worth the effort. It wasn’t, so I canned the random dynamics and made them intuitive. The result is a “free etude”—without any restrictions on my creative fiat.



As usual, I like to offer a few thoughts on what my music means. In this piece, there is a sense of logic and order created by the repeating patterns, and yet the counterpoint is abstract and “disoriented.” The sense of disorientation comes from the symmetrical pitch-sets (chromatic scales in the right hand and slowly modulating whole tone scales in the left). All that means to me is: outer space, or something like it. Which way is up? Which way is down? Yes, there are momentary reference points, but they change after not too long–unlike life on earth, in which gravity is always pulling downward. The ground is The Frame of Reference. So this piece is either in (so to speak) outer space, or in a disembodied realm. In my series on power, which I posted in the older version of this website (and am soon to re-post as a single stand-alone post for your reading pleasure) I talk about “metaphysical space”… a realm of pure thought (not unlike, I suppose, Plato’s realm of ideal forms). Anyway, it’s the metaphorical “space” where reasoning is done. In this space, there may or may not be a sense of certainty, depending on the subject matter. This etude, it seems to me after hearing myself play through it, and as I listen to this virtual realization of it, is analogous to that realm, and specifically to a discussion, or speech given, in which someone is articulating a point about something that listeners are invited, or perhaps commanded, to observe. In short, the piece is rhetorical, not in the deceptive sense, but in the convincing sense. And there is an unpredictability to it as well. Surprises happen, unexpected changes. What does that mean? That whoever is giving “the speech” is demanding attention. Surprises demand attention. So then, whatever this speech is about, it is important. Also, there is emotional reward when the point is made, when the thing to be expressed is finally expressed. Emotional satisfaction. That is created by the unified rhythmic punches and climax at the end, not to mention the intermediate climaxes in-between that build up to it.

There is another version of this piece in which everything (almost) repeats verbatim, affording one the opportunity to trace the musical argument again, and possibly appreciate it better the second time. But for purposes of brief, more Twitter-spirited communication, I post the short version.

These are my thoughts. When you listen to this music, let your imagination take you where it will, freely as it were, whether where I have suggested, or somewhere else new and different. Imagination, my friends, is what this is all about.

Welcome to the new Gregory Kyle website

I won’t say much–only that I plan to be much more active here than anywhere else. Listen for notes I compose about life, music, and philosophy.

If you haven’t already, please do connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and follow my more musical feeds on YouTube and SoundCloud. Keep coming back for more updates or sign up in the footer to receive future notes from me in your inbox.

Play on.

Business Plan Essentials

Having a business plan is essential for entrepreneurs, whether you are launching a startup, or expanding into a new market. This post is the first in a series that will offer an overview of business-plan basics as well as instruction on its most essential elements.

What Is a Business Plan?

A Business Plan is a document that establishes the vision, viability, and strategy of a business.

Why Create a Business Plan?

1. It Provides Clarity

Writing things down forces you to think them through. Unexpressed ideas are liable to change or disappear without notice, but writing them down makes them official. In order to create wealth, you must define your mission, count the costs, evaluate your vision, and formulate a strategy. Writing all this down helps you prove the feasibility of your idea, avoid oversights, solidify your goals, and establish a blueprint that will direct your efforts and motivate your team.

2. It Attracts Capital

A business plan can be used to convince potential backers to invest in your business. If you need help raising capital, a well-crafted plan—not to mention a good idea—will demonstrate the viability and potential reward your business has to offer to investors. With this, you will be able to present a persuasive case for investors to assume the risk of investing in your work. Common sources of financing include Venture/Angel Capitalists, family and friends, the SBA, and SBICs.

3. It Creates Hope

Humans are emotional. We need to know that the efforts we exert will bear fruit. Having a confident vision and well-formulated plan creates positive energy that will fuel your work. Without a vision and strategy, there is no basis for hope, and no real incentive to put forth effort. But when you have articulated your vision, demonstrated its feasibility with analysis, and formulated a strategy to achieve it, you create energy that your company will thrive on. It is impossible to eliminate risk, but crafting a business plan will enable you to pursue your vision knowing that the potential reward is worth the risk you’re taking.

Read the rest on Medium…