Tag Archives: Guitar


Mazurka for Guitar

I have been learning LilyPond for music engraving lately and I love it!

I have always been intrigued by the intersections between music and programming. LilyPond really appeals to the coder in me because you are basically writing code in a text editor, and out comes beautiful sheet music.

Here is a work I did many years ago, Mazurka, for guitar. I used this as a learning example because it presents several problems for music engraving, in a nice short work that doesn’t require one to commit to a huge ordeal. It covers basic notation issues such as fingerings, arpeggiation, a free-form cadenza, dynamics, tempo, and articulations.

The PDF of the work will remain available right here, and I’m releasing it under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license, so please feel free to download it, play it, and redistribute it as you wish–just always attribute the composer, and don’t alter it in any way. Enjoy, and thanks!

Oh, and if you do perform it or have any questions on interpretation, please feel free to let me know in by posting a comment.


Let me just say that it is really relaxing to not be practicing the double bass for a few days here. I’ve been shedding on that thing for the past couple of months on a daily basis, mostly in anticipation of the concert that occurred last Sunday. The concert is done and I’ve been taking a breather and tending to things neglected – oh such as this blog and the fact that it has been down for a few days. Welcome back to the living, sanbeiji.com…

The performance last weekend was spectacular – an amazing group of talent out there in the Bay Area Taiwanese community. I had the honor and privilege of playing the Rossini Duetto with Shu-Yi Pai whom recently joined the San Francisco Symphony, and the Chanson Triste by Koussevitsky with the incomparable Yingwen. Really an honor to play with such talented and accomplished musicians.

So now it is back to a little guitar, which I’ve been neglecting, and thinking about the next phase in practicing for me over the coming months. I have been focusing lately on developing technique in the upper thumb position regions on my bass, a lot of bowing drills, and intend to get back into expanding my Bach repertoire on the guitar. I still consider if I should just bag the orchestral strings once and for all and finally focus on solo playing exclusively. It is obvious I’m never going to have the time to play orchestra, but there is always the occasional chamber music event that I just can’t resist. Maybe I need two basses! ๐Ÿ˜€

8 Random Things

I’ve been hit with a meme. I usually ignore these. It’s like getting hit with a tax bill. Or a subpoena. But for a couple of reasons I’m following up on this one. First of all, it came about because of very special circumstances that are close to me – a person whom I have never (probably) met, but who crossed paths with me when I was very young. Second, because I have a raging case of ennui (I feel so Henry Miller) this afternoon and need something to move me forward. Lastly, this reminds me that I need to stay a bit more up to date my primary node contacts in the blogosphere.

The rules for this meme are:

  1. Let others know who tagged you.
  2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
  3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
  4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

Eight random facts. About me? Hmmmm… OK, I think in the spirit of this exercise, I am going to avoid talking about anything obvious such as “I play the bass” or “I speak a little Mandarin.” I’ll have to think about this one. Here goes:

  1. I almost always wear black. I’m not a goth or some depressing artiste or something. That’s just my innate preference. I don’t know why – someone who I had not seen in over 20 years pointed this out to me last October at an event at my old high school Athenian last October by saying “I remember you used to always wear black.” I was in fact wearing a black shirt under a gray suit with a long black overcoat. What can I say? I’m a winter, not a summer…
  2. Cloudy, misty, foggy, cool weather is my favorite climate. I’m not big on hot or even warm weather. Again, this has nothing to do with the wearing black thing.
  3. My Myers-Briggs personality type is ENTP. This is generally classified as extremely creative, scholarly, verbose, and really terrible at follow-through. Nothing could be more true on that last point at least… ๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. I began playing the double bass at the age of nine and started guitar around twelve. I planned to major in both until it was recommended that I narrow it down to one for NEC – where I settled on the double bass. To this day I still practice both. This may very well be related to my ENTP-ness as mentioned previously.
  5. I am writing out a blog post for this meme, when I should be finishing up my homework! ๐Ÿ˜‰
  6. I think I may have had celiac-like symptoms as early as at age 25. I was finally diagnosed two years ago, at 37. After going gluten-free, I can truly say that I haven’t felt this healthy since my early 20’s.
  7. I have had a strong feeling for the past couple of years that civility has been mostly lost from society. I was particularly pleased to see that the person who memed (is that a verb now?) me had also recently blogged on this very same subject.
  8. For some odd reason, I am fascinated with remote human habitation in extreme climates or remote locations. Some that have caught my attention include Svalbard, Tristan da Cunha, and space habitats.

OK now to assign some pumpkins:

  1. Michael
  2. Matt
  3. Jason A.
  4. Jason H.
  5. Steph
  6. Brandon
  7. Seamaiden
  8. Ellen

There you go – my one and only, and probably final contribution to blogmemedom. I think I have less ennui now, because I have this pressing urge to finish my homework.

Some things for the future

Well, so far this year has been tough at best, so it is time to look forward.

As I sit here suffering a thankfully rare but severe reaction to gluten that will undoubtedly keep me awake the rest of this evening, I am contemplating what things I need to do to get life looking up again:

  • First of all, I think the basics are covered. I’m getting excellent grades in my masters program, and I’m exercising regularly. We bought a recumbent exercise cycle and I found that a laptop perched on my nice wooden music stand allows us to use the computer while we pedal. Watching DVDs, doing homework, reading papers, surfing the web, or listening to podcasts all make it very productive time, which was the main reason why I wasn’t exercising before. I have found the auto-scroll feature in Acrobat Reader to be particularly handy for reading while exercising. But I certainly could be eating a bit more healthy – less chips and beer, more fruit and wild rice.
  • I decided finally that, given my career as a web geek, playing ensemble with my double bass just isn’t going to happen anymore. I don’t have time. I will never have time. I might have time for a few people to come over and jam on Dvorak and Schubert, but the reality is that I know very few good string players out here in the burbs. However, what I do have time for is practice – late nights, weekends, whenever I can get a few minutes. The whole reason I got into the double bass in the first place was to play solo music, so it’s time to get back to my roots and string that thing up with some solo gauge Thomastiks. Heck, this is how Yingwen and I hooked up in the first place: She was a pianist that played the double bass; I was a bassist in need of a good and willing accompanist; one late night rehearsal after another and… ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • I will never apologize for not blogging, but I do intend to write more. And by the way, I am sick of being hosted on a non-PHP5 server. Looking for new digs for this site. And I really should start learning Ruby.
  • “But what about Ajax?” I can hear some of you saying… Well it is true that every single damn job posting out there these days asks for someone who is god of Ajax and all things server-side. Great – you know, I read Jeremy Keith’s book on DOM Scripting, played around with some of the frameworks, and for whatever reason I’m still not digging it. There are too many hacks, failovers, workarounds, and the rest of it for me to fall in love with this language. In most cases when I come across a deep and serious problem in my web team with an application, it is because of an over-reliance on Javascript. So I’ve decided to keep it in the utilitarian mode for now until such time as I can further dive down properly into it later this year.
  • Finally, the guitar deserves a little attention since that has actually improved dramatically over the past half year or so. I really should firm up my technique and stop slouching that instrument over my right leg all the time.

How does one find the time to practice two instruments, go to school, work full time and have a family? Simple: Give up television.

Twenty Years

I just got an email from a close friend from high school reminding us that for the class of 1986, this June is it’s twenty year reunion.

Holy shit.

Now despite the fact that this is not the high school I actually graduated from, I still somehow have this incredible urge to flee towards the nearest cavern and hide myself from this ominous milestone date. Twenty years. It sounds like a long time, doesn’t it?

I brought up 1986 in Wikipedia just to see where we were at back then. What a time:

  • Space Shuttle Challenger blew up right after launch. I was watching it on TV when it happened. This affected me later on more than I realized at the moment it happened. I wound up doing a lot of research on the topic later in my undergrad studies as well as later on in professional life as to the causes of the disaster.
  • Comet Halley paid us a visit, which was kind of a dud event for me as an amateur astronomy enthusiast.
  • Chernobyl blew up, causing the worst nuclear accident in history. Kind of nerve-wracking.
  • Iran-Contra. Yay! What kills me is that Ollie North is still out there making an ass of himself.
  • Great artist Georgia O’Keeffe, famed jazz great Benny Goodman, and master cellist Pierre Fournier passed away
  • Peter Gabriel released So and Bruce Hornsby grabs a No.1 hit with The Way it Is.
  • And I somehow squeaked through high school.

I don’t think it was until the following year that I began relearning the double bass, the instrument I began learning at nine and what I was eventually to major in through my bachelors and masters degrees, the thing that fed me for through college and my early professional career. It is wild, now after so much has transpired, to think that in 1986 I wasn’t even playing the double bass. (I was, however, playing jazz guitar obsessively for hours on end back then.)

If any of my former classmates should read this, cheers!