I have been a musician pretty much as far back as I remember. I was never quite good enough to make a living of it, but that never stopped me from doing it. This page reflects the results of a lifetime of fiddling with music.


For maybe 20 years in California, I routinely played music with friends. Probably my most consistent group I whimsically named "Andy's Gang" - a passing reference to the 50's kid's show featuring Andy Devine with "Froggy the Gremlin"


In 1983, I was working at Lucasfilm. My colleague Tomlinson Holman had just completed the design of the THX sound system in time for the release of "Return of the Jedi". An animated trailer was being prepared that was to play before the feature to announce the THX sound system. I was asked to do the sound/music for the trailer. It subsequently became probably the most widely-recognized piece of purely computer-synthesized music, having been played more than a million times in theaters around the country. When I am gone and buried, they will probably put on my tombstone something like like "Famous for 35 seconds of sound"


I have been working on and off with poet Donna Marie Decker for some time. I accompany her at readings of her poetry on banjo or saxophone. I had been taken by one of her poems from her collection of poems written in Key West, Florida. It is a monolog from a homeless man living in the mangrove swamps on the edge of Key West. As the poem goes on, you realize that the fellow was a mathematician. As one of my degrees is in mathematics, I felt a kinship with the protagonist. I had also wanted to do a long-form composition using the speech-synthesis technology I had worked on in the 70's. This is the result.


I have played the banjo on and off since I was 15. In my 50's, I decided it was time to get the banjo that I really wanted. I had Larry Cohea, a luthier in El Cerrito, California make me an instrument out of solid curly maple. It followed roughly the design of the old Gibson RB-800 or Granada with the plate-and-ring construction, but with a few quirks. It has a 6th string. Below the D string is another wound string that I tune alternately to low A (like a guitar) or low G. Additionally, I had it made with Schaller guitar tuners. I have had terrible luck with banjo tuners. I had one come apart one time on stage. Never again. The result is the finest instrument I have ever played.


I have been always been interested in experimental music. When I came to Stanford in 1968, there was a thriving computer music group there already. I immediately fell in with them. Later, we formed CCRMA, the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. It was an incredible time and for me personally a time of great creativity. Almost anything we did was revolutionary. I became interested in speech synthesis in music from the work of Charles Dodge. These two pieces resulted from this interest, and the freedom granted by CCRMA to actually realize them.