Roger M. Wilcox's MIDI Sing-Along

Instead of recording my irresistible golden voice singing these instant-classic songs of mine, I thought I'd do the next best thing. On this page are links to MIDI files of songs I've written, where I have an an oboe playing the vocal part.  The lyrics to each song appear immediately below each link, so you can sing along with the music.

Note that some of these songs are woefully incomplete in terms of accompaniment, and others are just as incomplete in terms of lyrics.

And the Word Is Love

I performed this song at a friend's wedding in 1994. Fun fact: The lyrics at the end of the first verse were inspired by the last sentence in "30 Seconds Over Broadway" from the book Wild Cards.

Since long before
We wrote our lore
Before we wrote down time,
The feeling came
Through us, the same
As now they sometimes must climb;
The gentlest thing
Would loudly sing
In silences all heard.
Wherever it came down,
It made the sound
Of just a single word.

No Secret lay
In night or day,
Intense the word was known;
Yet so much so
That by some cruel blow
It's possible to be thrown.
Sometimes we cry,
"We'd rather die!",
The word seems so unsure;
But it's still there,
It's ev'rywhere,
The only thing that will endure.

And the word is love!  Love!  Love!  Love!
Love for all your life!
And the word is love!______
Be you husband, child, or wife!
The strength you draw
From natural law
Can never be absurd.
You might forget
What you have learned,
But don't forget the word!

(short instrumental refrain, played on a flute)

For the life that we live,
And the love that we give,
And the truth that we know
We cannot confuse;
Reach down to that deep desire,
And let it show its fire,
It's the reason for being here —
What have you got to lose?

This does not mean that you must always love upon demand,
Nor does it mean to love by coming down with an iron hand,
This does not mean to love afar upon some distant shore,
It merely means to love yourself, and your close ones all the more.

And the word is love!  Love!  Love!  Love!
Love for all you're worth!
And the word is love!______
Feels like a second birth!
It's all around
In ev'ry sound,
And rock, and tree, and bird.
You can forget
All you've been told,
But it's impossible to forget the word.

And the word is love.

In my early notes for this song, I had an alternative set of words for the first verse, based on the Newfoundland folk song first collected by Maud Karpeles in 1930 (but set to my song's melody):

She's like the swallow in the air that flies so very high,
She's like the river at my feet that flows but never runs dry,
She's like the sunshine gleaming down upon the farthest shore,
I love my love, I love my love, and now love is no more.

My Love By Grenda vil Dift, 2856 A.D.

This was originally written for the short story Starlane Destroyer, which I never finished.

My love!  The center of my life,
Be with me when I am gone.
The warmth of your love can propel me
Past the deepest darkness and on.
My love!  The beacon in my nights,
Don't let your thoughts of me despair.
My love!  You're all the diff'rence I need;
Our lives' pure light shall dare!

I still recall a time
Before you turned my night into day,
And I wondered then, as I wonder now,
How could it have been any other way?

My love!  When all is said and done,
What we have will not be lost.
The darkness won't last forever,
And the dawn shall break through the frost!
My love!  Together we were, once,
And though that time refused to stay_____,
My love!
For all it's worth,
I know we'll be together again some day.

You May Run Through Endless Darkness

I heard this in a dream I had right after I realized I wasn't ever going to be able to get a local girlfriend for as long as I lived in the Silicon Valley.

You may run through endless darkness
Deeper than the night,
And you may feel the stings of emptiness,
Harsh and cold and bright;
You may face lonely nights
'Til you want to cry, "No more!"
In short, what are you fighting for?

God is Just Another Mutant

I also heard this in a dream, involving Space Ace and Kimberly from the old Space Ace video arcade laserdisc game.  Space Ace was aboard a boat, and Kimberly was singing this to him while skillfully navigating down a dangerous whitewater river, reminiscent of "Just Around the River Bend" from Disney's Pocahontas.  (The tune itself, however, seems to have been inspired by "Lasso You the Moon" from the movie Rustlers' Rhapsody.)

God may seem omnipotent, you see,
So beautiful and free
Beneath the waves.
But God is just another mutant drifting through the sea.
God made you.
God spent a lot to make you.
And God spent lots more making me.
(Nobody ever said that lyrics you hear in a dream have to make sense.)

She Are Green

Yet another song I heard in a dream.  It's a poignant, heartrending Irish folk ballad about the long lost green of youth, or the Irish countryside, or something, set against a comical fabric softener commercial involving a lady whisking her way through a black-and-white landscape that turns full-color in her wake (implying that the laundry product she's hawking keeps your clothes as brightly colored as the green grass).

Unfortunately, I didn't hear any real lyrics for it in my dream. So, I had to make some up:

When I was a lass in the green of my springtime,
It seems a lifetime ago,
My joy, like the shamrock, burst forth from the meadow
Like buds through the first melting snow.

My youth were as green as the wild Irish hillside,
I'd dance and I'd sing and I'd play.
And the lads all aglow from the spell of my beauty,
They'd look and they'd smile and they'd say:

"She are green! She are green!
The greenest that ever were seen.
She are green! She are green!
Like crocus and primrose,
She's all that blooms and grows;
As bright as the morn — she are green!"

But just as the springtime gives way to the summer,
And summer gives way to the fall,
The green of my youth slowly waned from its zenith
Until it was nigh there at all.

No more did my dances
Command the lads' glances,
No more would my charms hold the day,
Too late did I learn just how brief was the garland
And what else it means when they say:

"She are green! She are green!
The greenest that ever were seen.
She are green! She are green!"
Green like fruit on the vine,
Green like the tyro's line,
Lord count the ways she are green!

And now I look back near the coming of winter,
My chariot's race nearly run 'round,
And my green has gone brown, like the leaves on the branches
Will wither and fall to the ground.

My spring is long over;
How I miss the clover
And grass on the field from the day!
And I look to that girl of the next generation,
Still wild and still fresh, and I say:

"She are green! She are green!
The greenest that ever were seen.
She are green! She are green!"
Wear proudly the label
As long as you're able,
'Cause just for today, she are green!

Wear proudly the label
As long as you're able,
'Cause just for today, she are green.

Let's Go Bomb an Abortion Clinic

An extremely sarcastic song, which I wrote in reaction to certain Contemporary Christian Music lyrics I heard.  If you're not offended by this song, you're reading it wrong.

Ev'ry day, sev'ral thousand little cute, helpless babies
Are all killed while they're in the wo-omb still.
Don't they know that getting pregnant is God's mandated punishment
For getting laid against His holy will?
We can't let them get away with this, they've got to pay the price;
The time has come to act, the time is past for being nice!
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic.
Make the world once more Huckleberry Finn-ic.
With some primer cord and some C4
We'll keep 'em from killing any more,
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic!
Come with me, don't be such a cynic!
Stop the killers by killing them ourselves.

I've been all through the Bible, but I can't find a place where it says
Abortion explicitly is wrong.
But my pastor says that Moses only meant unborn babies
By that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" thing all along.
And if it's good enough for Moses, well, it's good enough for me!
God help the doctors I send to Hell for all eternity.
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic.
While they're still inside with their next-of-kin-ic.
We'll park a rented truck out front,
Like that Oklahoma City stunt.
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic!
Come with me, don't be such a cynic!
Blast them all, they deserve it for their crimes.

With the fear of getting blown up, they won't dare go near a clinic,
So they'll have to keep their babies like God said.
Now you may begin to wonder 'bout all those unwanted children
With a mother who would rather they were dead.
Well, frankly, I don't give a damn about them once they're born.
God says we've got more bombs to plant, we've got no time to mourn!
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic.
We'll keep them from committing a mortal sin-ic.
And don't worry if one of our caste
Or an unborn baby's in the blast —
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic!
Come with me, don't be such a cynic!
Kill them all, and let our God sort them out!
Boom boom boom boom, ka-blam!

Ninja Lovers

Another song that came to me in a dream.  Situationally inspired by Elan and Therkla in The Order of the Stick.  Musically inspired by "It Can't Be Wrong," sung in homage to Frank Sinatra on at least one Warner Brothers cartoon.  Imagine a girl ninja and a boy ninja fighting it out, each determined to kill the other, swinging and parrying and riposting, getting fiercer and fiercer — and then:

And then he took my hand,
And we began to dance,
I looked into his eyes,
And he looked into mine,
His smile could melt the stars!

And then, I pulled him close,
He held me in his arms,
The beauty of his face,
The warmth of his embrace,
doo doot doo doo doo doo...


Yet another song that came to me in a dream, this time of when I was in the old Isomata festival choir.  (Or perhaps it was the even older Isomata youth choir.)  I later did a rendition of this song in GWBASIC.

Living and free
Expressing our thoughts
And the way we want things to be.
Telling our love
Telling our lies
They try to say things that can't be read in the eyes.
But can they talk?
Can they talk?
Can they talk? Can they talk?
Can they, can they, can they, can — can they talk?

For all that they're worth
They only describe time we've spent and not spent on Earth.
As we try to hold,
Recapture the past,
Recorded words are all we have to make our thoughts last.
But can they talk?
Can they talk?
Can they talk? Can they talk?
Can they, can they, can they, can they —

If I Die Before I Wake

This song came to me at age 20 . . . the darkest evening of the year.  It is supposed to be the voice of Orpheus, having learned that his darling Euridice has been slain by a snake bite and that the only way to bring her back is to march into the Underworld himself.  I later did a rendition of this song in GWBASIC.

The last little verselet comes from a 16th century poem by Edmund Spenser, which had been set as a 4-voice a capella piece by Halsey Stevens that the UCLA Madrigal Singers performed that year (the melody and harmony here bear no relation to the Stevens setting, however).

If I die before I wake
At least I will have tried for her sake.
I'd rather join in death with her
Than try to live without
mon coeur.

(Like as the culver
On the bared, bared bough
Sits mourning for the absence
of her mate.)

I've Found The New Meaning of Life

I came up with this theme while at Idyllwild music camp (ISOMATA) in the summer of 1981. I intended it to be the "triumph" music for the climax of The Pentagon War, but I also heard it in my head when I got to kiss a girl there. Can't imagine why. <whistles nonchalantly>

I've found the new meaning of life
I know that I can't take it in strife
I know I can't reject it,
For I must accept it,
I've found the new meaning of life

I've found the new meaning of life
I know that I can't take it in strife
I know I can't reject it,
For I must accept it,
I've found the new meaning of life;
I know I can't reject it,
For I must accept it,
I've found the new meaning of life

Tracer's Theme

The musical theme for this guy. The words are only sung during the slow recap of the theme near the end.

Homeworld will never die here,
Tracer will always fly here,
Nobody left to cry here,
It's done — the empire has won!

(No one to know) my world has lost,
Fin'lly crossed,
Wha-at a cost!

The above lyrics coincided with Jeff Boeing learning that the alien energy-armor he wore came from the Last of the Armored Warriors, the losing side in a war against an oppressive star-spanning empire. I imagined the theme being recapped at the end of the story, or in a hypothetical sequel where Jeff Boeing discovers other Armored Warriors, with more triumphant lyrics:

Homeworld will never die here,
Tracer will always fly here,
Nobody needs to cry here,
It's done — the homeworld has won!

We are not gone,
Nothing drawn,
Live the new dawn!

Fanfare from a dream on 20-Nov-2011

The fanfare in this dream was clearly inspired by the 1990s TriStar Pictures logo fanfare, although I didn't realize it at the time.  My thoughts and emotions while dreaming this were aimed more at something like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Slow Dance

Inspired, loosely, by Kate Bush's "Wow". Also not a full song. And lacks lyrics. But, damn, this tune really gets to me.

Yet Strew Upon My Dismal Grave

I composed this for 4-voice a capella chamber choir during my one graduate year at UCLA. Words by Thomas Stanley, Esq. (1651).

Yet strew
Upon my dismal grave
Such offerings as you have:
Forsaken cypress and sad yew

For kinder flow'rs can take no birth,
Or growth from such unhappy earth.

Time to Give My Dog His Denamarin

My dog has colitis. So he needs to take medicines to reduce the problems in his colon. But these medicines have the side effect of taxing his liver. So, at the behest of my Internal-medicine-specialist veterinarian:

It's time to give my dog his Denamarin.
It's a little bluish pill, this Denamarin.
Because he's taking steroid pills
His liver is impacted, so
I'm making up for it with Denamarin.

He won't just up and swallow Denamarin,
So I mush it with his dog food, Denamarin.
But not with too much dog food, 'cause
Officially you're s'posed to take it
On an empty stomach, Denamarin.

I don't mean to advertise for Denamarin,
There might be side effects from Denamarin,
I have a vet'rinarian
Who does internal medicine,
She said to give my dog some Denamarin.

It's not classed as a drug, this Denamarin,
So it hasn't been subjected, Denamarin,
To the same rigorous testing
That we give to pharmaceuticals
But there are published studies
That show measurable benefit
Compared with a placebo
In reducing bilirubin
So I'll keep giving my dog his Denamarin!

(Denamarin® is a registered trademark of Nutramax Laboratories Inc., for their combination formula of S-Adenosylmethionine and Silybin A+B. Both of these substances are classified as nutritional supplements rather than pharmaceuticals, they have not been subjected to the same kinds of rigorous trials that pharmaceuticals have. Heaven knows how effective it really is at this point, or how bad the side effects are.)


Written in 2014, this is the long-awaited sequel to Deuterium, which was recorded way back in 1983 with the help of Ken Tamura. Both songs use the same tune.

An isotope of hydrogen in a thermonuclear blast,
Three times as heavy as normal, but not stable — it won't last;
The nucleus, called a triton, holds two neutrons in its sway.
That's one neutron too many, so *woops!* nuclear decay!
The nucleus spits out a beta ray, an electron to you and me,
And a neutron becomes a proton then, and you've got helium three!

It's tritium! It's tritium!
A half life of twelve years.
It's tritium! Ah, tritium!
Made by the hand
Of clever Man,
Without us, nearly all disappears.

Now there are those who are trying to use tritium as a fuel,
To make some of our electric pow'r, and help the climate to cool;
They fuse it with some deuterium, but there's the problem you see —
To make them fuse together takes a whole lot of energy!
In fact, it takes more energy than the fusion reaction gives off.
We haven't hit the break-even point; it's still a long way off!

It's tritium! It's tritium!
No tokamaks or polywells yet thrive.
It's tritium! Ah, tritium!
And cold fusion's bunk,
For now, we're sunk,
It's only hope that keeps this dream alive.

But there's one place where the pressure and heat combine to give more:
The center of an atomic blast is hotter than the sun's core!
And there's where nuclear fusion pays back a hundred fold,
Turns A-bombs into H-bombs to flatten countries untold.
Don't try to build one in your garage, the plans are still classified.
They might not even use tritium, but lithium-6 deuteride!

It's tritium! It's tritium!
The heaviest hydrogen there is.
It's tritium! Ah, tritium!
In bombs galore
Oh, nevermore
Can any nation say, "None of my biz"!

Don't Ride the Bus

Shortly after Weird Al Yankovic debuted "Another One Rides the Bus," I had a dream involving a killer Santa Monica city bus (the big blue buses that would later be made famous by the movie Speed). And as the bus pulled away from another victim, I heard the beginnings of this song. This ended up being the first of my songs that I ever wrote actual accompaniment for and performed.

Well, those death-dealing thingies of green, black, and blue,
They are whizzing on past you, so what will you do-oo-oo?
So you get up and chase it with all of your might,
And it starts to speed up then — faster than li-i-ight.
And although you run faster, and pray to the pope,
You know deep, down inside you, that there is no hope —
Do-on't ride the bus!

If you want to catch one, you'll regret when you do,
'Cause inside that speed demon, it smells worse than yo-o-ou.
And each passenger on there is sixty years old,
And they talk of things that are exciting — like mo-o-old!
And the noises inside there are louder than hell,
But when you raise your voice, then the driver will yell:
"Do-on't make a fuss!"

When you read in the paper, you find that each day
There's a bus accident when its hull cracked one wa-a-ay.
(or "when one turned the wrong way")
"Sixty were killed and two hundred injured,"
And you wonder how this kind of thing is endu-u-ured.
On the site of the crash are reporters galore,
Each all saying the same thing that they've said before —
"Do-on't ride the bus!"

They will hog up two lanes on the big city streets,
And in running to catch one, all you'll get is sore fee-ee-eets.
When they step on the gas, they pollute all the air,
And although they chug madly, they ge-et nowhe-e-ere.
And yet each day you insist they're needed — that's poo,
You're risking your life, here's my advice to you:
(Guess what it is?)
Do-on't ride the bus!!!
[in Mr. Rogers voice:] (How 'bout that, boys and girls, you got it right!)

Now I've more than put down the city bus system,
But there's another kind of bussing that's even worse than the-e-em.
By now you've prob'ly guessed, and now know what it is —
It's the school bus system for integrating "ki-i-ids".
And each parent and congressman knows that it's wrong,
Because if you're inside one, then you won't last long —
Do-on't ride the bus!!!!!

(Oh no.)

(The "Oh no" at the end was my parody of Barnes and Barnes, who ended all their songs with "Oh yeah!".)

Chariots of Video Games

Written in 1982, this was based on my mis-remembrance of the theme from Chariots of Fire. (For some reason I thought it was in a triple meter.) The subject matter was several of the arcade games I was playing at the time.

Just call me The Tempest, I ride on a storm,
Through different mazes of color and form;
The name of a play by old William Shakespear
And the name of a V-8 cut in half about here.
I fire, and I spin and super-zap;
I kill all the monsters, and I find
There are no Flippers, no Tankers, no Spikers, no Fuseballs, no Pulsars —
It's all in my mind.

For I am The Phoenix, among flying birds,
Some turn into clouds of space debris, some split into words;
The name of a missile, and a show on TV,
Named for an eternal firebird we never will see.
I go left and right, forcefield, and fire;
I kill all the birds, and I find
There are no warbirds, no wing-clips, no bombers, no eggs, no Starbase —
It's all in my mind.

They made me The Vanguard, out ahead of the crowd,
To shoot every moving thing in sight, and then explode loud;
The name of someone out ahead of the game,
And although the mission's different, the object's the same.
I move, fire, and fly through energy,
I kill everything, and I find
I always get 3 lives, and never win — this is no game —
It's all in my mind.

And then I'll play Pac-Man
[yicch – no I won't], and Blast your Astro,
And Cresta your Moon, and all other things like it can go;
I may not be the greatest, but I'm sure not the worst,
To think that I imitate someone, and call it a "first!"
I'm wondering whether things exist,
I've done everything, and I find
There is no arcade, no vision, no world, no matter, no universe —
It's all in my mind!!

Go Out To the Arcade

Written in 1982, this is sung to the tune of "Go Out With Joy" by Hank Beebe. I'd sung "Go Out With Joy" with either the Youth Choir or the the Festival Choir a previous summer at ISOMATA, and I carried that tune with me all the way into the video arcades that were so popular at the time.

Asteroids, Tempest, Defender-Stargate, Berserk,
Star Castle, Pac Man, Astro Blaster, Missile Command, Tail Gunner,
Lunar Rescue, Battle Zone, Moon Cresta.

Centipede, Make Trax, Galaxian, Laser Base,
Red Baron, Phoenix, Gorf, Astro Fighter, Lunar Lander, Scramble,
Space Invaders, Space Invaders Part II.

Venture, Starship 1, Crazy Climber, Galaga,
Super Missile Attack,
Star Fire, Qix, Donkey Kong, Kick, Vanguard,
Super Cobra, Mayday, Rip Off, Gun Fight, Targ!

Frogger, Omega Race, Pleiades,
Eliminator, Warlords, Jungler, Monaco, 280-ZZap,
River Patrol, Star Hawk, Space Wars, Zaxxon...

And all they ever do is eat up time & quarters,
With bad guys dropping bombs, and good guys launching mortars,
I wonder if the aliens can get through our borders....
I'm addicted to this day — hey hey!
Go out to the Arcade!

And then, there are the pinball games...

Evil [sic] Kinevil, Gorgar, Xenon —

For Don Weiss

I wrote this in 1985 for Don Weiss, the director of the UCLA Madrigal Singers, on his birthday (and in general all-around appreciation). It was my first 4-part a capella choral composition. I was lucky enough to find a teaching assistant and a group of lab rats volunteer singers who were willing to give me a chance to perform it for Mr. Weiss.

The final line of the final verse was inspired by the opening theme song to the British sitcom Butterflies.

For twenty-five years you've given your life
To make us the best we could be...
And now that another year has rolled 'round,
We're glad for your affinity.

Though we may yawn in apathy,
You've always pulled us through.
For that we're here to pay regard
For what (for all) you do.

You'll never slow no matter what the years say,
And we can never go when you need us to stay.

"Love is what's happening"; so you have said —
Even winter gives birth to spring...
What you've born here
Is something to hold dear;
A rare and gentle thing.

Oh Allison

I heard this very short song in a dream, being sung by a barbershop quartet. By sheer coincidence, the UCLA madrigal singers group I was part of at the time had somebody in it named Allison.

The lyrics came directly from the dream. No hint of bestiality was implied, so get'cher mind outta the gutter.

Oh Allison, Allison,
Limit the crime to humankind.
Oh Allison, Allison,
Limit the crime to humankind.

Inspired by Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, "Laudate Dominum"

This was a composition assignment during my senior year as a undergrad at UCLA. I actually got lucky enough to have instrumentalists and a small group of singers read through it at the time, though as far as I know no tape recording was made.

Oh — and the words are largely nonsense. "Crist lag in todes banden" came from a piece I heard in my medieval music history class, "Laudamus te, ..." comes from the Gloria in the ordinary of the mass, "Der er, der herrlichste" comes from Robert Schumann's Er, der Herrlichste von Allen, and "sum ergo no" is a play on Descartes' "Cogito, ergo sum."


Crist lag in todes banden, Dominum.
Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te!

Laudate dominum in virtutibus
Der er, der herrlichste sum ergo no.

Alleluyah, Alleluyah, Amen!

La Tuá ti Torméntire

This was a composition assignment during my junior year as a undergrad at UCLA. Due to what turned out to be my mishandling of the tape recorder, it didn't record the first two times I read through it in class, prompting two of my classmates to volunteer as "backup singers" for the third recording. Sadly, copies of this recording were never made available to us mere students and in all likelihood it got recorded over next semester.

The words are pseudo-Latin nonsense, with a smattering of Spanish thrown in for good measure.

La tua, ti tormentire,
Lo deum lagrimas, a deo iss a de...
La tua, ti tormentire,
Lo deum lagrimas a deo iss a de.
Cav'eat emtor, cav'eat memtor, let the buyer beware...
I may be wrong and I may not be strong, but at least, show that you care....
La tua ti tormentire
Lo deum lagrimas, a deo is a de.

PCM Invents!!!

An assignment from my class in tonal counterpoint. It's a plain old two-part invention, written for keyboard. For authenticity's sake, I've rendered it here using the MIDI harpsichord patch.

PCM stands for Plagal Cadence Man. I adored plagal cadences.

Sonata in C Major, W. 16

An assignment very early on in my undergraduate music composition class. We were simply to write a piano sonata. For those of you unfamiliar with Sonata form, it consists of a main melody, followed by a second melody in a different key, followed by a development section in which anything goes, followed by the main melody again in its original key, followed by the second melody except now in the same key as the main melody. Or as Professor Robert Winter put it, "Some stuff that initially appears in a key other than the tonic later reappears in the tonic."

My classmates worried like heck about how to do their sonatas in a way that wouldn't sound like Mozart. Since I was probably the most diatonic, tonal person in the room, I figured I'd never be able to make it not sound like Mozart. So, what the heck, if it was going to sound Mozartian, I might as well go all the way into the middle of downtown Mozartville. If measures 28 and 29 sound familiar to you, it's because they were lifted almost verbatim from Mozart's sonata #16, K. 545. So there.

Chariots of Born Free

This was an assignment in my undergraduate music composition class, to write a short piece for piano that built to a climax. No relation to my earlier "Chariots of Video Games."

My Lovely Star

This was an assignment in my undergraduate music composition class, to set a given text to music. The text was an English translation of "Mein schöner Stern," which had been previously set by Robert Schumann. We were supposed to come up with our own setting and then compare it to the one Schumman wrote. The interrupted "Amen" at the end was my idea, what with me being Plagal Cadence Man at the time.

My lovely star! I beg of thee,
Let not thy clear and radiant light
Become obscured by vap'rous clouds.
Instead what now I fail to see,
My lovely star, reveal to me.

My lovely star, I beg of thee,
Because thou seest my sorry plight,
And knowest well my saddend heart,
Take me at last unto thy care,
My lovely star, to dwell with thee.

My lovely star, I beg of thee,
Take me at last unto thy care.
A ... m—
... nah.

If you're really curious, here's the original German text that Schumann set:

Mein schöner Stern! ich bitte dich,
O lasse du dein heitres Licht
Nicht trüben durch den Dampf in mir,
Vielmehr den Dampf in mir zu Licht,
Mein schöner Stern, verklären hilf!

Mein schöner Stern! ich bitte dich,
Nicht senk' herab zur Erde dich,
Weil du mich noch hier unten siehst,
Heb' auf vielmehr zum Himmel mich,
Mein schöner Stern, wo du schon bist!

My Time in the Light is Short

In September of 1986, The Transformers season 3 opened with the 5-part miniseries "Five Faces of Darkness." In it, Rodimus Prime or Arcee or somebody claimed, incorrectly, that Optimus Prime's dying words were "My time in the light is short." Since I didn't have a copy of The Transformers: The Movie lying around, I couldn't verify this and I ended up just taking 'em at their word.

I decided to use this line as the basis for a song in my undergraduate composition class. This was the result. The lyrics were ... kinda emo. (But what do you expect from someone who was recently a teen-ager?)

My time in the light is short,
I can feel my resources fading,
I have seen the restful dark,
It lies not far from here.

I suppose what I've had has been good,
At least for the times that were sweet;
Now my sorrows can die as they should,
Now my sorrows can die as they should,
And I'll worry no more from defeat.

Soon all that I was will be gone,
And soon after, forgotten my wake;
I have no regrets for the path I was on,
Save maybe for misery's sake.

But I can't forget all that I've left behind,
I can't forget joy, or loss, or my plight —
I can't forget! I can't forget!
I can't forget all that I chose in the light.


This was a purely instrumental piece I wrote in my senior year as a music composition undergrad at UCLA. I got a read-through of this piece by a chamber orchestra, but sadly the session wasn't recorded. I later re-used the melody in For They March Alone.

Confuconfutatis, Malemaledictus from the Antecedent-Consequent Requirequiem

Another purely instrumental piece I wrote in my senior year as a music composition undergrad at UCLA, this time for my orchestration class. I got a read-through of this piece by an orchestra, but sadly the session wasn't recorded. It was probably for the best, though, because the horn players totally mistook the single-dotted quarter note rhythm in the 2nd part for the double-dotted rhythm they'd been playing in the opening.

Lost in Meditation

The last piece I wrote as a graduate student in music composition. 'Twas for a little end-of-year party for the composers in our class. We were to take the classic lyrics from a Duke Ellington piece and, without hearing Duke Ellington's treatment first, set them to music in our own way. My inspiration was Cole Porter — or rather, Tom Lehrer's style parody of Cole Porter for Clementine.

Credit for the lyrics was given as simply "John Q. Anon" at the time I wrote this.

I am lost in meditation
And my reverie
Brings you back to me
For in my imagination
Love has lingered on
As though you'd never gone.

This is just a dream that cannot last
When the magic of this mood has passed.
So I sit in meditation
Trying to pretend this mood will never end.

Infra Man's Theme

The musical theme for this guy. I conceived of it right after I left UCLA. It's purely instrumental.

God Rest Ye Unitarians

A traditional melody, with words by Unitarian Universalist minister Christopher Gist Raible. It was originally written some time in the 1970s, to poke fun at the Unitarian Universalist willingness to celebrate every holiday in December except Christmas. Since then, it's become a Christmastime anti-Christian anthem in some circles. It appears here because my brother wanted a video of me singing it.

God rest ye, Unitarians, let nothing you dismay;
Remember there's no evidence there was a Christmas Day;
When Christ was born is just not known, no matter what they say,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

There was no star of Bethlehem, there was no angels' song;
There could have been no wise men for the trip would take too long.
The stories in the Bible are historically wrong,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

Our current Christmas customs come from Persia and from Greece,
From solstice celebrations of the ancient Middle East.
We know our so-called holiday is just a pagan feast,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

Death Row

During either my senior year as an undergrad, or my one graduate year in music composition at UCLA, I had an assignment to write a twelve-tone row as a string quartet. I hate twelve-tone rows. But there was one eight-tone row that was stuck in my mind: The Decepticons theme from the soundtrack to The Transformers: The Movie. (The cartoon, not the Michael Bay explosion fest.) So, I tacked the 4 missing pitches onto the end, and used it as the basis of this short piece.

The name came to me when I looked at the title one of my classmates had given to his 12-tone-row string quartet assignment. Tone rows are also called serial music, so he'd titled his version "Breakfast Serial." Well, darn it, no one was going to outdo me in the pun department!


Inspired by both the "Down, down, down, down" song in Bugsy Malone, and the background sound effects in Space Invaders, I conceived of this song when I was in high school, shortly after having memorized the first 100 digits of π. The bulk of the non-digit lyrics didn't come to me 'til 2015, though.

(Background chorus repeats "three point one four")
A transcendental number I will sing you,
With non-repeating digits to the sky,
But if you picture this
Doo doot doo doo doo hiss
Doo doot doo doo a number called pi.

(Background chorus: "41971 69399 37510 58209")

Doo doot doo doot doo doot doo doot doo doot doo...

Waltz from a dream on 26-Mar-2015

Johann Strauss, Jr., eat your heart out!

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