My first piano lesson was the day before my fifth birthday. I often combine computers and music, like in my live performance software KeyMaster. That program stems from an older program I wrote with the same name that I originally wrote on the Commodore 64 and used on stage for years. I later ported it to the Atari ST, rewrote it for the now-defunct BeOS, and wrote a Ruby version called PatchMaster.
Currently, I play keyboards in Ellis Island.
I performed in bands from 1980 to 1993, went on a hiatus, and started playing out again in 2013. Over the years, I’ve played everything from progressive rock to dance pop to electric jazz and R&B; covers and originals. Here’s a video of Miles at Connelly’s in Times Square, New York City in 2013. I’m the guy with the beard and glasses off at the side of the stage.
I write different kinds of stuff. Most of it is funk/dance/pop, but I also dabble in orchestral, Sondheim-esque pieces, game show themes, thirty-second newsroom background music, and whatever else tickles my fancy.
Aside from the typeset pieces below and the sequencer and MIDI files of the music I’ve done on my own, I have thrown a few things up on Soundcloud for the fun of it. Out of all of the original songs we did in the late ‘80’s, I only have one crappy cassette of a bunch of works-in-progress . It’s dated but really good stuff. The sound quality is horrendous. Also, the tape broke so I’ll need to repair it one day.
My MIDI reference has moved here. It’s not a tutorial. Rather, it is intended as a quick overview and a reference guide.
Here are three pieces I composed that I’ve typeset using LilyPond.
- Equal Rites Main Theme
- Equal Rites Number 3
- Recording is called At Sea on Soundcloud
- Mosquito Bite Rag
Here are a few others on SoundCloud:
Here’s what my home “studio” looked like in late 2020. When I play live I take the Kronos and the Hydrasynth. The Midiboard has since moved on to another home.
- Korg Kronos LS 88
- ASM Hydrasynth
- Korg Wavestation
- A big honking seven-foot rack, affectionately called the “Think Tank”.
Most of the equipment in it was originally mounted in a homemade, rolling,
chest-high rack of the same name, along with a Commodore 64 running my own
real time MIDI performance software.
- Kurzweil K2000RS (R = rackmount, S = sampling), the rackmount version of this
- Kurzweil 1000PX
- Mackie LM-3204 mixer
- Emagic AMT8 MIDI interface
- Korg DRV-2000 digital reverb
- Crest Audio FA901 power amp
- Two rack-mount power strips
- Custom patch bay with 12 1/2”, 6 MIDI, 4 XLR, 2 1/2” TRS
- Sedna 13 port rack mount USB hub
- Akai ME10D MIDI “digital delay” (echoes MIDI data, optionally transposing it up/down one octave)
- Yamaha MV802 mixer, which used to be in the Think Tank. I now use it live, so it’s in a two-space rack gig bag.
- Things with strings:
- Fender Stratocaster
- Yamaha FG830 Acoustic Guitar
- Ibanez SR505 5-string bass
- Chapman Stick, 12-string Grand Stick with 5 bass, 7 treble strings; classic tuning
- Moog Etherwave Theremin
- Akai MPD32 USB/MIDI pad controller
- Behringer U-PHORIA UMC404HD audio interface
- M-Audio MIDISPORT 4x4 Anniversary Edition 4-in/4-out USB MIDI Interface
- Apple MacBook Pro laptop
- A pair of M-Audio AV 40 monitors
- JBL EON 515XT powered speaker
- OAP T-122B wedge (70 lbs, a pain to carry around)
- Secondhand home-made (by someone else) 12” + horn
- Guitar/Bass Amps:
- Line 6 LowDown LD400 Pro (2x10”)
- Fender Frontman 15R practice amp that I found at the town dump in full working condition
- On-Stage KS7365EJ Pro Heavy-Duty Folding-Z Keyboard stand
- Various Ultimate keyboard stands
- An Ultimate speaker stand
- Three empty six-space racks from the olden days of live performance
- Also hanging around
- Yamaha U3 upright piano (in a different room)
Here’s what I use when I play live with Ellis Island. Everything here is from the above equipment list.
- On-Stage stand
- MV802 mixer
- JBL powered speaker
- Ibanez bass (only for the few gigs where I’ve had to sub for the bass player)
REAPER Digital Audio Workstation.
KeyMaster, real-time MIDI performance software that I wrote. The first incarnation was also called KeyMaster. I used that version live from 1986–1993. It was first written for the Commodore 64, later ported to the Atari ST. I half-heartedly started a Macintosh version. The next was the BeOS version. For later instantiations see the cross-platform PatchMaster and keymaster_objc, a Mac OS X-only simpler version.
ASM’s Hydrasynth Patch Manager and Firmware Updater (download page)
MidiPipe MIDI munger.
Kronut, a set list slot text editor for the Kronos. It’s software I wrote that lets me use my editor (Emacs) to edit set lists.
Korg KRONOS Editor (link is to the KRONOS support/downloads page). I’ve had troubles using this editor; the design it uses for edit space / memory is extremely confusing and I’ve more often erased / ruined set lists than successfully edited them.
Apple’s MainStage 3 is useful when I play with friends. We rent a rehearsal room once a week or so, and though the keyboards are the same in the different rooms we rent it is nice to have the same sounds, splits, transposes, etc. with me on my laptop.
LilyPond for music notation typesetting.
Sonic Pi, a code-based music creation and performance tool.
Just for fun, here’s a list of my old gear. I started playing in bands in the late ‘70’s, but here’s what I remember:
- Alesis D4 drum synth
- Alesis HR-16 drum machine
- Alesis SR18 drum machine
- Commodore SX-64 running first Moog’s Song Producer software, then my KeyMaster software
- Conn trumpet
- Ensoniq Mirage rack-mount software (load sounds from 3.5" floppies!)
- Farfisa organ
- Fender Rhodes
- Hohner International “electronic piano” (I think it was the International) from the late 1960’s — my first keyboard after my parents’ piano
- Korg CX3 organ
- Kurzweil Midiboard “Limited Edition”
- Moog Memorymoog
- Moog Song Producer
- Moog Source
- Opcode Studio 5 MIDI interface
- Roland AXIS-1 strap-on MIDI keyboard
- Roland Juno 106
- Roland MKS-80 SuperJupiter
- Studiologic Sledge 2.0
- Yamaha CP 70 electric grand (it was the singer’s, but I got to use it)
- Yamaha CS-5 mono analog synth
- Yamaha DX7
- Yamaha RX5 drum machine
- Yamaha TX81Z (Two of ‘em. You could set the text to display when they
powered up. I had the two of mine say
Welcome to the/
Here are the bands and orchestras I’ve played in over the years, in reverse chronological order. Believe me, you’ve never heard of any of them.
- Ellis Island (keyboards, occasional bass)
- Miles… (keyboards)
- Uncommon Ground (keyboards)
- Optional Stop (keyboards)
- Boys With Toys (keyboards)
- Shy264 (keyboards)
- Perfect Stranger (keyboards)
- Artisan (keyboards)
- Sinequanon (keyboards)
- Guys and Dolls (conductor and music director, college)
- Camelot (conductor and music director, high school)
- King Lizard Revival Jass Band (trumpet, high school) (“Jass” is an early spelling of “Jazz”)
- Once Again (electric piano, trumpet, high school)
- Just Once (electric piano, trumpet, high school)
- All-State band, orchestra, jazz band in high school; One year, both orchestra (contrabass) and jazz band (electric piano)
- RI Youth Orchestra (contrabass, junior high, high school)
- Central Jr. High and East Providence High School concert and marching bands (trumpet)
- Starfire (electronic piano, junior high)