Jay C. Batzner is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida where he teaches theory, composition, and technology courses as well as coordinates the composition program. He holds degrees in composition and/or theory from the University of Missouri Kansas City, the University of Louisville, and the University of Kansas.

Jay's music is primarily focused around instrumental chamber works as well as electroacoustic composition. His music has been recorded on the Capstone, Vox Novus, and Beauport Classical labels and is published by Unsafe Bull Music.

Jay is a sci-fi geek, an amateur banjoist, a home brewer, and juggler.

Learning from my mistakes

I find old plans and harmonies scattered among scraps of staff paper. It seems that, after failing to produce music with these plans and ideas, if I let them sit and steep for about 3-5 years, I can make something good from them. The other day, I was playing this chord and really liked it:

A nice, proper, 12-note chord made of tetrachords, something to make the theory folks happy. But, then I realized that I was playing the chord wrong. I was really playing this:

So I was hitting D and F-sharp in the middle of the chord instead of B and D-sharp. To my ears, though, it made a huge difference. The first chord, the "right one," was not without its charm. There was something unmistakably better about the "wrong chord." The asymmetrical nature of the chord, the slight variance in an otherwise dull pattern, made the chord substantially more vibrant to my ears.

I took out some of the redundant notes and got this:

Essentially, F-sharp minor, G minor, F minor, with an E left over.

This proves that I am learning from my mistakes. They are often better than my intentions. Now we'll see if I can make something worthwhile out of this or if it needs to sit and soak for another 3 years.