Finale Spotlight on Composer, Musician, and Educator Richard D. Hall

Richard Hall performing at Texas State University, January, 2010

Richard Hall is an active composer, musician, and educator in central Texas. A senior lecturer of music at Texas State University-San Marcos, he enjoys performing live laptop “art” music in concert settings.

I met Richard this past September at the College Music Society conference in Minneapolis. I was fascinated by his scores which include a wide variety of symbols. I assumed that Richard designed some of these symbols in a graphics program and then imported them into Finale, but he confirmed that no external program was used. Here are a few examples of his work:

Excerpt (page 7) from La Estrella y la Esponja by Richard D. Hall

Excerpt (page 3) from Duet by Richard D. Hall

(You can also view PDF files from here.)

Intrigued by his process, I asked if he might be willing to discuss it with us on our blog and he graciously agreed.

“I have been using Finale for more than 20 years. For the last ten years, I have been strongly interested in new, experimental music, especially live “laptop” music. I decided to try and notate some pieces (particularly for my electronic music students, since we were starting to develop performance techniques). I borrowed some modern notational elements from John Cage, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki, and György Ligeti (just to name a few). These pieces of mine were written by hand, but I starting thinking, “Can this be done in Finale?”

At the time, there was not of information on modern, spatial notation in Finale. So I started from scratch, hit lots of roadblocks, figured out the tricks, and began developing my own techniques, templates, and libraries.

All of the characters, shapes, graphic elements, and notational aspects of my scores are all produced in Finale. I have recently begun incorporating live, visual elements (video projections performed by a musician) in my music and am now in the process of developing a system of notating those elements.”

Richard’s mention of Luciano Berio, as well as Richard’s scores, make me think of my time with Berio copyist Henry Brown, which I mentioned briefly here. Finale has certainly come a long way since Henry began his job using Finale 1.0!

I’d like to again thank Richard for sharing his music with us, and would like to encourage you to enjoy a video performance of Richard’s piece, La Estrella y La Esponja, on YouTube. You can also view more of his scores and learn more at Richard’s website and MySpace page.

Let us know how we’re doing – or what you’re creating with Finale – by clicking on “Comments” below.

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