Tuesday 21 November 2017


I've recorded a new piece! It's a short sad cello solo called 'Lament'.

The composition itself isn't really new: I wrote it way back in 2001. However, I never managed to record it to my own satisfaction and thus never published it online. After all these years I've now finally managed to make a recording that I'm happy with. It's not perfect of course, but I finally dare publish it and share the sheet music.

In case anyone wants to give it a try, here's the sheet music:

I found another recording I made of this one from 2010. I wasn't happy with it back then and indeed, listening to it now makes me realise that I did get quite a bit better at recording my cello since then. Part of that is in technique, like having a better microphone, using a clicktrack and stitching together recordings to combine the best parts from several recordings. But I can also hear that I have more control of my cello now: especially my vibrato get better and there's less unwanted noises in my recordings now. I've been playing cello since I was a kid back in 1992 and it's really nice to hear that I'm still getting better at it by practising a lot in my spare time.

Sunday 12 November 2017

The Master Waits

I've composed and recorded a new song! :) It's called The Master Waits and it's a duet for either two cellos, or viola and cello. Here's a recording:

I'd be honoured if anyone else were to play this (not that I expect many cellists read this blog ;) ), so here's the sheet music:

This composition came about when I was improvising a bit and discovered that you get a pretty cool sound if you pluck the open C string at every beat and then add various chords on top of that. I had so much fun with that that I decided to write a composition around this idea. :)

Initially I thought this one was pretty easy to play, but it turned out to be really hard to get the pitch exactly right for all of those chords. Keep in mind that unlike a guitar, a cello doesn't have frets, so if you're finger is only 1mm off, it already sounds bad. There's quite a lot of dissonance here (on 0:19 the plucking part even plays G and g# together) which is always difficult to play. On top of that comes that when plucking you can't listen and adjust the pitch as you go: it needs to be right immediately. Luckily I made different mistakes each time I recorded this piece, so with 4 recordings for each part I got every note right at least once. A somewhat sad score, but after stitching those recordings together it sounds great so it really doesn't matter.

I had a lot of fun composing and playing this one, so I hope others will have fun listening to it. Enjoy! :)

Sunday 5 November 2017

The Light Deep Down

I've made a new song! It's an instrumental track that features a lot of cello, in combination with vocals and digital instruments.

There's more cello here than you might realise: the eerie scratching sound at the beginning and ending is also cello! :) Normally as a cellist you wouldn't want to make a sound like that, but here it adds to the atmosphere nicely. This sound is achieved by slowly playing on the open G or C string, too close to the bridge while applying too little pressure.

The cello solo at 1:57 has distortion applied to it, making it sound a bit closer to an electric guitar than a cello normally would.

I've made sheet music for the cello part, and a recording of the song without the cello so that it can be played along to. The result is quite different from any other cello music I know and I find it quite fun to play along to. Here it is, in case anyone wants to give it a try:

The vocals towards the end were sung by Joyce Scheeren and the faster bass in the second half was played by Thomas van Dijk.

I've been writing music for years but have always been struggling with actually finishing anything, so I'm really glad that I've managed to finish and share two new songs in just two weeks. I've got a bunch more almost finished, so I hope I can keep up the pace.