Joyce with Wurlitzer Harp Compositions


In 1980, I opened my own studio and eventually taught over 100 students. Those experiences were the impetus for my first book of compositions, titled "Valley Tunes" after the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts where my family and I lived for sixteen years.

Many of those tunes are like études, emphasizing a particular skill such as changing meters, the tango rhythm, or lever slides. Others examine thematic ideas or technical elements, such as using the interval of a second, or working with certain lever combinations. Gee, I was glad finally to put to good use all those theory classes I took while pursuing my B.A. in music!

After that, I wrote other sheet music solos and published other collections. I've made arrangements for various kinds of ensembles. I also assembled a text called "Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp" which has been helpful to lots of people.


I heard the first recording of PDQ Bach, aka Peter Schikele, in 1965, and fell on the floor laughing. He is one of the latest in a long line (ever heard Spike Jones or Anna Russell, not to forget Victor Borge?) of deliciously creative folks who teach us that music can be an awful lot of fun. I had a lot of fun writing my music and I wanted to make it fun for players. For example, here are some of the titles: "Please, Baby, Sleep", "The Dust Rag", "A Car-gone Conclusion", "Bizarre Bizet", "By Yon Yangtze", and "Furry Elise" (found in Valley Tunes, Petty Larcenies, and So, How Was Your Day?)

I love the music of big bands and marching bands, barbershop quartets, George Shearing, musical theater from Broadway to Gilbert and Sullivan, John Rutter to Stravinsky, and many other early and late 20th-century colleagues. I also love gospel piano, medieval and Renaissance music. Several years of piano lessons certainly added to the mix, as well as my high school experience playing the glockenspiel! Maybe you can sense some of these influences in my music.

Finally, I was certainly influenced by classical music and by my theory studies. In everything I've published I've tried to follow rules of good composition, which makes for better music as far as I'm concerned. My advertising slogan was: "Intelligent music with a touch of whimsy."

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