Singing and playing cello: Santa Lucia

19 Feb

This is an old recording for cello and voice but I was thinking back to it.  I plan to arrange and learn a couple more songs for cello and singing, as it’s incredibly difficult and also incredibly good practice / very rewarding.  The arranging for cello is also a neat process, because the arrangement can go from very simple to very complex.  In fact, learning to play and sing requires building up the arrangement from the simple to the complex in a very deliberate manner.  More on that process later!


Cello music for meditation?

1 Feb

Here’s a hypnotic and meditative video I made for Chromawheel Music, with cello trio.   Check the youtube video description for what’s going on musically.  We do this as a warmup in high school string orchestra, and here’s sheet music for that arrangement:

Oh Shenandoah Arrangement

30 Jan

I made an arrangement for my middle school string orchestra of one of my favorite folk songs of all time, Oh Shenandoah.  It’s from around the time of the American Civil War, and the lyrics are beautiful.  I recorded a demo of the recording for cello quartet in case the students wanted to hear it.  The photo is from Lake Onalaska, about 5 hours north of Chicago in Wisconsin.

Download the sheet music here.

Cello Cover of Punjabi bhangra tune Mitran De Boot

1 Jan

Happy New Year!  I did a bunch of transcriptions of bhangra songs with the help of Music Compass, figuring out the instrumentation, and scale/mode used.  I’ll write more on this process later!  I arranged this tune by jazzyb and kaurb for cello:



Great Performance

2 Oct

What a great performance from Portishead. Live strings on stage.

The science behind the f-hole

22 Apr

Brendan “Paddy” Finucane: “Sweeps Over France” — Royal Air Force

2 Feb

I dug up some neat historical records on pertaining to my namesake, Brendan “Paddy” Finucane, and have posted them below.  I found his own writing published in the Air Forces News Letter, Vol 25 no. 4 of June 1942, which, according to, “was the monthly official service journal of the U.S. Army Air Forces, published by the U.S. Army Air Forces, Air Force Editorial Office.”

Again from

Articles in the journal chronicle the rapid change in structure of the Air Corps during the first few months of World War II.
Regular content in the journal included instruction from Air Force personnel conveying first hand knowledge gained in combat…
The issues contained messages from top commanders, lifesaving tips, and practical information on aircraft maintenance, gunnery, navigation, and engaging the enemy.

According to Wikipedia, Wing Commander Brendan Finucane was a Second World War Royal Air Force fighter pilot and flying ace, and was the youngest person ever given command of a fighter wing in the history of aerial combat.

Striking to me is the way in which the allied forces shared resources internationally — then Flight Lieutenant Finucane led a famous *Australian* fighter squadron, despite flying for the Royal Air Force.  His rival for top spot among flying aces was a *South African* pilot.  His combat insights were published in the journal of the *US* Army Air Forces.

AirForcesNewsLetter_0202 - Brendan FinucaneAirForcesNewsLetter_0223 -- Brendan Finucane




The Chromawheel Debuts at ILMEA!

30 Jan



Sebastian Lee Teaches Cello

23 Oct

Sebastian Lee (1805-1887) has some idiomatic music for cello that’s ideal for beginners — the best I’ve found.  Maybe he was a cellist himself.  Really great stuff.

In the past I’ve used the Schroeder 170 Foundation Studies collection with students, which contains a lot of material by Lee.  I recently discovered that the solo etudes in the Schroeder are actually extracted from *duets*.  This is amazing because the cello duet is where Lee really shines.  So I’ve shelved the Schroeder in favor of the original Lee collection in which the duet versions appear.

Can’t find the Op. 176, 22 Very Easy Duets on Imslp.  This is a shame.

The 40 Easy Etudes and First Steps In Violoncello Playing are available for free on Imslp though.




I Will Always Love You

22 Oct

As a tribute on the anniversary of her death, I made this video cover of Whitney Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You.