Dear Music Lover,

I’m guessing that you don’t know my music.

It’s definitely not for lack of trying on my part. And if you listen to the sample tracks below, I think you’ll agree that the quality, originality, and appeal of my work are all on the highest level.

I’ve been told that I’ve never adequately defined my target audience…whatever that is. (Do audiences know when they’re being targeted?) Or worse, that I can’t stay with one thing, one style, genre, or idiom.

But who says you can’t, for example, be a high-level songwriter, composer, improviser, and…podcaster? What if all of those things are in fact different facets of one larger artistic vision?

Here, for example, is a one minute song I recorded a few years ago:



Looked out the window
There was sun in the shade
And fun where they played
The light on parade

Looked out the window
Saw kids in the garden
Life based on carbon
As sun slowly darkened

Opened the window
A hot breeze scorched my face
Opened the window
But closed the shade

This track comes from an album called, “One Human Minute,” a collection of 60 one-minute songs that I finished composing three years ago. (To date I’ve recorded about 20 of the songs.) They range in style from alternative pop to acid jazz to pseudo-classical art song.

Why One Minute Songs?

It began as a lark
As a game I guess
To see if I’d win
At solitaire chess

Those are the opening lines for song #59 in this set of 60 one-minute songs, but as I read them now I realize that they are as good a description as any for my reasoning in writing a suite of 60 very short songs. (To be precise, they’re not al all exactly one minute long—some are a bit short some a bit longer.)

The idea really did begin as a lark, sometime in 2009 when Twitter was coming to the fore. I wondered what the musical equivalent of a 140 character tweet might be? So I wrote maybe 10 or 15 songs, abandoned the project, wrote some more, abandoned some more, and so on.

The more I wrote, the more ridiculous the idea—music to tweet by—seemed. The problem was that the initial inspiration, like most initial inspirations, was a half-baked idea at best. But the idea kept gnawing at me: something was telling me I had something there that I needed to explore. Besides, I liked several of the songs.

And then, about 3 years ago, that what the project was missing was a broader dramatic structure.

And here’s another facet, in the form of some solo piano music I composed 25 years ago.

These are the first two Preludes in a set of twelve I composed for solo piano in the early 1990s. They are modeled somewhat after Chopin’s 24 but draw heavily on my jazz/blues roots.

Completely different? Yes, but based on the same fundamental approach to music. Before I explain what that is, here’s a very recent piano improvisation.

This track comes for a recent album called, Breaking Glass: Maximal Reflections on Minimalism. The album itself grew out of a recent episode of my podcast, Improvisations on the Ledge.

And it is in my podcast where I delve into not only how all of these disparate musical tentacles are connected, but why they must be. A composer who can’t write a song, a real melody, is ultimately moving notes around because the composition will have no narrative, no throughline, no story.

Similarly, a songwriter who fails to delve into the more advanced techniques of composition cuts herself off from full expressive capabilities of the musical art—what I call the sound of math moving through time.

As a composer-songwriter-pianist-vocalist, I try to embrace that ethos.

Here’s the podcast episode, “Maximal Minimalism,”  that generated the Breaking Glass album. In it, I talk about my not-very complex relationship with minimalism, Philip Glass in particular. I address the issue that is at the heart of my problem with minimalism (even if there are things I’ve taken from it): the lack of real melody, real song, makes it feel too much like a mathematical game.

I’d like to leave you (for now) with a composition from 20 years ago that brings these ideas together. Or tries to. It’s an ongoing struggle…

This comes from a work I wrote in 1999, “Kabbalah Blues/Quantum Funk.” This piece, called “wonderfully accessible” combines many elements of my compositional and improvisational style. It’s long, but it embraces many facets of my musical vision: songfulness, improvisation, large-scale compositional structure.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my music.


Peter Saltzman