Seeing the article in the paper on Sunday was an interesting experience. For one thing, there was the surprise; I had expected the Times-Herald to publish it earlier in the week, and when they didn’t I assumed they had just tossed it. So it was a pleasant surprise to see it on Sunday morning.
It was more than pleasant. It was gratifying. The unambiguous headline: “William Blake’s Inn Moves into Production.” The outright definition of Lacuna as a local theatre cooperative. The ridiculously oversized photo of me and the flowers, with the sly caption about William Blake having sent the flowers from Poughkeepsie.
And more than all this, I realized, the shock accorded by the leap of faith it took for me to call myself “composer Dale Lyles.”
I am sure there are those who read the article and who snorted at the designation. I don’t think I’d be surprised at a list of those names, either. But over the past year or so, I have come to a new understanding of myself in that regard, and I am more than comfortable calling myself a composer.
Am I a trained musician? Nope, other than paying attention under various choral directors. Do I know one chord inversion from another? Maybe. If it’s a triad. In the home key. Could I write a susp. aug. 9th chord? Not if my life depended on it. (I’m not really even sure whether “susp. aug. 9th chord” is a real thing.)
But am I a composer? Yes, I am. I write music. I write lovely, effective music, and I’m getting better at it all the time. The last two pieces I’ve written, Blake Leads a Walk on the Milky Way, and the Epilogue, are very nice indeed. Those who might snort at my calling myself a composer have not heard this work.
That sounds a little defensive, and I don’t mean it to be. My point is that I think I’ve reached a new plateau in my creative efforts and can ditch some of my insecurities. I can make music do what I want it to, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s what a composer does.