HomeHome MusicBiographyPhysics
TricycleSpirituality PicturesLinks


Duration: 19 minutes   

(1979--Sept. 9, 2010; March 19--April 19, 2012, Feb. 2016; March 2024)

Commissioned inscientibus, ex post facto, sub rosa by Stephen Reynolds and Susan Osborne, July 2020

   Standing on head at NTSU, 1975      
        This is a collection of four vocal works; they are much expanded from original chamber versions during the summer of 2010 and spring of 2012, edited in 2016 and 2024. There are two versions; one for baritone, SATBariB chorus, and orchestra, and the other for baritone, SATB chorus, and piano quintet.

          In 2004, as I was about to graduate with a BS in physics from NCSU, I wrote an odd little poem called I'm a Physicist and That's Just Fine. Not long after, I set it for baritone and piano. The arrangement here is much longer and more complex than the original song.                   

            I attended a macrobiotic meeting in Boston in 1979 where there was to be an entertainment at the end given by attendees. I quickly wrote Little Miss Nonfat as a composition that anyone who could read music could perform; it was for spoken chorus in four parts. However, my search for performers was in vain. This orchestral version is far longer and more involved than the very simple original, which was under two minutes long.

         Until February 2015, Strange Songs included Der Jammerwock, a setting of Robert Scott's 1872 translation of Jabberwocky into imaginary German. This is now withdrawn; perhaps someday I will try again.        

            Math Class: or, Does the Zero Have Buddha-Nature? started off in 1982 as a companion spoken chorus piece to Little Miss Nonfat, also in four parts, written after a year as a physics and math major at North Texas State University. It also is much expanded in this version for chorus and orchestra. I added this to the first edition (which had the other four songs) in 2012.

          In the summer of 2003, I was doing physics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and decided to write a satirical song about the decades of rejection I had suffered from musicians. Thus, I dedicated it to the many musicians who gave me so much material from 1984 through 2005 by turning down my music because it was too easy, too hard, too long, too brief, too classical, too popular, too modern, too old-fashioned, too secular, too religious, too fast, too slow, too serious, too humorous, they’re busy playing something else, or in short, because I wouldn’t give them money. Thankfully, since 2006 things are much better and I have found some wonderful performers.

    Strange Songs as completed in 2012 is for either full orchestra or two pianos (the vocal score is performable), baritone and STABBariB chorus. Neither was performed by 2024. I made this version for piano quintet, baritone, and SATB chorus (one singer on a part) in preparation for a concert in January 2025 marking my 70th birthday, and finally bring this music to the stage and have a recording.


           DeMar Neal, baritone, with Kent Lyman on the piano, performed the original song version of I'm a Physicist and That's Just Fine at Carswell Auditorium, Meredith College, Raleigh NC, on February 24, 2013. This song is much expanded in the Strange Songs verson, with the addition of orchestra and chorus and more material. The recordings, and links to the video on YouTube, are below. Music marked with an asterisk has not yet been performed.

 Orchestral Version 

* STRANGE SONGS for Baritone, SATBariB Chorus, and Orchestra

Cover (Orchestral)

PDF Complete Orchestral Score (includes Title Page and Lyrics)

PDF Vocal Score (Voices and two pianos)

PDF Orchestral Parts

Orchestral parts are letter size, f&b

Chamber Version

* STRANGE SONGS for Baritone, SATB Chorus, and Piano Quintet

Cover (Chamber)

PDF Chamber Score (includes Title Page and Lyrics)

Chamber string parts are in two forms; paper parts are letter size, f&b, while for electronic music readers, all four string parts are together and include reduced versions of the other parts.

PDF Chamber Parts (paper, letter size)

PDF Chamber Parts (Electronic music readers)


I'm a Physicist and That's Just Fine

  With Calculated Abandon    [6:10]

II. Little Miss Nonfat

  Allegro macroneurotica        [5']    

III.  Math Class: or, Does the Zero Have Buddha-NatureTM?   
  Allegro diploma         [5']

IV.  What I Hear After Submitting A Score

  Vivace flagrante delicto [3'] 


Original Versions

I'm a Physicist and That's Just Fine

original version (2004) for Bass-Baritone and Piano 

(see Lyrics on "Physics" page)

   With Calculated Abandon 

    PDF Score               

video (YouTube)    MP3   WAV (CD quality)   [3:41]
premiere performance, Feb. 24, 2013 by DeMar Neal, baritone, and Kent Lyman, piano


Two works for spoken chorus in four parts:


Little Miss Nonfat    [1:20]      (1979)

   Allegro macroneurotica    MP3   WAV   (from 1982)


Math Class: or, Does the Zero

Have Buddha-Nature™?       (1982)

   Allegro diploma       MP3    WAV  (from 1982)


Full Score, PDF (both pieces) with notes




(Franco Corelli as Canio in Pagliacci)