by Nate Beier

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{from the original liner notes}

NATE BEIER – all music written and performed by Nate Beier

Side One
1.Sweeters (4:06)
2.Echoes (0:52)
3.Mom and Me (3:47)
4.H.D. (4:01)
5.Kathy-Kathleen (2:52)
6.Kris and Judy (5:13)
7.Sweeters (4:06)

Side Two
8.Jenna (3:18)
9.Red and Violet (2:42)
10.Anne (5:13)
11.Note to Kris (1:47)
12.Climb the Steps (2:19)
13.Violet and Red (3:21)

Let me talk about some of these pieces. They share a story, a journey of integration and self-realization. I feel the journey as an integrating of female and male energies, though there is definitely another energy there, an 'other' energy that is present with both the female and the male.

I translate names into a musical language. I call these compositions “namesongs.” To describe my guidelines for developing namesongs, generally I give one beat per letter, but not always. The first letter of the name often determines the key, or tonality—but again, not always. In addition to translating names into musical language, I explore other areas of translation and compositional forms. “Violet and Red” got its title from the idea of relating the 12 colors of the rainbow to the 12 notes on the piano. Each note has a color that shares the shape of its wavelength. Red is a note; violet is a note. Also, the distances from red to violet and from red to the mixture of violet and red are shapes – the minor and major 7 intervals. These intervals are the structure of the two color pieces.

After the name's musical notes are created, a number of compositional tools may be applied to it: inversion, retrograde, augmentation, diminution, Magic Box (Babbitt Square), and harmony. In addition to harmony, this album mostly uses inversion. I enjoy how the inversion of one's name often takes the piece to a different tonality. To use the example of “Jenna”, the namesong moves from the A minor/C major tonality to that of F-sharp Major (a distance or float of 180 degrees on the Circle of 5ths).

"H.D." is for the poet. I had a feeling that I should write H.D. a namesong before I'd actually read her poetry. I'm glad I did so, trusted my instincts. I'd heard of H.D. having visions, so why not trust my intuition? Her notes are B and D ('H' is German for the musical note B). B and D imply many scales, and I mapped out a variety of possibilities. I already had the heartbeat of the piece – in triple time, the notes saying H.D. over and over. When I got to the piano however, something else wanted to come out. The heartbeat was still there, but the harmonic trajectory was totally different except that the piece would still explore a bit of H.D.'s inversion, which is built on the notes B and G-sharp. So there was this heartbeat and this sense of wonder, going off into the world and exploring. Essentially her name spells the interval on a minor third, so this section of looking for her is all in minor thirds, and even though the notes are varied, they are unified by that interval. I had the idea of a little girl calling H.D.'s name---those are the high notes. Then the search changes directions, using the inversion of the minor third; the major sixth. And then it comes to the D and the B, and back to B and D and an echo of the beginning section.

“Kathy-Kathleen” – the namesong for my Mom – initially had four parts. The first uses chords to spell "Kathy.” The second and third parts use single notes to spell "Kathleen” and then the inversion of "Kathleen. “ The fourth part uses chords again for the inversion of "Kathy". 
After playing the piece a few times I felt something wanting to happen. The ending wanted to go into the beginning of the first song I ever wrote. A coda was added.

“Mom and Me” brings together our names. The first part joins “Kathy” in E major with “Nate” in F major. The names are played together, then alone, then together again. The second part brings together “Kathleen” and “Nathan.” Here the names have been transposed to C major. This new tonality is further explored in the last part of the piece, which anticipates “Violet and Red.” C has a relationship to both E and F. C is the dominant of both F and E because B as a Dominant note was not preferred for E, so C was used (this all happened several hundred years ago for a variety of technical and cultural reasons) nevertheless, I feel the waves—the float.

“Violet and Red” understands violet as the note E. I feel E as the Mama note, the Mama key. In solfege E is 'Mi', the “em” sound so natural for words meaning Mom. So then, “Violet” is a color for Mom. And thinking of red and violet together as a mixture making the note F – the key of my name. Obviously her spirit has been with me all along.

Nate Beier February 2011


released April 29, 2011

Special Thanks to Angela Moran and Teresa Esguerra

Recorded and Mastered by Dana Gumbiner

Jacket Design by Sean Cofield

Vinyl and Jacket reproduction by Pirates Press

Music, Performance, and Cover Photo by Nate Beier

This album is dedicated to my father, Edward N. Beier



all rights reserved


Nate Beier Sacramento, California

Nate Beier, MFA, works the drums, piano, guitar and bass and even his voice to create music that invites the listener to be in their space, opening up the generative qualities of connection, mending, healing and joy. Dive in and be in the space of this music. ... more

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