DANNY GUERRERO (composer and arranger)
The study of Spud Murphy’s System of Horizontal Composition based on Equal Intervals (EIS) has changed my musical life. I have been a professional musician since the age of 15 and have a Masters Degree in composition from the University of Denver. I studied with Darius Milhaud, Norman Lockwood, David Raksin and Earle Hagen, and conducted for Charo, Jim Nabors, John Gary, Kay Starr, and Mitzi Gaynor among others. I have had arrangements played on the Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, and Dean Martin shows. After many, many years of professional work, I was surprised to learn about EIS, which moves beyond traditional theory and provides fresh and innovative ways to think about music. I had the great pleasure of studying with Spud Murphy himself; Spud’s ideas shone like a brilliant spotlight on music of all kinds: classical, jazz, and pop. Far from posing a threat to traditional theory, Spud’s concepts expand and illuminate centuries-old musical doctrines. Whether composing or working as a pianist, I am constantly delighted at the surprising paths and detours that develop based on my EIS training. For the past several years, I have been studying with Michael Mitacek, who teaches EIS with great skill and imagination. I would encourage every serious musician to consider taking an EIS course, as it will change your thinking about music forever.
CRAIG SHARMAT (jazz musician, composer and arranger)
After years of music studies, and road work with some popular R&B and jazz artists, I needed to go further in my understanding of music. Tim Torrance suggested Spud Murphy and EIS, and it is one of the best decisions I have made from a musical standpoint. EIS is probably the only system that seamlessly incorporates jazz, classical and scoring into one succinct course. It lays out advanced harmony in a way that is logical and musical. I feel very fortunate to have taken the course. I feel positive in saying that my scoring chops and arranging ability have been, and continue to be enhanced in ways that would not have been possible through any other system.
JOE SETTLEMIRES (jazz guitarist)
When I first heard of Lyle Murphy’s Equal Interval System, I started on my quest to find someone to teach it to me. It took two years to find David Blumberg, but the wait was worth it. With the knowledge and background David has with EIS, he has increased my ability to hear, arrange and to improvise all kinds of music. My only regret is that I didn’t know about EIS and David Blumberg years ago. EIS has opened up a whole new world to me and has inspired me to continue with my writing, arranging and playing.
DELL HAKE (composer, orchestrator and arranger)
Studying the EIS System is an adventure in musical possibilities. All of the material is based on the overtone series. You may be asking yourself, “What’s new about that? All composers base their writing on the overtone series.” The EIS System teaches the overtone system by organizing materials and writing them in a consistent and concise manner: as a result, your composition has a very clear and transparent quality about it. This is extremely valuable in the recording studio, where budget is a primary consideration for musicians and studio time. Also, when writing for live bands, orchestras and chamber groups, you will find a quality of richness prevails in the sound because of your attention to the economy of notes.
The EIS system is not a “hunt and peck” system. When approaching a deadline you don’t want to rely on your fingers to fall on that perfect motif, which can be very elusive at times. Instead, the EIS System teaches you how to write with patterns based on techniques of interval relation.
Spud is a music composition detective. He has discovered new ways to create core ideas that enable students to develop their own music composition language.
The EIS System has provided me with an understanding of composition I could not have learned anywhere else. The concept of “work” only enters into things when encountering unrealistic deadlines in the music business! At that point, I am very thankful for Lyle “Spud” Murphy and his Equal Interval System.
MARY EKLER (composer, arranger, performer, vocalist)
When I began studies with Spud I was already writing songs and had a solid background in classical and pop piano playing. My jazz playing was somewhat developed as well. I also had a bit of compositional training at the University of Colorado. Spud’s method gave me the tools to express myself in ways I never could before. I would try to write something “hip” or “out,” but it was always rooted in chords and melody. EIS studies gave me complete musical freedom. Suddenly my musical ideas sounded so much more sophisticated, unusual, unpredictable and intricate. I could now hear how so many composers were limited by chords and melodies. If you are a writer of words, you are limited if your vocabulary is weak and if you only know a few ways of combining those words. EIS gives you a huge musical vocabulary: so huge, in fact, that you may be overwhelmed by endless possibilities.
STEVE BILLMAN (bass player)
I’m currently a Bass player, but I’m also learning to be a composer. This course has helped me to write music I never would have written before. Yes, the course takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but you get twice as much out of it as what you put into it. I’m on Book VI now and already I have learned so much, yet I know I am only scratching the surface! It’s great as a musician to keep yourself growing and learning. I would encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful course.
LARRY G. GOLDMAN (composer and arranger)
As a young man, I studied arranging and composition with several teachers and schools, including Temple University, the Philadelphia Academy of the Performing Arts, and the Berklee Arranging Method with Allan Slutsky. All that was good indeed, as were all the many books I studied by Jimmy Amadie, the Sandole Brothers and some of the Dick Grove books. When I started studying Spud’s EIS method, first at Pasadena City College with Michael Mitacek and then privately with David Blumberg, a whole new world of understanding opened up for me. This new view of how musical entities could be combined, developed and thought about in a multi-directional and multi-tonal approach was a revelation to my musical sensitivities. Indeed, the most wonderful part was the straight-forward approach of its most important components. It’s sheer elegance!
STEVE NAVOYOSKY (composer and arranger)
With all my extensive study and experience, I never thought I would discover a system that would set me free, but this is exactly what has happened with EIS. No other course comes near it. Repeated study brings new meanings and new discoveries. Spud not only set me free, he set me on fire! I heard this recently during my studio orchestra rehearsal with an arrangement I wrote. I used to be a “chords are everything” arranger: now I’m a “scale” man. That one piece of insight alone has set me apart from my former self.
TOM GRIEP (composer and teacher)
Spud’s course is the best! I wish I had studied with him before I went to college: I learned more useful things from his course in just a few months than during the many years I spent in undergraduate and graduate school. As the co-director of the Film Scoring Program at USC for several years, I saw a lot of young composers who could have benefited from a little of the imagination that Spud’s course automatically injects into each of his student’s composing skills. Because Spud was so meticulous in the way he created and taught this course, and the way everything is written down, I think it is possible for anyone to study it without having met him.
STEVE MARSTON (composer)
After studying composition at the Berklee College of Music, I felt as if I knew quite a bit about musical composition. There was one aspect of my studies, however, that bothered me: in most academic circles, musical composition is carved up into a number of different competing theories and practices. When I met Spud, I was absolutely amazed at his ability to unify all these various “techniques” into a single unified system. Whether you are dealing with a figured bass, tonal or chromatic harmony, tone rows or free horizontal composition, you stay in the same incredible system: The Equal Interval System. When I started the course, it took me a little while to understand and acclimate to Spud’s approach, but soon after it became the most exhilarating of musical studies. In my career as a TV and film composer you are often required to move from one emotional feeling to its polar opposite in a single bar of music. Having the incredible power and vocabulary of the Equal Interval System makes such moves not only fun, but maintains a certain consistency to the music. I could not recommend EIS more highly: it is simply the best thing out there.
TOM ZINK (arranger, orchestrator and jazz pianist)
I first came to Spud with the idea of learning some simple techniques for arranging and orchestrating. Five years later, I found that every aspect of my perception of music had transformed. Of course there were excellent lessons dealing with orchestration and arranging, but I saw radical changes in areas I least expected, including my improvisational skills as a Jazz pianist. While Spud’s course does present many techniques for composing and scoring a project quickly and with unique sounds, this is not a simple “nuts and bolts, how-to” course. Be prepared for a radical change in the way you see and hear music, and realize that with time and dedication your entire concept of music will broaden and deepen in sometimes unexpected ways.