Words & Music
I am a musician and a writer, a creator and a thinker, a person who seeks new connections between ideas and artistic elements—and to share those discoveries with others. Those aspirations are well summed up in the title of this web page: "Words & Music."

I have been a musician—viz., a trombonist—for over 50 years now. I began playing trombone in the 3rd grade in the fall of 1956, when I was 8 years old. Two years later, I began an 8-year course of music studies with Rex Peer, who taught me a lot about style, technique, and jazz improvisation, and a fair amount about writing music, as well. While attending Iowa State University from 1966 to 1969, I had the good fortune to study music theory and composition with Dr. Gary White, who also encouraged my initial interest in the philosophy and psychology of music. These two gentlemen, more than anyone else in my life, helped to shape my attitudes toward music and develop my talents in music, so I gratefully and lovingly dedicate this web page to them.

In addition to a number of essays on various aspects of music, I am including here a number of pieces about several other important factors in my life: mathematics, genealogy, and Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. The latter, in turn, had a profound effect on my interest and activity in the areas of psychology, politics, and aesthetics—and, of course, music—so I gratefully also dedicate this web page to Rand and two of her best students, Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden.

I hope that these essays will help give a more rounded picture of who I am, not just in terms of my official chosen career, but also in terms of some of the many projects and past-times that attracted and distracted me over the years.

Cheers, and happy reading! 

Roger E. Bissell, musician-writer

Note to the reader: these essays are currently (until October 31) posted on America Online. I will attempt to transfer them to this website (rogerbissell.com) prior to their being dumped by AOL. If I am not able to move all of these essays prior to the AOL meltdown, please bear with me. REB

Speaking out

This photo is a screen shot from the DVD recording of a question-answer session at a recent Ayn Rand Institute lecture in Costa Mesa, Calif.