I can't really say that people have been frequently asking me questions about Tortoiseshell Music, so instead I'll arbitrarily pose some questions, and answer them. Got a question I didn't arbitrarily pose? Ask me!
So who is this Nathan Curtis fellow?
I am! I'm a composer and performer of contemporary chamber music. You can find out more here. I seem to have many namesakes on the web; most of them are not me. Most relevantly, the British gospel musician Nathan Curtis is not me. The Nathan Curtis who earned honors in a bunch of high school and college math competitions in the '90s probably is me.
And what is "Tortoiseshell Music"?
It's the business name I chose for my self-publishing efforts. And since my name was already taken, I am also using it as my domain name.
Why "Tortoiseshell Music"?
Because I sometimes go by Tortoise. Once, years ago, I was in a silly contest where everyone competitor was given a nickname. I received the weakly rhyming monker "Nathan 'The Tortoise' Curtis," which at the time was a one-off thing. A few years later, I adopted "Tortoise" as a nickname when teaching math, and this gained traction among both my students and my colleagues. To this day, there are several people who know me primarily (and occasionally exclusively) as Tortoise.
Oh. Any relation to...?
I have no particular connections to any post-rock bands from Chicago or eclectic indie Canadian musicians. I do, however, share a spiritual kinship with both tortoises and tortoiseshells, and I have a soft spot for hippos.
...Right. So what can I find here at Tortoiseshell Music?
Lots of things. You can read about, and occasionally listen to, my compositions. You can watch me run my keyboard off on a range of musical and extra-musical topics over at my blog. If you're particularly interested, you can purchase some of my scores (and eventually recordings) at my store.
I can't purchase recordings?
Not yet. I haven't worked out the appropriate agreements with the musicians who have performed my music in existing recordings. Future recordings will, hopefully, be available for sale.
There's a login prompt on the left side of the page. Is this required?
Anyone can create an account and login at tortoiseshellmusic.com, or you can log in using OpenID. A login is not required for accessing any of the free content on this site. You can even leave comments without logging in, but they will be anonymous comments; you do need to log in to have a name attached to your comments. Additionally, you do need to create an account to purchase anything from the store; this is handled during the checkout process.
Why do I need to create an account to purchase anything? Are you harvesting my email address or something?
Well, the software I use to run the store requires a site account to process orders; I can't get around that. Additionally, any file downloads you purchase through the store (scores as PDF files, recordings in MP3 format) are handled through your user page.
I hate spam, identity theft, and other scourges of the internet as much as anyone else. I will not sell or give personal information about registered users of tortoiseshellmusic.com to any third party, without the express permission of those users. I do not process credit cards or other means of financial transactions on this site, so I will not even have access to your credit card numbers.
If you don't process credit cards on-site, how do you handle purchases?
I use PayPal as a payment gateway for purchases made from this site. You do not need a PayPal account to complete your purchases; they can also process credit cards. You will be taken to the appropriate PayPal website automatically during checkout, and then taken back here when that's done.
I notice that parts of this site are covered by a Creative Commons license. What's up with that?
The short answer is that works covered by that license, including my writings on this website and some of my scores, can be reused for non-commercial purposes, as long as you credit me as the creator of the original work. For the long answer, see my copyright information page.
But what if I want to use your music for commercial purposes?
Contact me. As with any copyrighted works, you can use my compositions for any purpose if you get prior written permission. And even if you're using my work for non-commercial purposes, I'd like to hear about it. I'm interested in finding out where my music is being played, and I'd be happy to promote your performance here on my site.
I really like your music, but I'm looking for something in particular. Do you do commissions?
That sounds really exciting. Contact me to discuss the details. Unfortunately, I may not be able to accept your offer for various reasons, but it would make me very happy nonetheless.
I really like your music, but I don't think I can do a commission. What else would make you happy?