Sci-Fi Song #4: The Return of Titus Quinn

This week's song was inspired by the protagonist from Kay Kenyon's excellent Bright of the Sky. The Return of Titus Quinn is a solo acoustic guitar piece played in the DADGAD alternate tuning.

In the novel, Titus Quinn takes on the identity of Dai Shen, a Chalin man. The Chalin are a race of people that bear a strong cultural resemblance to earth's Asian population. I tried to interpret this by taking my initial "Titus" theme of the A section and transposing it into the Chinese pentatonic scale of the B section.

This piece is a bit of a departure for me. Many of my formative influences (Steve Morse, Alex Lifeson, Steve Howe, Leo Kottke, John Fahey, and Michael Hedges) have recorded numerous solo acoustic guitar pieces. As much as I love this style, I've never given a serious attempt to compose and record one of my own. I had great fun putting this together, and I hope you like it.

Has a novel ever inspired you to write a piece of music? Has a song ever inspired you to compose a novel, short story, or piece of visual art?


More info on Bright of the Sky
  1. Kay Kenyon's website
  2. Pat's Fantasy Hot List
  3. Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
  4. Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin' Book Reviews


  1. John,

    I just want to tell you how much your composition means to me. I found your site this morning and was so utterly surprised that you had written a piece of music for my book. And such a nuanced and beautiful piece... really, I am quite moved. Well done!

    I have blogged you on the Pyr page at and on

  2. John, this is just lovely. I think you captured that slightly Chinese flavor without making the music too inaccessible. Your playing is clear and sweet, and I enjoyed this so much. Bravo!

    Louise Marley

  3. Kay,
    I loved Bright of the Sky and I'm really thrilled to hear that you enjoyed my composition. Thank you for the kind words. To hear them from a writer of your skill is just mind-blowing.

    Also, Thank you for the mention on your blog.

  4. Louise,
    Thank you for the compliments. I was trying to impart a subtle Asian flavor to the B section of the piece. I'm glad to hear that you noticed it.

    I took a look at your website. I'm going to have to check out the Glass Harmonica. It seems like it is right up my alley.

    Thanks again

  5. Thank you, John. I just listened to the piece again. I'm utterly enchanted!

    May I run this on my website? If you want to discuss, you can email me at Of course I would cross link to you.

  6. Hi Kay,
    I'd be honored if you ran my piece on your website. Please go right ahead.

  7. Hi,
    The Return of Titus Quinn is really a amazing song.. I like it.. Thanks for sharing this awesome song..

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