Buoyant: New Background Music Song & Music Video

Here is my new song and new music video. This video is a collaboration with Juliana Payson, who supplied the original video footage of her swimming, dancing underwater, experimenting with synchronized swimming skills and doing other kinds of workout routines. Through her YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/Onnaloves), Juliana has been documenting and sharing recovery methods and fitness training after having hip-replacement surgery.

This instrumental, entitled Buoyant, is the 36th song in my free background music series. It is an upbeat instrumental track that combines elements of EDM (Electronic Dance Music), pop and folk. As with the other songs in the series, this song may be used for free for non-commercial purposes in your videos, presentations or outer multimedia projects; you only need to provide a credit: music by longzijun. You can also use the music for free in monetized YouTube videos (that are otherwise non-commercial in nature). The download links for the music files (MP3 versions and WAV files) are at the bottom of the YouTube video description (either play the embedded video and click on the YouTube icon to open the YouTube video page or click on this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVQBFlHvI_s). You might also like to listen to other songs in the free background music series: Free Background Music Songs 24-35: Preview & Download

You can refer to the detailed terms of use here: longzijun.wordpress.com/music/free-background-music-series-terms-of-use/
 

Credits

Music composition, performance and production and video editing: longzijun
Video footage: Juliana Payson
 

About Juliana

“I’m 39 years old with a hip replacement, and use my play with water for restorative healing. I am a bionic ballerina, sometimes when I have reached my limit of activity the only way to continue spending my energy without further impact irritation is underwater. I’ve since discovered that we all have the potential to train our affinity with water further, though I have not yet taken it to it’s full potential. I’m very comfortable just playing with my freedom of movement and spiritual relaxation underwater.

I am also a synesthete. In my particular case I can “feel” sound. It’s sort of like an aberration of the senses that processes multiple sources of sound information and creates the feeling. I can walk in the dark without bumping into furniture for example, feeling the density of sound emanating from my footsteps. Underwater, the environment takes over these feelings, I can feel the size of the pool, which direction the deep end is, all from the sound feeling. I have a pretty good sense of seeing where I’m going underwater, though my eyesight is not that great.

These skills are not unusual they are untrained in most of us, and many are probably not even aware. But getting more comfortable in the water is definitely one way of coming into contact with these senses if you have them. I have heard as many as 5% of us process our senses a little differently, we are just conformed to thinking within the box. Listen to the music, let go and explore….”

Video Editing

The footage was edited using Adobe Premiere Pro.

As a musician, it is always a struggle to find appropriate video footage for my YouTube music videos . One problem my channel faces is that because a lot of my views come from people looking for free background music for their videos, they will just sample each video for a short time. This creates a rather unimpressive view-length profile. Therefore, I have been looking for ways to make the videos more attractive. I recently collaborated with a dancer, Lee Chan, on a couple of videos, and I think such collaborations may be the best way to take my channel forward.
 

Music Recording

The song was recorded using Sonar Home Studio. Loops were used for many of the rhythm parts (e.g., the drums, main bass line and funk guitar riffs). To create most of the melodies, counter-melodies, arpeggios, other bass lines and harmony parts, I played a Korg M50 synthesizer. Although the structure of the song is simple, there are many different parts and added effects. In the end, I used more than 50 tracks, which really put a strain on my software and hardware!

This is a song I have been working on for a while. It started off as an EDM (Electronic Dance Music piece) but morphed into something else during the recording process. Though my piano compositions fit comfortably within the new-age genre, my electronic works tend to pull in influences from all over the place and are much more difficult to categorize.

The song is built around the idea of contrast. For example, sparse textures are set against very busy parts with multiple melodic lines vying for attention. At one point, there is a melody shared by three synth sounds layered over top of two complex arpeggio patterns and a few lines of whole-note chords and individual notes.

Another kind of contrast is in the rhythm, with the regular quarter note thump of the kick drum and steady eighth-note tick of the hi-hat giving way entirely to more complex beats.

The song was originally around eight minutes long and was structured more like a traditional pop song, with four verses, two choruses and a bridge. During the process, I started stripping away most of the the repeated verses and choruses and ended up with something more like an ABA format.

Working on instrumentals like this, I have a lot more freedom to set aside conventional pop music structures. The final song lacks a feeling of unity and there is no memorable melody, but it is packed full of little sonic surprises and it flows along nicely. Even after repeated listens, you should be able to pick out some parts you hadn’t noticed (However, this means, as background music it is not really suitable for background music for v-logs or other videos with conversations—it will simply be too distracting. For v-logs, I would recommend Chillvolution, Song 23 in my free background music collection).

I hope you enjoyed the song and video.

New Background Music Song: Broken (Ballet & Piano Collaboration)

Our Free Background Music series continues with the 35th song—Broken, a gentle and melancholy piano ballad about the end of a friendship.

Credits

For this video, Lee Chan, a dance and yoga teacher based in Hong Kong, choreographed and performed the ballet. In this dance, Lee emphasizes her en pointe techniques. You can see her dance in a more contemporary style in our video for the song The Hidden Path (youtu.be/U23s1qFcNbU)

Kate Kwok, a Form 6 (Grade 12) student in Hong Kong provided the piano arrangement and played the piano. Coincidentally, she is also a ballet dancer. You can see some of her piano arrangements and covers in these videos:

The composition is by myself (longzijun). I also shot and edited the video and did the audio recording. We recorded the song using a Yamaha Clavinova at our school’s Creative Media Studio (cmestudio.wordpress.com), an education project I set up a few years ago.
 

Music Style

The mood of the piece is rather melancholy. The song is influenced by classical minuets and has the ABA structure and 3/4 time signature associated with that form. However, the arrangement is rather sparse and minimalist in style, giving the song a more contemporary feel.
 

About the Song

This song is about the end of a friendship. Sometimes friendships simply fade away, but sometimes they quickly disintegrate, leaving at least one person one hurt and bewildered. This song is about the second kind of ending and was written after a friendship suddenly fell apart.

I wrote the song for three reasons. First, it was simply a way to distract myself from thinking too much. Second, it allowed me to express the emotions that were building up within me Third, it served as a kind of farewell message and invitation to the former friend. The song was initially titled ‘The Door is Always Open’, meaning that I would always be open to a reconciliation and possibly a renewal of the friendship sometime in the future. I think if two people were once friends, there must have been a reason for it, so they shouldn’t dismiss the idea of ever becoming friends again.

However, if the friendship ended, there must also have been a good reason for that. Therefore, wouldn’t it be better to just let things be and not risk reopening old wounds?

I don’t know the answer.

At first, I had hoped to find a smoother way to link the two different sections, but later on I accepted that perhaps the music didn’t have to feel so unified. After all, when I was originally composing the song a couple of years ago, my different emotions—sadness, regret, bitterness—were all jammed together. That is why I left the song as it was—as a kind of record of my emotions.

I did send the first draft of this song the friend it was about. I am not sure if she ever listened to it.
 

Free Background Music Series

As with the other songs in this series, this solo piano piece is free to use for non-commercial purposes as long as credit is provided (music by longzijun). The song can also be used in monetized videos on YouTube that are otherwise non-commercial in nature (as long as the music is credited). You can refer to the terms of use (longzijun.wordpress.com/music/free-background-music-series-terms-of-use) for more detail.

The download links for the music files (MP3 versions and WAV files) are at the bottom of the YouTube video description (either play the embedded video and click on the YouTube icon to open the YouTube video page or click on this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVQBFlHvI_s). You might also like to listen to other songs in the free background music series: Free Background Music Songs 24-36: Preview & Download.

New Background Music Song & New Cover Version

Here are two new collaborations: an original piano instrumental by Jessica Yip and a cover version of Vance Joy’s Riptide by Daphne Choi. I helped them record the songs and create the videos.

The Mercury Tale by Jessica Yip

We continue our free background music series of Short Themes for Intros and Outros (you can find the download link on that page) with this flowing 53-second piano instrumental by Jessica Yip. She is working on a couple of longer songs, so if you like this one, do come back later to check out her new work. She is a Form 5 (Grade 11) student at SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School in Hong Kong

As with other songs in the series. this piece can be used for free for non-commercial purposes (the music may also be used for free in monetized YouTube videos) as long as the music is credited. You can refer to the Terms of Use for more information.

Credits: The Mercury Tale by Jessica Yip (2015)

Cover of Riptide by Daphne Choi

This is a lyrics video of Daphne Choi’s cover of Riptide by Vance Joy. I really love Dapne’s voice. This is the latest song in our series of 0riginal Songs and Covers by Students. She didn’t want to appear in the video itself, so we produced a lyrics video instead. The purpose of this series is to encourage students to develop their talents in music (Daphne is the first school alumni member to participate in the series).

People don’t usually watch lyrics versions of cover videos, so if you like her interpretation, do offer your support by liking, commenting and/or sharing the video.
Credits: Original composition by James Keogh, aka Vance Joy (2013); Vocals, piano and arrangement by Daphne Choi (2015)

New Background Music Song: Piano Version of ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’

We continue our Free Background Music series with Kate Kwok performing her own arrangement of I Vow to Thee My Country.

The music originally come froms from the Jupiter movement of Gustav Holsts’s orchestral suite The Planets. Mahler adapted his own music, creating this lovely and moving nostalgic song — I Vow to Thee My Country with lyrics by Sir Cecil Spring Rice in 1921.

Kate created the arrangement by ear (i.e., nothing is written down), so (unfortunately) sheet music is not available.

As with the other songs in the free background music series, this music is free for non-commercial use as long as credit is provided. Crediting information:

I Vow to Thee My Country
Piano arrangement and performance by Kate Kwok (2015)
The download link can be found on the relevant background music song page.

For other uses, refer to the terms of use.

Little Hero: New Background Music Composition


 
Here is the 33rd song in my free background music series. This is a dramatic three-minute instrumental that is suitable for use in projects like Anime, Animation and AMVs (Anime music videos). This isn’t in my usual style—which is a lot more laid-back—so the song took a long time to put together. I wrote the song for a friend of mine. She helps me a lot in different ways and is always there for me. Thus, to me she is a kind of hero. She is a big fan of exciting anime like Clash on Titan and Tokyo Ghoul, so that is why I ventured into this new anime-influenced style. I guess it is good to try something new once in a while (though it took me FOREVER to actually finish the song!). She also enjoys drawing. Here is one of her pictures:

Drawing by skyblue

Drawing by skyblue

As with the other songs in the free background music series, this music is free for non-commercial use as long as credit (music by longzijun) is provided; for other uses, refer to the terms of use).

The video was created by turning nature videos into silhouettes using stylize filters like Cartoon, Threshold and Brushstrokes in Adobe After Effects.

More about the Music

The song was performed on a Korg M50 synthesizer and a Korg MicroX synth and recorded using Cakewalk’s Sonar Home Studio. Loops were used for the drum and percussion parts as well as the bass part in two sections. The music includes a variety of sounds—from orchestral instruments to rock guitar to electronic synth sounds. One thing I should try next time is to include more harmony parts. When I have different ‘instruments’ playing the same melody together, I tend to just have them play the same notes. In future compositions, I can try to add more variety by having some instruments playing in harmony (e.g., a 3rd or a 6th apart).

I hope you enjoyed this song. For more songs, you can visit my main music page: Music by Longzijun

The same video on NicoNico: http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm25480315

New Song: The Hidden Path (Background Music 32)

 

The Hidden Path is the 32nd song in the free background music series: longzijun.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/free-background-music/

A shorter seven-minute version of the song is also available.

Download MP3: The Hidden Path: Seven-Minute Cut (BGM 32b)
Download WAV: The Hidden Path: Seven-Minute Cut (BGM 32b)
 

If you are having downloading problems, please refer to this page: Downloading Problems (Free Background Music Series).

About the Video

The video features Lee Chan. who choreographed and performed the dance, which combines classical ballet, contemporary dance and yoga.

Credits:
Choreography & dance: Lee Chan
Video shooting: Teresa Ng, longzijun
Music, video shooting and video editing: longzijun

Lee Chan

Lee Chan

 

About the Music

As with other songs in the background music series, The Hidden Path may be used for free for non-commercial purposes. The download link is on the preview page (Go to Song No. 32): Background Music Preview and Download (Songs 25 – 32). For commercial purposes, including monetized videos, please refer to and follow the Terms of Use: longzijun.wordpress.com/music/free-background-music-series-terms-of-use/

The song was recording using Cakewalk’s Home Studio. Most of the parts were played on a Korg M50 synthesizer. I also played alto saxophone in one section. The percussion parts were mostly created using pre-recorded hits and loops.

Duration: 11 minutes
Tempo: 115 bpm

The song is influenced by some African styles, most notably Juju music (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B9j%C3%BA_music). If you are interested in finding out about this music form, King Sunny Ade is a good place to start. Here is a clip of his song Ase:

 

You can find the East African music influences in The Hidden Path in the way that the song:

  • Relies on a strictly pentatonic scale. In this song’s case, the scale is related to C minor and only includes the notes C, E flat, F, G and B flat. This means there most of the traditional triads found in Western chord progressions cannot be formed. For example, the typical C minor chords of ii (D diminished), iv (F minor) and VI (A major) would need an A, while v (G minor) and VII (B flat major) would need a D. The use of the pentatonic scale also places a pretty great restriction on melodic possibilities.
  • Emphasizes the interplay between melodic instruments playing rhythmic, repetitive lines and percussion instruments of offering a kind of melodic counterpoint through the use of different pitches and timbres. The distinction between melody and rhythm is slightly blurred.
  • Features a song structure that doesn’t really on the usual verse chorus and bridge structure. It focuses more on the different kinds of grooves created by combining melodies and rhythms.

Of course, there are electronic music influences as well, such as the music in the album by David Byrne and Brian Eno—My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (which is also influenced by African timbres and rhythms).

The Carrier (from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts)

 

The Hidden Path was composed as a companion piece to my most popular song: Dreams, which is loosely inspired by Balinese Gamelan music.

 

Two New Short Instrumentals for Intros, Outros and Credits

Here are two new additions to the Short Instrumentals Collection. These are short pieces suitable for use as intros, outros and credits and can be used for free in non-commercial projects as long as credit is provided (Music by longzijun). I recently learned that songs from this series are also being used as ringtones, which is something I hadn’t thought of.

Short Instrumental 12: Equinox

I finished this 31-second composition on March 20, which is the day of the Spring equinox (yay Spring!); hence the title. This song is mainly built from loops, with the piano part being played on a Korg MicroX. I’ve been watching Breaking Bad on DVD recently, so this song is inspired somewhat by the theme music for that show. I started with an acoustic guitar base, but instead of heading for the country twang of that show’s theme, I went for a jazzier feel with a hint of reggae.

The video is of commuters going though either Central or Hong Kong station after work. I changed the footage into a line drawing in Premiere Pro. The footage was shot while on the way back from doing some video shooting with a student group (Maggie, Winsome and Teresa). On the way home, we thought we would get some footage of the commuters in case the girls needed it for their video later. The video they were working on was about people’s dreams in life. On that day, we interviewed Leonard Lee (aka CM Groovy), a professional bass player, who was one of the main interviewees in the documentary. Here is Maggie, Winsome and Teresa’s final video:

My most popular song is the one I created as background music for that video (it is called Dreams). Besides this documentary, there are some shorter videos as well. You can read about the series here: Dreamers HK: What’s Your Dream in Life.

The same day we interviewed CM, we also talked to two young skateboarders about their dreams.

Short Instrumental Theme No. 6

This 20-second song is a complete reworking of an earlier intro theme. The new version combines electronic arpeggios and sweeping chords with mellow French horns. The feel is relaxed, but with a sense of elegance. All the parts except for the kick drum were played on a Korg MicroX, a budget synthesizer with a two-octave keyboard.

The photo is one I took of Chinese University of Hong Kong at dawn on a particularly blue, clear and peaceful day. You can view more photos of the campus here:
Chinese University at Dawn

What about the original version? Usually, I spend hours upon hours on each composition, but the original version of this theme was recorded in a couple of minutes by just playing some chords on the Korg MicroX. My students needed a short soundtrack and the deadline for their book trailer competition video was fast approaching, so I just created the ‘song’ in a hurry’. Later, I put the song online, because ‘why not’, but somewhat embarrassingly, my simplest and most hurriedly created song is my second most viewed on YouTube

Here is the students’ book trailer for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: