This section features my own songs and my collaborations with others. My articles about music are in the Writing section.
1. My Free Background Music Series
The songs in the free background music series are instrumental tracks that I’ve created that you can use for non-commercial purposes in your media projects (as well as in monetized YouTube videos (that are otherwise non-commercial); simply provide the credit: music by longzijun. Some of the songs have been created by featured guests, so if you use any of those, make sure you credit that artist.
1.2 Preview & Download Songs
You can explore the music in different ways:.
1.2.1 Browse Songs by Song Number and Category
- List of all songs
- Preview Background Music Songs No. 1-23
- Preview Background Music Songs No. 24-44
- Short intro themes (6 to 62 seconds)
1.2.2 Browse Songs by Style and Genre
Sad & melancholy
Soft & relaxing
1.2.3 Browse by Duration (songs listed according to length)
If you are looking for a song that is a specific length, you may prefer this list: Free Background Music Series: Arranged According to Duration
1.3 Recommended Songs
Here are some song recommendations for a few specific categories of video. If you would like additional recommendations, please leave a comment below.
|Most popular and versatile||Dreams|
|For vlogs or for a laidback vibe||Chillvolution|
|For intros||Short Intro 6 (epic), Equinox (light and jazzy)|
|A nostalgic mood||I Vow to Thee, My Country|
|For AMVs||Little Hero (fast)|
Somewhere Deep in the Sea (melancholy piano)
|Gentle and touching||Broken|
|Upbeat and jazzy||Bixie|
|Rock||Rock Funk Beast|
|Acoustic guitar||Wild Illusion|
|Acoustic & laidback||Ravenchanter or Drifting|
|Classical Piano||Rachmaninoff Prelude in E-flat Major, I Vow to Thee, My Country|
1.4 Support & Subscribe
You may like to subscribe to my YouTube channel (zijun01) to receive updates when new free background music songs are added to the various collections. To support my efforts, you can also do thing like sharing, commenting on and liking my videos.
1.5 Free Background Music from other Producers
My own selection of royalty-free songs is limited, so I have also included a list of other websites and YouTube Channels where you can find free music: Free Background Music by other Composers and Producers.
2. Music Articles
To keep the number of links on this page under control, the music articles (including articles on J-Pop, J-Rock and Chinese musical instruments are listed here Writing: Music Articles
3. Music by Students: Covers and Originals
Student Music: Original Songs and Covers: The high school where I work as a teacher has lots of talented musicians. To encourage them to develop their talents, I started this series of recordings, which include original songs, cover versions and original arrangements. The songs are in a variety of languages—English, Japanese and Cantonese—and include some instrumentals
4. Other Projects
Other music projects include live performances, collaborations and experimental music. I had also planned to start a series of backing tracks for blues and jazz musicians, but the reception was lukewarm, so I have put that on hold. There are only two songs there: Backing Tracks.
These days, my main involvement with music is in composing and producing. In the past, I was much more heavily involved with live performances and played with a wide variety of people in diverse genres: classical, swing, avante-garde, rock, blues, funk, pop and even golden-oldies pop. Here is a brief excerpt of an early-2000s performance with rapper Ghost Style (aka Brandon Ho).
4.2 Experimental Music
In university, I created a few experimental pieces. These are introduced on this page: Experimental Electronica 1984-1989
5. Composing Style & Influences
One of my main methods of composing is to start with a composer, artist, song or style of music in mind and then use that as the inspiration. The end result might only vaguely sound like the original, but if you listen closely, you should be able to hear the influence. Here are the inspirations behind some of the songs in my background music series.
- Bixie (Track 44): The song was inspired by Herbie Hancock’s jazz-funk song ‘Chameleon’. You can hear that in the use of synthesizer for the bass and in the syncopated lines in the first couple of verses. However, because the brass and saxophone sounds on my synth aren’t great on their own, I went more for a swing band sound.
- Dreams (Track 12): This chillout song is inspired by Balinese gamelan music.
- The Hidden Path (Track 32): This song is inspired by the Nigerian Jùjú music of King Sunny Ade as well as by an album by David Byrne and Brian Eno called ‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’.
- For Ravenchanter (Track 29), I was originally aiming for a song in the vein of the music by the indie-folk duo ‘The Civil Wars’, but once I started adding instruments the song moved towards a more mysterious, new age sound.
- Track 26 (Almost a Love Story) is inspired by Joe Hisaishi’s soundtrack music for Studio Ghibli films.
- Some of my minimalist piano songs like Echoes & Fragments (Track 30) and The Sea Withdraws (Track 43) are inspired by the music of Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi.
- Chillvolution (Track 23) is inspired by the solo work of Money Mark, who is best know for his work as a musician with the Beastie Boys.
- Dubtitution (Track 31) is loosely inspired by the music of Jamaican dub duo Sly & Robbie.
Other song ideas come from just noodling around on synthesizers or start from a base of a particular interesting sound loop and the song grows outward from there. And for some of the loop-based songs—like Rock Funk Beast—the song is mainly just based on the loops themselves.
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