Free Background Music Series (Part 1): Songs 1-23

Here are songs 1-23 in the Free Background Music series. These royalty-free songs can be used for free for non-commercial projects as long as they are properly credited (for my songs, add the credit ‘music by longzijun’). The background music songs can also be used in monetized YouTube videos (that are non-commercial in nature). For songs by other musicians featured in this series, you should follow the crediting guidelines on the download page for that particular song. You can refer the more detailed Terms of Use for more information.

For the download links to the MP3 and WAV files, select the link under the video.

23. Chillvolution (4:45, 90 bpm)

This instrumental is a pop & R&B influenced track. This laid-back jazzy hip hop groove is suitable for a wide range of uses. It is good for vlogs as the melody is barely noticeable and the music is quite upbeat and not distracting. If you keep the volume low in the mix, the song will simply bubble away on the background. However, it is not overly repetitive, so it can also stand alone as the only audio in a video. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 23: Chillvolution

22. As longs as a word remains unspoken (2:14, 65 bpm)

New age, classical piano. The tempo is actually 130 bpm, but the feeling is more like 65 bpm. This is a very gentle piano instrumental with a slightly East-Asian feel to the melody. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 22: As longs as a word remains unspoken

21. Rachmaninoff Prelude in E-flat Major, Op. 23, No. 6: Performed by Tong Chi-ling (2:57)

Crediting Information
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff (Date of Composition: 1901-1903); Performed by: Tong Chi-ling (2012); Producer: longzijun

This is a flowing piano work from the late Romantic period. The overall feel is gentle and meandering but there is a louder and more more dramatic parts as well. Please note that it is possible get false Content ID matches and copyright claims YouTube for original performances of public domain work (like this recording). The linked page contains information on what you should do if you get such a claim. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Free Background Music 21: Rachmaninoff Prelude in E-flat Major, Op. 23, No. 6

19. Transect (6:55, 120 bpm)

This free instrumental bacis combination of techno, trance, rock & pop. With its mix of electronic and rock styles and quickfire bassline, it’s a good choice if you want to add energy to your video. The use of tremolo guitar, rock riffs and jazz-drum-breaks makes it stand out from typical techno songs. You can also download an alternate version without the guitar solo at the end. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 19: Transect

18. Rock Funk Beast (3:33, 95 bpm)

Rock. This is exactly what it says on the tin. A straightforward rock track with a touch of funk. This is a loop based composition. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 18: Rock Funk Beast

17. Elegy (4:53, 77 bpm)

This is a synth-piano ballad. This is a slow and slightly melancholy keyboard piece that was composed in memory of one of my former students who passed away suddenly a few weeks before. I didn’t want a really sad, heavy and depressing sound, however, as the girl was very sweet and cheerful. Therefore, the song was written in a major key and the arrangement is kept very light. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 17: Elegy

16. San (3:43, 112 bpm)

This is a kind of electro-pop song. Bubbling synth sounds make up the bass and harmony creating a light and upbeat sound that contrasts with a gentle melody. For MP3 and WAV file download links for this song in the free background music series, go to:

Background Music 16: San

15. Arpology 1: Frantic Sax Version (2:03, 112 bpm)

This is a slightly chaotic sounding piece with a synth saxophone going through arpeggiated chords.

Background Music Tracks 14-15: Arpology

14. Arpology 2: Ambient Version (6:10, 71 bpm)

An ambient synthesizer-based piece. This is a very peaceful song without much going on it in, so it is suitable to use if you want the music to stay out of the way and remain completely in the background. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music Tracks 14-15: Arpology

12. Dreams (10:40, 120 bpm)

A minimalist (piano, synthesizer, drums). This is the most popular song in the series so far and has been used in dozens of YouTube videos. The minimalist style is suitable for lots of different styles of videos, and though it is over ten minutes long there is enough variation to maintain the listener’s interest. The main melody is influence by Balinese gamelan music, giving the song a rather unique sound. The first three or four minutes strictly follow a pentatonic scale. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 12: Dreams

11. Safe Harbor (5:12, 80 bpm)

Minimalist (piano, cello, acoustic bass, harp, flute, French horn. clarinet, drums). In this song the piano lines propel the song forward, the wind instruments add colour and the cello adds a touch of melancholy. The drums come in around two-thirds of the way through the song to add a dramatic flourish.

When used in YouTube videos, this song sometimes gets false Content ID claims because the piano loops have been used in other songs. If you get a copyright claim, it is a false match and should be disputed. You can refer to this page for instructions: Disputing Copyright Claims on My Songs.
There are two versions: the main version has drums and the shorter version is without drums. Here is the shorter version.

For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to

Background Music 11: Safe Harbor

10. Little Ape (3:00, 135 bpm)

Electronica/pop (synthesizer). This royalty-free song has an retro lo-fi sound and, despite being in a minor key, it has a cheerful, upbeat (though slightly nostalgic feel. It was written to accompany lo-fi video shot with a toy camera. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 10: Little Ape

9. GIS (3:00, 109 bpm)

Electronica, chill-out (synthesizer, drums, percussion, bass). This is a gentle but rhythmic song (that I am surprised is not used more often. The drums and bass provide an upbeat rhythm, that contrasts with the a wistful East Asian-style melody. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 9: GIS

5. Mime This (2:27, 140 bpm)

This is an alt-rock groove (electric guitar, bass, synthesizer, drums, percussion). It is perhaps best known as the theme song for a series of popular Dota 2 gameplay videos. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to:

Background Music 5: Mime This

4b. Snacks and Watches – Short Version (4:42, 120 bpm)

This track is rhythmic but mellow (synthesizer, piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, acoustic bass. electric bass, Asian fiddle, drums, percussion).

4a. Snacks and Watches – Full Version (7:21, 120 bpm)

This is basically the same as the shorter version but has an extended intro with a clockwork-like feel and a longer coda at the end. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to

Background Music 4: Snacks & Watches

3. Jazz Vamp in D Minor (1:42 & 6:30, 120 bpm)

A cool jazz vamp (120 bpm) with a walking bass line, gentle drums and congas, a sparse piano and simple guitar chords. The 16 bar progression repeats three times in the short version and nine times in the long version. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to

Background Music 03: Jazz Vamp in D Minor

2. Versatile (3:28, 120 bpm)

This is one of my liveliest songs. It is upbeat & lively with funk, jazz, pop and reggae influences. The instrumentation features electric guitar, horn section, synthesizer, drums and percussion. For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to

Background Music 2: Versatile

1. SD SFX-Chill (2:20, 100 bpm)

Minimalist, quite calm but with a beat. The instrumentation features piano, flute, English horn, Asian fiddle, drums and percussion). For MP3 and WAV file download links, go to

Background Music 01: SFX Chill


Most of the above compositions were created as soundtracks for video projects, animation or computer games. Some songs (especially the earlier ones) were created mainly using loops while other songs are mainly played using a Korg MicroX or M50 syntheszier. Most of the songs were put together using Cakewalk’s Sonars Home Studio 7.

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