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.

You can find the download link for free high quality WAV and MP3 files from this page (look for Background Music Song No. 35): longzijun.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/free-background-music-set2

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.

 

Free Background Music: Featured Guest Series

This is the start of a new series in the free background music collection. It features music by other composers that is available for non-commercial use as long as the song is properly credited. If all goes well, I’ll be adding more videos in the coming months. There is a download link before each video. Before using the composer’s music, please check the terms of use at the bottom of this page. If you like their songs, remember to visit and subscribe to their channels (if they have one).

Download Problems

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

FGS03 The Mercury Tale: Music by Jessica Yip (53 Seconds)

Song piano: 0:53
Credits: The Mercury Tale: Music by Jessica Yip (2015)
Download MP3: The Mercury Tale
Download WAV (for higher quality): The Mercury Tale by Jessica Yip

FGS 02 I Vow to Thee, My Country: Arrangement and Performance by Kate Kwok

Solo Piano, 2:12
Credits: Arrangement and performance by Kate Kwok (2015) Song composed by Gustav Mahler and Sir Cecil Spring Rice (1921)
Download WAV: I Vow to Thee, My Country (WAV)
Download MP3: I Vow to Thee, My County (MP3)

Copyright Information: The composition is in the public domain; however, the copyrights to the recording and arrangement are held by Kate Kwok. The composition is in the public domain because it was written in 1921 and the composers, Gustav Maher and Sir Cecil Spring Rice died in 1934 and 1918, respectively). However, if you use this song, you may get false matches in Content ID systems (like that used by YouTube) to other existing recordings). You should appeal false matches by providing information showing that the COMPOSITION is in the public domain (the year the song was written and the years the composers died) and showing that you are allowed to use this specific original recording and original arrangement (you can do this by giving the link to this page)

FGS 01 Nikolaos Taramanidis: Wild Illusion

Acoustic guitar, 5:43
Credits: Music (Wild Illusion) by Nikolaos Taramanidis
Listen to more songs and subscribe: YouTube Channel: Nikolaos Taramanidis
Download MP3: https://app.box.com/s/ljjfyzik9mq60s36mahi

About the Featured Guest Series

The aims of the the Featured Guest Series are:
a) To provide talented but under-appreciated musicians more exposure
b) To offer my subscribers, website visitors and YouTube viewers a greater variety of music to choose from (and also further build up my own channel)

If you would like to have one of your songs featured in this series, do let me know. The only catch is that you would have to allow others to download the song and use it for non-commercial purposes as long as it is credited properly. Of course, you would retain all copyright over the song.

Terms of Use

These are the basic terms of use for the songs featured on this page. Please note that individual contributors may relax some of the restrictions. Any change, if this is the case, these changes will be shown in the description before each video.

The songs on this page are free to use for non-commercial videos or other non-commercial multimedia projects as long as they are properly credited to the appropriate composer(s) and/or performer(s); however, (1) the music may not be used in works which are pornographic (or which promote pornography) or that deliberately promote illegal activities or incite hatred, (2) you may not distribute the song in your own collection of music without permission from the composer, (3) you may not re-mix the song and/or use it in a mash-up without permission from the composer, and (4) you may not alter the tempo and/or pitch without permission from the composer. For commercial use (this includes monetized videos for the song Wild Illusion; however, you may use the other songs in monetized videos for free as long as the song is properly credited), you may contact the composer directly to seek permission and discuss the terms of use. The composer reserves the right to change these terms of use at any time, but any changes will not be applied retroactively.

Preview: Background music tracks 1-23
Preview: Background music tracks 24 and above
Preview: Short instrumentals

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Echoes and Fragments: New Background Music Composition


 
Happy New Year. During the holiday period, I finished this short (three-minute) minimalist piano piece, though it is somber rather than festive. It is the 30th song in the free background music series (the music is free for non-commercial use; for other uses, refer to the terms of use).

I’m working on a longer piece at the moment, but that will take a while longer to complete.

The name of the song is about memory. As I get older, long-term memories fragment and slip away; sometimes they resurface, bubbling up from the boundless sea of time; sometimes they simply sink and are never seen again. For many memories, I am unsure whether I am remembering the actual event or remembering a story that I once told or that someone once told me. Do I remember the house I grew up or do I simply remember its image from photographs? It seems that a lot of what I call ‘memories’ are merely faint and distant echoes.

The photos are about something entirely different. These focus on the problem of homelessness in Hong Kong. The photos of the homes of the homeless were taken around Kowloon. Though Hong Kong is a rich city, there is a high level of income inequality. To compound the problem, even tiny apartments are expensive to rent and their is a long waiting list for public housing.
Quite a few people just fall through the cracks. Some of them cannot afford to live even in tiny ‘cage homes (www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2275206/Hong-Kongs-metal-cage-homes-How-tens-thousands-live-6ft-2ft-rabbit-hutches.html) while some simply prefer the freedom of the street. One thing that surprised me was that quite a few people were hanging onto useless little nick-nacks like Christmas ornaments and volleyball trophies, but maybe my surprise just highlighted my own prejudices. Why wouldn’t people want decorations and awards?

The photo set is here on Google+: https://plus.google.com/photos/103920099084839198317/albums/5844766354662606657

More about the Music

The song was performed on a Korg M50 synthesizer and recorded using Cakewalk’s Sonar Home Studio. Unfortunately, I am not a piano player, so even a simple piece like this is terribly difficult for me to play. I had thought about returning to the first melody at the end, but it really stretched out the song (a little like the ending-after-ending of the Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King)