SchwanSongs - Music

Writing each note as if it is my last

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Below are some of my music compositions, in various genres...

Classical, World/Ethnic, Electronica, Ambient, Experimental...
Even a video of a live performance of one of my pieces.

This page contains a small handful of musical compositions that I have written over the years. The reason there are just a small handful of pieces here is because I have small hands... OK, I'm kidding! Seriously, the songs below are just a sampling of some of my works, and I wish to share them with you. There are more recent, longer/rewritten, high quality recordings of these, and other pieces, which I have distributed on CD (and even sold a DVD of some of my music videos.)

Please respect my hard work. These pieces have been composed note-by note, sometimes taking months to create. They are copyrighted works, and they may not be re-sampled, publicly performed, modified, commercially used or linked to without my explicit permission. I have posted them here simply to let you hear and enjoy them.

I do hope you enjoy my music. If you wish to offer professional critique, or wish to discuss licensing or buying the printed scores, please contact me via the Contact button above. I would be delighted to hear from you.

My music is printed as properly-transposed sheet music for each instrument, ready for live performances, when the opportunity arises (e.g. see the video below.)

Click the music staff above to see an example of a partial page from one of my works. Full scores, along with individual instrument scores can be licensed for use/performance, quite inexpensively. Please contact me for details.

Free MP3/Audio recordings of my music can also be found below, and some other web sites.

Macjams was my favorite spot, and was where I spent most of my time learning music composition and collaborating/recording with other musicians/composers. I had two accounts there, "Drakonis" (more classical) and "ic42" (more experimental/electronica.) After creating and uploading over 40+ pieces, sadly Macjams shut down. I still have my music pieces and many friends from that time. I have re-uploaded some of the pieces below with their original descriptions.


Black Forest Dance (Classical)

Close your eyes, and come with me. It is a warm Autumn eve in the Black Forest. There are ancient folk tales about this magical wood... how late at night it comes to life with mischievous fairies and wood nymphs. Any mortal who hears the unusual, hauntingly romantic dance music, will be enchanted, drawn into the heart of the forest, and will never return. Hush! Do you hear them? They're calling, gathering for the dance...
Extra Notes: I wanted to create an unusual dance, something that felt just a little off-kilter, strange, but catchy at the same time. I wrote a melody that switched between minor and major, and also wrote an unusual rhythmic "loping" feel between the cellos, strings, and clarinets. It is in 4/4 time, but doesn't want to be... I'm dubbing it a "faux-trot". For all of us who have delightfully quirky eternal romances. Eternal thanks to my wife who inspires me to write music, and guided and critiqued this piece so thoughtfully. She really wanted the middle section to be a full-fledged-fugue, but it is a simpler canon ("round") for now until I learn more about composition :-)
Real Notes:
Click here to see an excerpt of the printed score for this piece.


Andes Off! (Peruvian Faux-Folk)

While my wife and I were travelling back down the coast of California (near Big Sur) from a vacation around New Years, we stopped at a turnout over a cliff, and took a bunch of video of at least 15 California Condors, flying and hanging out on the guard rail, not 15 feet from us! These amazing birds, once almost extinct in the wild, are now being re-introduced on the west coast. When full-grown, they can have a 10-foot wingspan, the largest land-birds in North America. I have about 15 minutes of amazing video of them in flight, or sunning themselves in the trees, or ambling around looking at the growing crowd of people, who are stopping to look at them in return. I am hoping that despite their apparent lack of fear of people, they remain safe. Due to lots of interest, I have edited down the condor video and have posted it on YouTube (see below), or click here to read a little write-up of the trip. As part of the ending credits, I needed a quickie "El Condor" theme, so I whipped this up. It is supposed to evoke the hauntingly beautiful Peruvian/Bolivian style folk music. This music was licensed in 2009 for a German College student film.

Here is the final video of the amazing California Condor Experience we had!


Dance of the Technoids ('80s Techno)

Bouncy Electro-pop music with aliens dancing around large lava lamps (perhaps suggesting that music is literally "universal".) Reaching into my 1980's musical subconscious, I wrote a catchy "Depeche Mode"-like techno-flamenco tune, and then created a mosh pit of Technoids dancing to the music in a hyper-realistic dance hall called "The Candy Bar". Music written note by note in Harmony Assistant ( and finished/EQed in GarageBand. Live acoustic Spanish guitar performed by Ian Beardsley. Video rendered with POV-Ray Mac (, and assembled in iMovie. For the technically curious, there are over 1,200 lines of POV-Ray code (all written by hand in the text language, no modelers were harmed...) to create this. The 2.5 minute movie (in final anti-aliased DVD format) took 70+ continuous hours to render all the frames on an old dual 1 Ghz G4 Mac. This was my first foray into computer-animated music videos. Was sold as a high-quality DVD version, with an extra 12+ minute "behind-the-scenes" interview with yours truly about how I wrote the music and created the 3D graphics, and a solo guitar performance by Ian.

Here is the YT video:


Synthopolis (Electronica)

This romp started as a musical doodle on the iPad while I was playing with GarageBand. Because of my initial choice of the synthesizer-heavy voices, my temporary working title for this music became "Synthopolis". Well, as is always the case, not only did the working title stick, but it began to take on a life of its own in my mind. I first used Harmony Assistant to write out the entire piece from its humble iPad beginning sketch. The working title (and the march-like processional that this became as I extended the music), evoked a sparkly city parade, but in miniature. A little synthetic city with its own celebration day. So I designed and programmed a city of random and unusual buildings and a parade of shiny floats, and used my trusty 3D computer animation tool, POV-Ray, to animate the fly-throughs, with a healthy dose of focal-blur to give it the feel of a tiny model. Hopefully this will bring you back to the days of disappearing into your world of Legos, model trains, etc. I had a lot of fun with the details, creating the myriad flags and float types… and I always thought water towers should be made of water, though these turned out to look a bit like LEDs. As always, any critical feedback about the music/video, is welcomed!

Here is the YT video:


Border Merger / Tearing Down the Waltz (Mexican Waltz)

Imagine a Mexican quintette playing a fast waltz. There are 3 melodies played in 3/4 time, in a sort of non-standard ABCABC (Rondo?) format. The title is a photographic/geographic/melodic play on words. There is a merging of European waltz and Mexican-sounding instrumentation. <br/>This fourth version has an improved sampled violin, as well as the real trumpet performance from the prior version. The new violin part was created from the score-exported-MIDI by <a href="">Bubowski</a>, who tweaked and enhanced the expressiveness to work with the <a href="">Garritan Personal Orchestra's</a> violin, and sent me the resulting audio file to replace the old harsh violin sample I had in there. The great Russian jazz trumpet player <a href="">Vladimir Galaktionov</a> had graciously read my score and recorded his performance of this piece, and I had replaced the sampled trumpet with his live recorded performance. Anyone want to play the violin part live for this? <br/>This has become a programmatic work for me, and the vision I have tried to capture in the music follows:

  • [Intro] The warm evening twilight brings a light scent of jasmine across a courtyard in Southern California, and a Mexican band begins playing a waltz. A young gentleman saunters over to a lady, who is shyly swaying to the music. He asks her to dance with him, and she accepts his hand. They sway together onto the dance floor.
  • [Melody 1] The dance begins with them dancing formally, with respectable distance between them. He is looking over her shoulder and leading gently, and her head is demurely bowed.
  • [Melody 2-3] As the dance progresses, she gains confidence and begins to look at him, and he at her, and they dance closer.
  • [Repeat Melody 1-3] Still unsure of each other, they return to the formal beginning of the dance. Again, they begin to feel the joyful warmth of each other and pull closer.
  • [Modulation] Playfully, the lady pulls away from him and out into the spotlight.
  • [Bridge/Melody 1] The gentleman watches as she performs her own twirling dance, just for him. He smiles and begins to clap his raised hands in time to the beat of her version of the dance.
  • [Melody 1-repeat] At the end of the repeat, he steps in and they dance together with increasing flair and passion.
  • [Melody 2-3] They flow together, seeing only each other. The rest of the world has melted away.
  • [Finale] As the music ends, the gentleman pulls the lady close to him, then dramatically dips her to the side.
Ah, to make this a reality with a real band playing this for my wife and I to dance to...
  • Hardware: Eduard: Dual 1GHz G4, Vodka, 3 or 4 kisses Vladimir: 1.6Ghz PC, Cubase SX. and AKG C3000 mic ...and the internet to connect Moscow to San Diego.
  • Software: This was written and scored note-by-note by me, and performed with a mixture of Bubowski's "Garritan Personal Orchestra" sampled instruments (Violin), and GarageBand 2 stock instruments (bongos, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass), and Vladimir's real trumpet playing. Artwork is something I created using "The Gimp" and Photoshop and a photo of Vladimir.


Chicken Recording and Disco Rap (!?)

Here is a photo of our chicken, "Custard."  She started out as a not-too-famous chicken.  One morning I heard her singing this amazing Wagner-like trumpet call (near the end of this recording), so I snuck out and recorded her with my video-camera, and saved the audio-recording here. Click the play button below her picture to hear her sing, a capella.

But wait... then Alan, an extremely talented musical friend of mine in Sweden heard her song, and chopped her recording into little "rapping" chicken nuggets, and sprinkled them into another song I wrote (called "Ember"), and created an extremely silly Chicken-Rap song, which I include here for your chuckling pleasure. You can also click here to visit Alan's song page, and read some of the comments people left on this classic.  Click the play button below to hear Alan's amazing Chicken-Rap.


Ball Of Dying Electronics/BODE (electronica)

it is midnight on halloween. it blinks 12 at the landfill. the electric blue light awakens the dying electronics. a cracked blackberry dances slowly with an unrecognized newton, palm to palm. woofers gather around the hammond organ to boost the once-majestic bass. a shortwave radio connects the world for a short glowing skip. now the electronics are old and neglected. however, they enjoy this last ball together as the last trickle of power warms their friendship. they will soon be buried and forgotten.
please play this music for your electronics on halloween. they will smile.


Lickety Split Rag, aka "Caroline's Bear" Rag (Ragtime)

This little ragtime number began life as just a snippet, written as background music for a home movie. But recently, I decided to flesh this out into a much longer song. For the hard core ragtime buffs, I know this is not quite syncopated enough to be true ragtime, but hopefully its fun and bouncy and makes you smile anyway. I had a lot of fun playing with the dynamics to make this feel animated and alive.


Kuroi (electronica)

it is black now. it is "kuroi" in japanese. darkness can be seen, however, only if it is illuminated by joy. if there is no happiness, then darkness is invisible. this music illuminates the darkness of loss with small happiness of new creation. a smile traces the outline of despair. goodbye dear father. please accept this deep bow of gratitude.


Quixotic Dreams (Spanish folk)

Story (Cervantes meets E.T.A. Hoffmann, v9 released 2010):

Our beloved Don Quixote has returned from an evening of drinking, after telling anyone who would listen about today's great deeds done for his love, Dulcinea.

He is certain that Dulcinea has been captured by demons and is now trapped inside a music box.  After his tales are told, he retires to his room, where he now winds up the music box beside his bed, and falls asleep with the image of the figurine dancing in his dreams.

As the music starts, he is now playing his guitar for the beautiful dancing Dulcinea, who has broken free of the music box.  As he plays his guitar, she hears his music and looks for him, dancing closer...
the music box slows down, and he awakens as the demons return her to the music box, leaving him with just a faint fading memory of her music drifting away.

Composer's Notes: As always, this started as a melody I couldn't get out of my head, then I wrapped the other instruments around it and began crafting it into shape. Partway through, the story line came to me, and propelled me to finish this. I have cast the guitar as Don Quixote, who then dances back and forth with the music box/celesta as Dulcinea.


Lullaby for the Inner Child (electronica)

"As we grow up, we always carry our inner child with us. Wonder and curiosity... there are so many things the child sees. However, this is a view from above. We are now adults with good and bad experiences of life, looking inward. It is time to revisit our inner child, with some regret and some hopeful wishes. Please slow down. Listen to everything. See the music through the eyes of your inner child."

I wanted to write a slow, gentle and soft lullaby for this inner child. After hearing the older instrumental version of this, Lena Panfilova offered to write lyrics and sing over it with her sister Irina, in Russian! And they soon came up with a stunningly beautiful melody and poetic lyrics for this music, and sent me the vocal tracks. I then worked on the mix to integrate their singing, hopefully to everyone's satisfaction. I sped the original music up a bit, reduced the volume on the original instrumental melody track to give space for their singing, and did serious EQ changes to accommodate their wide vocal range on the music. I hope you enjoy our collaborative offering.

Music written by Eduard, singing and lyrics by Lena and Irina, final mixing by Eduard, artwork by Eduard

Many many thanks to Lena for patiently listening to mix after mix, and helping me showcase and capture the clarity and nuance of their Russian singing.

Original Russian:
Там детства аромат,
там цветущий сад,
там мерцает свет
безмятежных лет.
...Розовый рассвет...
Там обмана нет.
Там душе легко,
там царит покой.
Там парус наших грёз
снова мчится вдаль
на лихой волне
в мирной тишине.
Там печали нет,
там обмана нет.
Там красок карнавал,
там души причал.
Там колыбели наших снов
ветер качает,
там радушный плюшевый зверёк
с нами играет,
Там горит сиреневый закат,
там ванильный сладкий аромат,
плещет родниковая вода,
и сверкает свежая роса,
и мечтаниям предела нет,
там яркий солнца свет.
Там мягкий шерстяной
бабушкин клубок.
Нить ещё хранит
рук её тепло.
После стольких лет
нить ещё цела,
связывая нас
с прошлым навсегда.
Снова,как тогда,
я вхожу туда,
закрываю дверь.
Я вхожу туда,
закрываю дверь.

English Translation:
There... there the sweet smells of our childhood float by
There... there the garden blossoms
There... the lights sparkle across our carefree years

...Dawn brings the light...
There... there is no dark deceit

There... our soul is unburdened
There... our world's at peace

There... the sails of our dreams catch the wind
And carry us away again
Bravely crossing swells
With a peaceful confidence

There is no sadness
There is no dark deceit

There... the colors of the carnival
There... the home port of our soul

There... the wind gently rocks the cradle of our dreams
There... our favorite toy comes to play with us
There... the lilac sunset glows
The sweet aroma of vanilla beckons
Water splashes playfully from the fountain
And the fresh dew dazzles our eyes
There is no limit to our dreams
The brilliant sunshine stretches out forever

Here is grandmother's soft ball of yarn
The wool still holds the warmth of her hands
After so many years, the yarn is still perfect
Tying us to the past forever
Once again I go back there... and close the door behind me
I go back there... and close the door behind me.

Music copyright 2009 by Eduard Schwan & Lena & Irina Panfilova

Lyrics copyright 2009 by Lena & Irina Panfilova

English translation copyright 2009 by Eduard Schwan


Live Performance!

One of my compositions was performed by the San Diego Mandolin Orchestra on December 21, 2011, and we video-taped the performance, which can be viewed here:


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