SchwanSongs Music

Writing each note as if it is my last...

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These are the many styles of my music compositions...

Classical, World/Ethnic, Electronica, Ambient, Experimental...

Even a live performance video!

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... just kidding! OK, 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 am preparing for sale on an upcoming CD (and a DVD music video, in one case below.)

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 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 e-mail me (go to my Contact tab 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 e-mail me for details.

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

Macjams is my favorite spot, and is where I have spent most of my time learning and working with other musicians/composers.  If you wish to listen to the majority of my works (40+ so far), you can find them all at the above-mentioned link.

I also have a small number of more experimental pieces of music, many are algorithmically/computer-generated.  I keep these pieces under a separate account, since they are a bit more wild and untamed.  You can find them under the "ic42" label here on Macjams, AloneTone, and MySpace.

Here are some of my works...


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 (www.myriad-online.com) and finished/EQed in GarageBand. Live acoustic Spanish guitar performed by Ian Beardsley. Video rendered with POV-Ray Mac (http://mac.povray.org), 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="http://www.macjams.com/artist/bubowski">Bubowski</a>, who tweaked and enhanced the expressiveness to work with the <a href="http://www.garritan.com/">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="http://www.macjams.com/artist/jazzru">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:

Ah, to make this a reality with a real band playing this for my wife and I to dance to...



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.


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.


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: