Ethan's Pop Tunes Page
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Below are some of the original tunes I've recorded over the past few years. Most of these pieces are instrumental only, and I performed all the parts except as noted. Click an MP3 logo or web link at the left to play them. I also did a collection of Holiday tunes in 2004 HERE.
For those interested, my studio equipment is listed at the bottom of this page.
Mostly recent projects:
|Video Link||The video linked at left shows my January 25, 2015 performance of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations for Cello and Orchestra, but played on the electric guitar. I spent nearly a year practicing for this concert, so I hope you like it!|
|One of my favorite pieces is Antonin Dvorak's Symphony Number 8. The fourth movement has many great moments, and I always thought it would be fun to do a "progressive rock" interpretation. My arrangement isn't exactly Emerson Lake and Palmer, or Yes, but that was the general inspiration. Note that most of the parts are exactly as Dvorak wrote them, with only a few exceptions. I also created this short Making Of web page with photos and further details of this project.|
|I'm a big fan of the group Queen, and I always liked their 1974 hit Killer Queen. I obtained a copy of the 24 track master tape as Wave files, created my own mix in 5.1 surround sound, and "married" that to the official video. I uploaded .ISO (image) files so anyone with a 5.1 surround sound system or home theater can burn their own DVD or Blu-ray. The complete story, and links to download the files, are in the Web Link at left:|
|A Cello Rondo is my first music performance video. If you play the cello, or if you just enjoy cello playing, I promise you will love this video which so far has received nearly two million views on YouTube and other sites. The link at left is to a newer HD version of the video, though I also made THIS separate web page to explain how this video was made, with links to download the printed music.|
|Video Link||More than a year in the making, Tele-Vision is a far more ambitious project than A Cello Rondo, and it's equally entertaining.|
|This MP3 is the music track from my music video Apache.|
|This MP3 is the music track from my music video Ghost Riders in the Sky.|
|A Day In
The Life of a Cat Named Bear is the first piece I composed for a full
orchestra, in 1996. It's written as a series of short vignettes:
This piece has been performed four times by local orchestras, though the version here is played by sampling synthesizers.
|Video Link||This is the performance portion only from my 18 minute interview with my best friend of 50 years Phil Cramer. Phil built the guitar he's playing, and you can see much more of his amazing handiwork in the full interview linked above. This is one of the few pieces of music on my site that I didn't perform or record, but it's too good not to share.|
|I wrote Lullaby as the sound track for my music video A Day in Litchfield County.|
|One of my most ambitious projects ever, Cello Concerto in A Minor took me nine months to write, and another three months to typeset the score and parts. I recorded it in pieces between August and December 1998 using live string, woodwind, and brass players. Audio engineers who'd like to mix this piece can download the original Wave files, as well as pre-loaded starter templates for several popular multi-track recording programs. Read more in my article from Strings Magazine.|
|I wrote Men At Work as the sound track for my company's Made in Connecticut video. All of the machine samples and sounds are original.|
|My friend Peter Hodgson
wrote Bullfrog as a fun song for his father to sing. This is
just the backing track, with credits listed below:
|Happy Go Lucky was created entirely with the fabulous DreamStation software synthesizer. If you're a synthesizer fan, this 20-minute long video shows how to program analog-style hardware and software synthesizers.|
|The Swan is a beautiful piece from St. Saens' Carnival of the Animals. It was originally written for cello and piano, but in this arrangement I used the haunting sound of a Theremin. This recording was created entirely using the DreamStation synthesizer.|
|If you like percussion instruments you'll definitely enjoy Jungle. The live fiddle solo at the end is played by then-teenage violin virtuoso James Herstatt.|
|Sharp Four is named for the musical device which is used throughout the piece. The only live instrument here is the cello, on which I play an assortment of Jeff Beck-inspired noises and other musical effects.|
|This unnamed tune
was recorded around 1977 in my first professional recording studio. Dave Hart wrote the
tune and played the guitars, with Rob Usher on drums and me on bass. I did the recording
and mix, though in 2014 Peter Hodgson transferred the tape to MP3 and tweaked the audio.
From my Audio Expert book:
I created a patch that sent my direct electric bass track through a Kepex, an early gate manufactured by Allison Research, with the side-chain input taken from the kick drum track. I played a steady stream of 1/16th notes on the bass that changed with the backing chords, but only those notes that coincided with the kick drum passed through the gate. The result sounded incredibly tight, with the kick and bass playing together in perfect synchronization.
|Disco Rainbow This arrangement of Over the Rainbow was done in the late '70s when I owned a professional recording studio. I'm playing Fender bass, and also the lead on a homemade synthesizer (check out the chicken clucks!); with Phil Cramer on guitars; Chris Toelken on the clavinet and, along with Barb LaValle, the ending vocals; Peter Hodgson on drums; and James "Doc" Halliday playing sax.||
This synthesizer took me more than a year to build (in 1974).
Sponsored article: What Does It Take to Be a Hollywood Session Musician?
|Like most of my tunes, the backing instruments for Gear Jammer were performed entirely on synthesizers. But the hard-driving lead guitar is 100 percent live, played on my customized 1960s Fender Telecaster.|
|Bernhard Romberg was an 18th century cellist who also wrote many fine works. This is my arrangement of the first movement of his E Minor Sonata for cello and piano, Opus 38, Number 1. But instead of a cello I'm playing the lead on electric guitar, and instead of a piano there's a rock band providing the backing!|
|Insaen is my pop music arrangement of St. Saens' Allegro Appassionato for cello and orchestra. Steven Thomas is the cello soloist, Rob Aries plays the keyboards, and Scott Lebish is on drums. I wrote the arrangement and played everything else.|
|On The Run Here's another guitar rocker played on my Fender Telecaster. It's got harmony guitar and synth leads for the verses, and a triple-tracked guitar solo. Trivia challenge: Can you tell which early Beatles song was the inspiration for this piece?|
|I wrote the music to She Don't Know How To Love You in 1977 while driving around in Florida on my honeymoon. When I got back, my friend Rob Carlson wrote lyrics and turned it into a real song. This was so long ago I can't remember who played what, but I know for sure that Barb LaValle sang, her husband Bob LaValle played the drums, and Peter Hodgson recorded and mixed it.|
|In the 1980s two partners and I owned what was then the largest professional recording studio in Connecticut. One partner, Rob Carlson, also wrote and produced songs and sound tracks for radio and TV commercials, and corporate projects. Tell it all over the world was ahead of its time, urging awareness of environmental concerns. Rob wrote the tune and played piano. Nancy Trew and George Barrett sang the leads. Bob LaValle played the drums, and I'm pretty sure all the string parts were played by Erica Palmquist. I wrote the string arrangement, played bass, and recorded and mixed the song.|
|In the 1990s, after selling my software company I considered composing music for TV and advertising. So I put together a "demo reel" and sent it around. The short Pop Tune linked at left is one example, but I also did demos in the styles of Lite Pop, Funk (think Seinfeld), and World music among others. But I soon realized I'd rather write music when the inspiration hits me rather than have to do it on demand. At that time I used Master Tracks Pro from Passport Designs as a MIDI sequencer, with a number of hardware synthesizers and sound modules.|
|Elli's Song was written for and inspired by my ex-wife, Elli. Besides the MIDI synth backing instruments, there's a live acoustic guitar solo and also real violins played by members of an orchestra I performed with at the time.||
Other old stuff that I should be too embarrassed to post:
|I recorded Spunky in the late 1990s. The sampled sax solo is pretty lame, but it's a fun piece anyway.|
is my latest string quartet, written as seven variations on an original jazz progression.
This version sounds decent enough considering it's played by synthesizers, but I hope to
record real players some day. If you have a quartet and want to play it, you can download
this Zip file (1.2MB) with all of the parts scanned to
GIF images you can print.
Temporary update: In 2019 I expanded this to a version for full orchestra. It's scheduled to be played by the Danbury Symphony once the pandemic is over and they resume live concerts. In the mean time, THIS is my synthesizer mock-up.
|Let's call them Disembodied Guitar Solos. Back in the 1970s I was a pretty decent guitar player, but many of the tunes I played on are too lame to post in their entirety. So here are the best 10-20 seconds from four of them. All of these tracks were recorded direct into a mixing board I designed and built, either by distorting the board's input or through various home-made fuzz tones.|
|Rock Jam This hard rockin' guitar jam features two tracks of live electric guitar, plus organ licks and fills played by my good buddy Eric Pearson, at right.|
|I wrote Eth-O-Ditty in the early 1980s when I owned a professional 16-track recording studio. Bob Lavalle played the drums and I'm on the electric guitar and bass. I also played all the other parts on my homemade analog synthesizer. Read more about this synthesizer and my studio on my Music page. At the right is a fragment of the original schematic drawing I made while designing this beast. There's a photo of the synthesizer itself next to Disco Rainbow, above.|
|One night I dreamed a tiny song fragment. After I woke up and remembered the song from my dream, I couldn't stop laughing. I don't write lyrics and I don't sing, and this short clip shows why. After hearing the first line echo / repeat you expect something similar the second time. But no. I swear, this is exactly as I dreamed it. I can't tell if it's hysterical or really stupid, though my friends on Facebook seemed to like it.|
The older tunes above were sequenced using Passport Design's Master Tracks Pro, with the live tracks recorded on an Alesis ADAT digital 8-track recorder sync'd via SMPTE. In May, 1997 I replaced the ADAT with a hard disk recording setup and IQS's SAWPlus software, which were used to record the strings on Elli's Song, the violin solo on Jungle, as well as my cello concerto. In 2001 I sold all my old synthesizers (eight of them!) and other outboard gear, and today I do everything with just a Windows computer, Cakewalk SONAR, and plug-in effects and soft-synths. Here's my current setup:
Computer: Dell XPS 8940 Core i7 at 5.1 GHz with 32 GB RAM running Windows 10 64-bit, 10 TB of hard drive storage across seven physical drives including back-ups, and twin 24-inch LCD display monitors.
Audio hardware: Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 sound card, Mackie 1202 and Rane MP 24 mixers.
Audio & video software: SONAR, Vegas Video, Encore and MuseScore, Sound Forge, DreamStation software analog synthesizer, sample playback digital synths, Yamaha Visual Arranger, Jammer Professional, Sonitus plug-in pack, and too many other programs, plug-ins, and soft-synths to list individually.
Microphones: 1 pair AKG C-451, 1 pair audio-technica AT-4033, DPA 4090.
Mixdown monitoring is through a pair of Crown PowerBase amplifiers (1,040 watts total), driving JBL 4430 bi-amplified studio monitors, and optionally with a pair of Yamaha NS-10M bookshelf speakers powered by a Sony stereo receiver. I also have a fabulous 5.1 system in my living room home theater at left for mixing surround projects on a Dell laptop.
Acoustic Treatment is far more important than gear, and I have plenty of bass traps and other acoustic treatment in both audio rooms.
You can see this brief video tour of my home studio (2.8 MB Windows Media file), and this video tour of my home theater setup.
Visit the best Musician's Jokes Page on the web: http://www.mit.edu/people/jcb/jokes/Entire contents of this web site Copyright © 1997- by Ethan Winer. All rights reserved.