If properly done, film music acts as a bed for narration or images, and should blend seamlessly into the fabric of a project. It shouldn’t call attention to itself; it should support, not dominate; and yet have a life of its own. A pretty tall order. And one I’ve attempted to reach on the following cuts, which are currently featured in films, radio and TV programs, ad campaigns, and other media. Some of these cuts are complete versions. Others are shortened versions of longer pieces.
I don’t mind if you download these songs for your own use. If you do, I’d appreciate attribution:
Greg Smith, composer and performer
About the Songs
1-3: The first cut is from a film I scored entitled, On the Edge of Land and Sea. In this first cut, the opening aerial shot swoops down past a lighthouse, and over the open water. The next cut was used in an underwater sequence in the film. And finally, there’s the end credit music.
4-6: This is the main theme for NPR’s daily news program, Talk of the Nation. This project required composing numerous variations on the main theme for insertion in different parts of the program, to reflect a variety of changing moods determined by the stories they presented. Here’s a jazz version of the main theme, as well as a downtempo variation, which they use under more serious news stories. I call it, “The Bad Day Theme.”
7. This next cut was composed for a book on tape. I call it, “Before the Storm.”
8. Here’s a cut for a TV and radio ad campaign for a client that needed a slightly manic, uptempo piece of music.
9. We recently completed a number of TV spots for a documentary-style ad campaign which highlighted the devastation of a war-torn country and its people. In this cut, the music was composed to match the picture, which started with images of desolate landscape and refugees, and then halfway through, transitioned to more hopeful images of resolution and quiet triumph. The music was written so it followed the transition as well.
10. Here’s another theme I wrote for NPR, the main theme to the Motley Fool radio show. The harpsichord at the top pays homage to the company image of a Shakespearean fool, which is on all their publications and their website. The theme then transitions into an uptempo bed. (By the way, there were dozens of variations on that main theme, which were written and are used throughout the program, from full band to single instrument versions.)
11. This next cut is from an album of music I composed on my own. I lifted this cut for an ad campaign that needed something strong and upbeat.
12. Here’s a cut written for another part of the war documentary spots I mentioned earlier. It carries a quiet, uplifting melody.
13. The first is the main theme to their daily news program, Day to Day. The program is based in Los Angeles and broadcast nationwide. In describing what he wanted, the producer of the program said he wanted a theme that reflected the Latino base of LA, something urban and hip, and yet something that wouldn’t alienate NPR’s core of classical music listeners. This is what I wrote, and it is now on the air.
14. Here’s another NPR theme, this one written for Weekend Edition Sunday. They were developing a new segment, which featured the most interesting news soundbites of the past week, and we needed something they could play under any cut they came with, whether it was happy or sad, triumphant or tragic, silly or serious. So I looked through dozens of cuts of prerecorded music and couldn’t find anything that fit. But I could hear in my head what I wanted, so I wrote this. They loved it, and it’s been on the air for years now. It’s called, “Voices in the News.”
15. Finally, here’s a piece of music I wrote for an album. The original string part ran under a piano/vocal ballad, and I liked the performance by this quartet so much, that I pulled it out to include it here. I call this cut, “God’s Own Strings.”