theme one

welcome back.

i call this one “theme one” (click to listen) because i think of it as the first of a specific collection of “film music with no film.” i wrote it this weekend at my parents place in Missouri, on their piano, in a food coma.

i’ve been getting more and more focused on writing for picture, and at times when no picture is readily available, i’ve written a few things to mental pictures. this pieces mental picture isn’t as specific as some, but i think it leads the minds eye in a certain direction. while i was writing in MO, i started transitioning into entirely different music at the end of the piece, but in this case, chose and recorded and ending to it. in said film, it probably wouldn’t end the way it does in this case.Β  i dunno.


A. the main theme is presented right at the top of the piece, heard in the high voice of the piano…playful but with a bit of a “trouble in paradise” idea.

B. transition material darkens the character a bit, then redeems/lightens (“ah” vocals) the character a bit. this section acknowledges that something mysterious/questionable is abound i think.

A1. the main theme in a new key with slight alterations – a back and forth of light and dark ideas…using a whole tone scale at the end to add escalating tension.

C. transition/truncated theme brightens things up a bit, quoting the theme and creating a nice little “V I” to the end section. a “V I” (five, one) is basically a way to set up a new resting place, or harmonic “home” for the ear. it’s like the “amen” at the end of a hymn, with two chords (five/one or four/one) that say “all-done” or “your home” to the ear.

D. new material – we arrive at this “home” and slow the pace down. the character is tired perhaps, or contemplative. this section goes back and forth between light and dark versions of itself, nodding to that conflict still existing (whatever that conflict is). then, maybe the character falls asleep.

what do you think?

YOUR MISSION, if you choose to be awesome:

come up with a short narrative for this piece and post it as a comment. i have ideas, but they’re pretty open. i’d LOVE to hear yours.


13 Responses to “theme one”

  1. tiny tron Says:

    This is a beautiful piece Mr. Teinmeier. I mean it, I thought I was listening to the soundtrack of A.I.
    Narrative: A world were you never see the sky only light reflected and refracted through translucent walls layered into the thousands. As a race are eyes are always dilated and therefore more prone to visual suggestion as a means to control violence and crime. Someone, of course, gets to the outside, in a very believable way πŸ˜‰ and is blinded by the outside direct sunlight.
    At this point I going to hand the story off in an exquisite corpse manner and let someone else continue the story…

  2. jon steinmeier Says:

    ooh ooh ooh! i love it. thanks benny. ha! πŸ™‚ and thanks. glad you dug it.

  3. Farmer Says:

    Had some thoughts about this a couple of weeks ago, always i tend to forget things like this.

  4. jon steinmeier Says:


    any specific thoughts that come to mind now? this week?

    i understand, i had some thoughts about this a couple of weeks ago too, before it was written, but i’m intrigued by your connection to my creative brain.

    how’d you get in my head?

  5. Jim Says:

    You’ve been writing some beautiful stuff the past couple weeks, Jon. I’m really digging the pleasantness of this one. No time for me to narrate today, but if I were to, it’d be Tim Burton-y.

  6. jon steinmeier Says:

    thanks jim! i really appreciate it.

    tim’s a favorite of mine. πŸ˜‰

  7. Jim Says:

    I lovin’ the “Amen” at the end. It almost makes it Christmas-y somehow. Maybe Christmas-y isn’t the word for it. It’s just…cozy.

  8. jon steinmeier Says:

    ha. i love that it’s an “amen.” that wasn’t conscious, but hearing it that way now is nice. thanks jim.

    it is cozy, huh. πŸ™‚

  9. Mama Steiny Says:

    Well, I listened to this twice without reading your commentary and my imagination took me on a quick journey through someone’s life. I thought of it in a spiritual sense (no surprise there). This person goes along in her wonderful gift filled life with something always missing. That something is spiritual and she finally finds it. In her senior years she reflects on her life, remembering the unrest in her heart before she gave her life to Christ and then the years she lived with the peace of Christ and she dies peacefully.

    It’s a universal story. Terrific Jonathan.

  10. jon steinmeier Says:

    wow…what a story ma.

    i love that it’s such a fulfilling, peaceful story and ending.

    and yes, it is a universal story, and a universal quest perhaps.

    thanks for that!


  11. Sad Brad Says:

    Whoa. That was stunning, jonny. heartbreaking and beautiful. don’t know why, but i saw a man, fully clothed, entering on foot into a body of water. there is an overpass, a stretch of road running over the water and the lights of the passing cars can be seen going by through the evening fog. our hero continues to wade through the water, getting further from view. a car stops on the over pass and someone gets out and leans over the railing, calling out to the man, who stops and adresses the person. we cannot hear what they are saying, but suddenly the man on the over pass climbs over the side, dangling by one arm, and drops into the water. another person has stopped on the bridge and is shining a flashlight down on them and they make as if to swim under the overpass and to the other side as they submerge themselves fully in the water. but they never surface and the man person with the flashlight leaves his/her car where it is and walks off down the overpass and out of view.

  12. Sad Brad Says:

    in the second to last line of my last comment, exchange “man person” for “person” or “man.” Thanks.

  13. jon steinmeier Says:

    oh, hellz yeah brad. i love your story. πŸ™‚

    thanks for the submission.

    we’ll start shooting one or two of these in a few weeks.

    actually, in all seriousness i would love to do that. maybe make a video contest all based around the same music. a set this music to film contest. or just make it a big party where we all view all the films, no competitiion.

    zowie. thanks man.

    you’re a good man person

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