Archive for the ‘instrumental’ Category


March 23, 2009

this is a track i made for 411God, a project that i compose music for weekly.  this one was particular satisfying for me.  prolly in a couple of weeks, you can hear the final version with the voice-over at

i’ve been writing for this project for a little over a year now, and it’s been a great way to get lots of short ideas out and expand my pallate as i go.  it’s essentially what’s replaced the “song a week” project for me.  perhaps i’ll post some more of these favorites as i go.  maybe weekly!  i always appreciate the feedback and support of my friends, and it’s a nice way to review what i’m making and how things are progressing (or not).

thanks for listening!


floyd goes to the open mic

June 5, 2008

episode four:

floyd’s really nervous about going to open mic night.  he’s got some songs he’s been dying to try out live, but he’s nervous that they won’t go over well, and generally has a hard time with social scenes.

listen, and see how it goes.


this was another experiement for me, initially to find a way to combine a lots of instruments without maxing out my computer completely.  i ended up with a lot of instruments, all generally playing minimal parts.  i wanted lots of different color’s, and wanted to play with more instruments than i have been.  so i started a session of about 5 or 6 orchestral instruments or sections, then 5 or 6 more in another file, and so on, until i had about 4 sessions going, that all got mixed into the final live recordings.  the last step (live stuff) was the melodica, some sound effects, guitar and vocals, and mixing the end to sound cinematic, with volume and panning choices.  considering the number of things going on, and time it took, it feels very short to me now, but hopefully effective.  let me know what you think!  this was also fun, because it started without any clear idea, just sound and idea searching.  the one thing i wanted was the sneaky/creapy/pensive thing, which influenced some of the instrument and note choices.  the entire openning of the piece takes place inside floyd’s head, until he gets out of his head and into a bar at the end of the piece, and makes his decision on the “open mic” experience.

thanks for listening!

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idle engine

February 15, 2008

idle engine” (mp3)

oh man.

this one is in some strange intrumental form. and is, by all means, by all accounts, completely finished. done.


not sure what else to say about it right now.

it was one of those weeks where you come up with 5 ideas and can’t manage to be satisfied with any of them. ack.

so, now i’m going for a walk.

happy new year

January 3, 2008

hey lovers.

welcome to the jon steinmeier song a week turbo-toasting automatic static processing class blaster robot handkerchief chug-a-lug bug blog, and happy new year.

this weeks entry celebrates one solid year of “song a week”ing and is called “0708,” really obviously and unimaginatively of course. CLICK HEAR (mp3)

the openning material was written over christmas time at the steinmeier HQ in jefferson city missouri, and started as an ode to 2007 (really, i’m serious) that i was going to develop into an ode to ’08, or just to the idea of marking a year in the life and having hopes or expectations for the next period. i got caught up in the moving lines of this openning theme and it quickly ceased to be programmatic. i came back to chicago at the end of last week and continued to flesh it out a bit, tweeked and expanded, and recorded it.

the second “half” of the piece was originally going to represent 2008 (stupid i know) but then i realized that i don’t know anything about 2008, so i just made it a rocker. maybe a bit butt-rawk at times, but hey, live a little.

throughout the piece i use the same bit of thematic material, which i think helps it feel like one piece instead of two. it’s an A and a B, a jeckyl and hyde, a before and after, etc…of the same theme that’s presented in the first 2 or 3 bars of the piece. i love this approach of taking a small idea and using or overusing it from beginning to end of a song. beethoven did this a lot (far better than i), taking a very short idea, and expanding it into hours of masterful orchestration and developement.

also, the middle section of the piece is in 7/8, meaning it has seven beats in every measure and feels funny because we’re used to hearing 4 or 8, some even number of beats. this originally was going to be a transition from 7/8 to 8/8 as a symbolic turn of the year marker, but ended up being a transition from 7/8 to 14/8. oops.

it’s a total failure. hope you like it.


weaf hear

December 23, 2007

weaf hear” (mp3)

well, the title was originally “we fear” and was lyrically brilliant and awe inspiring, but i hated it. so, it turned into a guitary instrumental, that i like, changed the title to “we fear instrumental” as that version of the protools bounce, and then to ‘we fear instrumentals” as the new title, hated it, and changed it to “weaf hear” which means nothing and makes me smile (not on the outside, on the inside).

it’s written about the birth of jesus, of course.

merry christmas. tune in next week for some new years songwriting magic.


romance by request

August 3, 2007

hey kids! welcome back. thanks for tuning in to steinyradio. this weeks song is called “romance by request” and goes into that semi-cinematic orchestral category.

the goal: i started out attempting to write a romance theme, and feel like i ended up somewhere closer to tragic romance, or lost love. i think my subconscious connects to that…

A. because the thought of the straight-ahead romance theme felt a bit cheezy to me, and is pretty tough to pull off without ending up sort of comedic (if you’re me). 🙂

B. because i’ve always found the bittersweet or just plain tragic sounding scoring to really get me in the eyeballs. i think the connection between love and tragedy is intrinsic, and unavoidable…from lost love to concern or mourning those you love. i wonder if this is also affected by my faith and idea of sacrificial love, the impetus for some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking stories we know and can come up with.

so, “romance by request” is a bit darker than i had originally intended, but weaves back and forth between light and dark throughout. i always hope that this sort of movement sounds smooth and natural, but i feel like there are moments in this one where it’s a bit obvious. it’s also possibly a bit long. 🙂 but here’s some technical stuff:

a. i wrote the harmonic (chordal) movement first and melody second…not always a good idea. 😉 but the harmonic movement became a theme in itself in a way, in that when it comes back toward the end of the piece i think it’s recognizable, this time with an entirely different melody on top.

b. the weaving i was talking about happens mostly in the big sections (about four of ’em in the piece). mostly from dark to light to dark to light, if you simplify it. actually, this is a really good question for my faithful audience (mom?): “what’s the emtional contour of the piece by your ear?” you could think of it in terms of A/B/AA/BB forms for example, or:


or even


ultimately, this is a piece i’m happy with but not trilled by. i think its drawback is that you probably won’t have the melody stuck in your head…and, even though i went for the conflict of emotions angle, it’s still a bit cheezy to me. 🙂 maybe that’s good though. it’s underrated after all.


tune in next week for more bore!

take flight

July 21, 2007

alrighty…the first “orchestral” installment of the jon steinmeier awesome wordpress music funtime blog machineTM is called “take flight.” (click it!)

my roommate lena and i recently watched CRIMSON TIDE staring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington, a big submarine, right and wrong, duty, and appropriately tense and somehow strangely patriotic feeling music. i started writing something jolly and orchestral a day later (or maybe that day) starting with the cello line in the intro, thinking very baroque/classically, when my subconscious started to bring in this american blockbuster action drama character and the bass and percussion parts started to develop. i think the ascending (sort of triumphant) trumpet line came next. so, i went with this idea…and got a little more tense (action) and a little more concerned (drama) with this two part horn line part that shows up about half way through…all building to what i think is the interesting part of the piece, the big, loud, somewhat dissonant transition back into the openning material…bla bla bla.




July 21, 2007

alrighty team. here’s the first steiny new music blog! zowie. “counterweight” is a two part fugue for piano. i didn’t stick to the fugue criteria strickly, but used it as a road map, or inspiration for the piece. for example, the openning few bars of the right hand part (the higher of the two voices) is the theme, actually in a theme A and theme B sort of way over the first eight bars. the second voice (left hand, lower register) begins the theme one beat after the right had starts, creating a canon for a few beats, but then veering from that into a combination of accompaniment and counterpoint.

ok…here’s the idea. that main theme shows up throughout the piece, in both voices at different times. but i also cut up the theme into it’s smaller ideas, such as the ONE E AND (du du du) rhythm that appears throughout, my idea being to base everything in the piece directly or indirectly on those first few bars. you might have a listen and try to find all the places where said theme appears, sometimes in the way it was originally presented and sometimes a little screwy…speaking of which, part of the fun i had with this one was making the original thematic material go “outside” the key a little (why it sounds a little weird, or dissonant) and making the variations or mutations of this theme get even more dissonant, or “outside.” to get a better idea, you could play a theme on the piano on all white keys (maybe starting on C), and at some point, throw a few consecutive black keys in the mix and notice that the whole thing feels like it’s gotten a little jekyll and hydeee. 🙂

along the lines of the fugue, what i did was present a short version of the theme (first couple of bars) starting in different keys throughout the piece, firstly at the FIFTH of the original key. later, it shows up at the original ONE again, but the intervals are all EXPANDED (bigger jumps), and then it shows up in the left hand at the minor 7th of the orginal key, then the original again in the RH, then the minor 7th again, then the 4th of the key, and then i just sort of wrote my way out, using rhythms and harmonic ideas from the previous material.

ack…sorry. what i hope you would do with anything like this (especially the bach inventions) is just listen for that “theme” or main idea from the beginning of the piece and see if you can hear it appearing elsewhere in the piece, even if it’s just “close” and not exactly the same.


thanks for listening.