Opening the Musical Vault

If you enjoy any of the music available on this site, today is your lucky day.

After several weeks of work, I’ve completed full remastering of six – yes, SIX – pieces of music from the Tanner Helland musical vault. These six pieces have never been posted to this site before, so you’re in for a real treat. (If you ever visited the original Kroc Camen version of tannerhelland.com, you may have heard several of these pieces – but not all!)

The pieces range from a fiddle jig to an epic castle assault to a honky-tonk villain theme.

Yeah. They’re THAT sweet.

I’ve post-dated the songs to periodically post themselves over the next 6 weeks. Subscribe to music updates specifically via the following feed:

http://www.tannerhelland.com/category/music/feed/

In the meantime, enjoy the new dedicated page for “Deeper” – my latest techno dungeon theme.

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

Song: Deeper

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg FLAC MIDI

“Deeper” is a new type of music for me – a techno dungeon theme with a bunch of cool non-MIDI sounds. Exciting, right?

As you’ve probably guessed, “Deeper” has been designed as background music (meant to have narration over the top of it), which explains the largely benign instrument choices. Also of note is that I’ve had no choice but to cut down the MIDI track because the mp3/ogg versions use some unorthodox instruments that don’t translate into MIDI. (Listen for the low gong in the first few seconds, as one example.)

Something else I’m excited about is that “Deeper” uses an all-new guitar soundfont, which I think works well in this context. It’s quite grungy, and I think it melds nicely with the heavy synth instrumentation.

To give you a feel for the thematic setting of this piece, think of a sci-fi hero quietly sneaking through an alien lair. When the music escalates, the hero makes a run for it after being detected by his otherwordly enemies…

Creative Commons License

"Deeper" by Tanner Helland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be obtained here.

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

One New Song, Three “Remasters”

First, direct links to the three remastered songs:

Alagaesia and Eragon (Piano Solo) – MIDI (15kb)

Alagaesia and Eragon (Piano Solo) – mp3 (8.1mb)

Alagaesia and Eragon (Piano Solo) – ogg (5.7mb)

A Memory Away – MIDI (10kb)

A Memory Away – mp3 (3.9mb)

A Memory Away – ogg (3.4mb)

Clowns – MIDI (15kb)

Clowns – mp3 (2.5mb)

Clowns – ogg (2.0mb)

And something quite rare – an entirely new, never-before-published track. Woohoo!

Deeper – MIDI (27kb)

Deeper – mp3 (7.7mb)

Deeper – ogg (6.7mb)

“Deeper” is an experimental track for an unannounced project. Sorry I can’t be more specific than that. :)

So what can I say about it?

Well, I can say that it has been designed as background music (meant to have narration over the top of it), which explains the largely benign instrument choices. Also of note is that I’ve had no choice but to cut down the MIDI track because the mp3/ogg versions use some unorthodox instruments that don’t translate into MIDI. Finally, “Deeper” also uses an all-new guitar soundfont, which I think works well in this context.

And yes – more new music and additional “remasters” are on the way!

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

Music: A Taste of What’s to Come

I’m quite excited about this post.

Finally – after YEARS of avoidance – I have started taking the time to properly arrange and master the music available on this site.  This is a rather involved process; it involves hours of soundfont hunting, instrument tweaking, checking and re-checking levels, normalizing and compressing, and any number of smaller steps in-between depending on the particular song.  Because this process is so involved, I’ve failed to set aside the proper time for it, instead choosing to make my music available in various states of “almost finished.”

But no longer.

Here – for your listening pleasure – are two tracks familiar to anyone who has frequented the site in recent years… only they’ve been given proper treatment (meaning they sound a bajillion times better than previous versions):

Aerith’s Theme (Piano Solo) – MIDI (8kb)

Aerith’s Theme (Piano Solo) – mp3 (5.8mb)

Aerith’s Theme (Piano Solo) – ogg (4.2mb)

Retribution – MIDI (51kb)

Retribution – mp3 (6.1mb)

Retribution – ogg (5.0mb)

mp3s are available as high-quality VBR encodings (220-260kbps), with the ogg versions roughly equivalent.  Unlike previous versions of these tracks, proper compression and normalizing means each song will fit nicely into any playlist, with each track playing at a proper, standard volume.

I’m particularly happy with the way Aerith’s Theme turned out.   The new version uses a carefully tuned Steinway-based soundfont, and I’ve finally put my excellent Audigy2 ZS to use in getting the envelope hold, decay, and release working as it should.  The track sounds quite good considering it was recorded over MIDI from a 20-year-old keyboard.

Retribution sounds fairly similar to its original version in terms of actual instrumentation.  Some of the more grating tracks have been toned down, and I’ve swapped the piano for a celesta (it meshes better with the other instruments IMO).  Repetition on the percussion track has been cut down, and I’ve finally solved the problem of static on the loud sections.

Many additional, minor changes have gone into the remastering of these tracks, and I’m very pleased with how they’ve turned out.

Every song on the site will be getting similar treatment in the coming weeks, and every track will eventually be released in both mp3 and ogg versions (as well as the original MIDI when applicable).  I debated supplying FLAC versions as well, but the filesize simply isn’t practical.  Additionally, since these are not “live” productions, the extra “quality” FLAC affords really isn’t worth the extra time it requires.

If you have any feedback, do let me know.  Otherwise, enjoy music that is finally getting the treatment it deserves!

(And as always, all original music on this site has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License – so send copies to all your friends!  :)

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

Get It While It’s Hot – the Complete TannerHelland.com Music Collection

For the first time ever, the complete TannerHelland.com music collection is available for download.  By downloading this one .zip file, you will have access to all 42 full-length songs currently available on this site.

Enjoy the music!

Download the Complete TannerHelland.com Music Collection (97mb)


Technical Specs

Number of songs: 42

Format: mp3 (192 kbps, stereo)

Running length: ~1 hour 20 minutes

Included songs: Aerith’s Theme (Piano Solo), Alagaesia and Eragon, A Memory Away, “Bloody Tears” Remix, Carol of the Bells (Ukranian Bell Carol), Clowns, Crossroads, Dark Knight, Defiance, Defiance v2, Deserve to be Loved, Destiny, DragonFyre’s White Knights Remix, Faith, Faith (Chase Remix), Faith (Love Remix), Familiar Roads, Fate, Find You, Find You (March Remix), From Here, Halls of Despair, Hidden Tears, Home, King of the Desert, Leaving Millie, Leaving Millie (Live), Lost Islands, March of the Zargansk, Nevermore, Now or Never, Ominosity, Purgatory’s Mansion, Reign of Anarchy, Remember, Retribution, Surreptitious, The Haunting, The Journey (Kroc’s Theme), Tiberian National Anthem, Unknown, Wild Waters Theme Song

Creative Commons License

All songs in this collection are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License unless otherwise noted.

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

New Music Phase 1: Complete

Great news!  Phase 1 of my “new music project” is now complete.  Here’s what Phase 1 involved:

1) Fixing dissonance, inconsistencies, and poor orchestration in existing MIDIs

Every MIDI on the site has been tweaked at least slightly, and more than one has received a fairly significant overhaul.  Many of the drum tracks have been edited to be less repetitive and more dynamic (especially under soundfonts).

2) New articles for each song

Originally, I had just cut-and-paste song description text from my old studio website.  Now each song has a real article with very visible download links at the top.

3) Remixing all existing mp3s with top quality soundfonts

Many of my previous mp3s were built using the default XP soundfont…which was not good.  New mp3 tracks, built off a variety of excellent soundfonts, are available for the following songs:

**A Memory Away**
Clowns
Crossroads
Dark Knight
**Deserve To Be Loved**
**Destiny**
DragonFyre’s White Knights Remix
Faith
Faith (Love Remix)
Fate
Find You
**From Here**
Halls of Despair
Hidden Tears
Home
**Lost Islands**
March of the Zargansk
Nevermore (Game Over)
Now or Never
**Ominosity**
Purgatory’s Mansion
Reign of Anarchy
Remember
Surreptitious
Tiberian National Anthem

Quite the list, eh?  I’ve marked my favorite remixes with asterisks.  (Some of the songs are completely different under the new soundfonts – SO much better.)

4) Create new mp3s for MIDI-only songs

Three songs on the site were only available in MIDI format…but no longer!  Each of these now has a custom-mixed mp3, and each is well worth a listen:

The Haunting
Unknown
Wild Waters Theme Song

In Conclusion

Enjoy the new music!  If you notice any broken links, or if you dislike any of the new tracks please let me know ASAP so I can fix things up.

And if I don’t hear from you, I’ll just assume you completely loved everything.  :)

P.S.  Now begins Phase 2 of my “new music project” – finishing and mixing songs I’ve already written, but that have never made it online.  There’s a good chunk of content there, so subscribe to the RSS feed to stay on top of updates!

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

Song: Defiance – REMIXED

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg MIDI

What better way to release some new music than this – a remix of one of my favorite rock themes.  Video game battle themes have moved away from orchestral themes in recent years, opting instead to use a lot more guitars and drums.

Thus we have the newly remixed Defiance.  Soundfonts have been used to render the entire song, and a new intro lends itself more to classic RPG boss battle themes.  The end of the song has also been remixed, including more than 60 seconds of new material.  This remix originally appeared in the TGP/TLA project of 2000-2001, but I’ve never released it online.

So here you go!  Enjoy the new tune, and if you’d like to compare it to its predecessor, the old Defiance theme is available here:

http://www.tannerhelland.com/26/defiance/

Creative Commons License

"Defiance - REMIXED" by Tanner Helland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be obtained here.

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!

NEW MUSIC!! Can you believe it?!

My friends, the wait is over.  I am FINALLY getting around to updating the music on this site.

I know, I know – it’s been (literally) years since I made any updates to my music entries, but in all fairness I’ve been a busy man.  Working full-time, writing a 400 page novel, and being married to my best friend all consume a lot of time.

But no more excuses!  I’ve finished my novel and am currently working on signing up an agent, so with my newfound free time I’m working on updating my poor, forgotten music.

Here’s how this is going to work.

Starting with my earliest music entries, I’m rewriting each song description/article.  The old descriptions were thrown together in haste, then cut-and-pasted from T.H.I.S. (Tanner Helland Independent Sound, my old music studio), and they are in desperate need of a rewrite.  So first things first, the descriptions are being rewritten.  (This includes writing proper excerpts so song pages aren’t useless on the search results screen.)

Next, I am tweaking and fine-tuning the MIDIs for all MIDI-based songs.  This includes remixing most of my drum tracks, stripping out dissonant notes, and cleaning up sloppy orchestration.  This is the most time-consuming step of the process and most of you probably won’t even notice these little changes.

But that’s okay, because you will notice the final step in my revamp process.

The final step is to produce all MIDIs with full soundfont orchestration.  Previously, most of my MIDIs were generated with the default XP soundfont, leaving them sounding tinny, synthesized, and weak.  While professional soundfonts aren’t quite up to par with a real orchestra/rock band (obviously), they are markedly better than the default XP soundfont – and the corresponding difference in my music will be huge.  For example, check out Ominosity (old mp3 and new mp3) and Surreptitious (old mp3 and new mp3).  Notice the difference?

As each song is updated, the old mp3 will be renamed as <songname>_old.mp3 if you’d like to compare versions.  Otherwise, keep an eye out for updates as I work my way through my large music repository.

I am also looking into licensing all my music under a Creative Commons license, which I think would be a great move.  I’ll let you know if this formally happens.

Finally, if you’ve never listened to any of my music, now would be a good time!  :)  Here are some of my favorite tracks to get you started:

Bloody Tears (Castlevania II Remix)

Leaving Millie

Retribution

FFVII – Aerith’s Theme (Remix for Solo Piano)

And – dare I say it – once all my existing songs have been updated, you may even get to see some all-new, totally original music.

<gasp>

Stay tuned!

Song: Aerith’s Theme – an impromptu piano solo

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg FLAC MIDI

Okay – I’ve finally had it.  I have listened to so many mediocre arrangements of this song that it’s finally time to write a good one.

For those who don’t know (shame on you), Aerith’s Theme comes from quite possibly the greatest game of all time: Final Fantasy VII.  The theme is beautiful, and many artists have attempted to arrange it in a variety of styles.  Most are terrible; a rare few turn out very nice.  I hope that this intermediate-level arrangement fits the latter description…  ;)

I hesitated to post this song since it is, as described, an impromptu performance.  I haven’t edited the recorded MIDI at all.  What you hear is straight how it came outta my fingers, sloppy runs and all.  But I feel like it’s important to post a good, original, live arrangement of this piece on the internet since most the amateur versions out there sound like they came out of a Lv3 Alfred Book.  Argh.  This is certainly a more varied, lively performance than the ones I’ve heard so far.  (And no, I haven’t heard the Piano Collections arrangement of this, unfortunately.  I imagine it’s quite good!)

It is also worth mentioning that this was arranged by ear, without any source notation.  The mp3 and ogg files are soundfont-generated and NOT from an actual piano.  I apologize for that, but alas – no recording studio + Yamaha Disklavier yet!  Someday!!  :D

Comments/requests for additional FF arrangements are welcome.

Creative Commons License

This arrangement of “Aerith’s Theme” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. The original song is ©1997 Square Co., Ltd.

Song: Alagaesia and Eragon – a piano tribute

Listen online:last.fm

Download song: mp3 Ogg FLAC MIDI

After reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini, I was struck by the awesomeness of a teenager making the New York Times Bestseller list with his first novel.  If that’s not living the “American Dream,” I don’t know what is.

Anyway, the book is quite good and I am very impressed by Chris’s accomplishment.  So in honor of him and his first novel, I’ve written a piano tribute to my two favorite parts of the book: the world of Alagaesia and the protagonist Eragon.  This piano piece begins and ends with an Alagaesian theme while the middle section is a tribute to Eragon.  I hope it does both justice.

This was recorded off my old Roland HP-30006 keyboard and synthesized via a very nice Steinway-based soundfont.  Yes, an actual live recording will always sound better, but this will have to do until I can afford an actual Steinway. (Which, according to my calculations, should be sometime around 1 Jan 2135).

Creative Commons License

"Alagaesia and Eragon" by Tanner Helland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be obtained here.

This site - and its many free downloads - are 100% funded by donations. Please consider a small contribution to fund server costs and to help me support my family. Even $1.00 helps. Thank you!