YouTube smalin/musanim channel highlights by year
I've made over two thousand animated graphical score videos (currently 1421 on the
Bach, Fantasia and Fugue in A minor (BWV 904)
Bach, Italian Concerto (BWV 971) 3. Presto
Byrd, Passamezzo Pavana
Inglot, The Leaves bee greene.
Scarlatti, Sonata in B minor (K 27)
Scarlatti, Sonata in B-flat major, K 248
Scarlatti, Sonata in E major, K 531
Rameau, Les Sauvages (on guitars)
564 on the musanim channel),
and 52 on the musanim 3D channel), and I
know that if I can't keep track of them, it's unreasonable to expect that of anybody else.
So, to make this easier all around, I've made this list of those that are notable for one reason or another.
Some of these are big projects (many movements, many months of work), some are unusual,
some turned out especially well, and some were just very popular with viewers.
The only thing they all have in common is that I've found occasion to mention them to people from time to time,
and want to keep track of them so that it's easier to remember to recommend them in the future.
There's another page that's a chronological list of techniques I used in YouTube videos (and other milestones),
and there's this page with more general background on the project.
This page was created 2020jun03 and most recently updated 2023nov18.
2023 (226 so far)
One of my wife Christine's earliest exposures to music was George Kleinsinger's Tubby the Tuba;
this year I made a video of it for her (based on Danny Kaye's recording).
A project I worked on for more than a year was based on my collaborator Augustine Esterhammer-Fic's
transcription of the gamelan piece Teruna Jaya.
I made two versions of the video, a pristine version with
just the notes, and a study version that includes measure numbers, section numbers, and pitch lines.
In the 1970s when I was a poor student I splurged on a study score of
Bartók String Quartet No. 4 and
wrote "SOLID GOLD" on the cover. For years, I was too intimidated by the piece to work on it, but in 2022
I decided that the pizzicato movement was simple enough for me, and in 2023 I completed all five movements.
When I finished making the video for
Bach's Réjouissance (from the 4th orchestral suite),
I found that my
eyes were only barely smart enough to follow it, and when a viewer commented that they were having the
same problems, I put together some training wheel videos for it.
Daniil Trifonov's performance of
Franz Liszt's Feux Follets is incredible,
enough that I feel a little bad
making a video, since you ought to watch him playing it.
Oh, and speaking of wonderful performances,
Arcadi Volodos' version of Mozart's Ronda Alla Turca is also incredible.
Ligeti's Lux Aeterna
rocketed into public view when Kubrik used it in 2001, A Space Odyssey.
After completing the video, I watched Mattia Aisemberg's analysis video of it,
I could do a better job showing the piece's structure, which I did in
Can't have too much Mozart; here's his Piano Concerto No. 13: 1, 2, 3
(with Daniel Barenboim).
Esa-Pekka Salonen's piece
Dichotomie 2. Organisme was very interesting to work on;
I wrote him this letter describing my approach to the animation.
Stéphane Delplace's fugue on Henry Mancini's
Pink Panther theme was styled after the
second Contrapunctus in Bach's Art of Fugue.
In 2021, Remy Le Boeuf released his first volume of Vignettes for solo saxophone, and I did videos for
two of them. In 2023, he released volume two, and I did videos for Vignettes 17, 20 and 22.
I couldn't decide what recording of Nikolai Kapustin's Toccatina (Etude opus 40 #3) to use, so I did one
for each of three pianists:
Shan-shan Sun, and
I'd been intending to work on Claude Debussy's
String Quartet in G minor for many years, and in 2023
I finally bit the bullet. It's a wonderful piece.
Everyone knows Ludwig van Beethoven's first version of Für Elise, but his second version (which, like
the first, he never published), is almost unknown. Beethoven called Für Elise a Bagatelle, and in 2023
I also did his Bagatelle in B minor (opus 126 no. 4).
During Brahms' life, horn players were switching from the valveless (natural) French horn to the valved horn,
but he was a fan of the natural horn, and specified it for his
It is widely considered one of the greatest
pieces of chamber music, and the recording I'm using (with Teunis van der Zwaart on natural horn) is exceptional.
Five of Bach's pieces for unaccompanied violoncello are written for a standard 4-string instrument, but the sixth
(BWV 1012, in D major) is scored for an instrument with five strings. One possibility is that he intended it to be
played on a violoncello da spalla, which is what
Sergey Malov uses
in this performance. I also did Bach's first
unaccompanied violin sonata (G minor, BWV 1001),
using a recording by Lara St. John (1,
While we're on the subject of Bach: his sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord are perhaps somewhat less
well-known than his other chamber music, because of the gamba being an "historical" instrument (that not so many
people play these days), and the fact that lines played by the harpsichord are not so easy to hear. But the music is
really good! Vito Paternoster addressed this by
making a version for three (or more) cellos and harpsichord, and
made a recording with all the parts played by himself. I've made videos for five of the eleven movements, and
added them to this playlist.
I also did one of his most spectacular organ pieces, his Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 548 ("The Wedge"),
and some pieces by his eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann (Sinfonia in D minor (F. 65),
the Andante from Sinfonia
in F major, and the first movement of his Sonata for two keyboards).
When I started using Harmonic Coloring to show changes in harmony and tonality,
one of the first pieces I did was
Jupiter from Holst's The Planets, because its quick switches in tonality were very striking, visually.
It turns out that
this was true for the rest of the movements, which I completed 2023.
Two Mozart symphonies this year: the Prague (No. 38) (1,
and No. 39
Two piano pieces: Chopin's Barcarolle
(played by Cyprien Katsaris at his 1999 Carnegie Hall performance), and
Liszt's La Campanella played by Evgeny Kissin.
Both remarkable renditions.
I had fun with the follow-the-leader canon in Benjamin Britten's This Little Babe, from
A Ceremony of Carols.
I'd already done a video of Brahms' In stiller Nacht using Andreas Scholl's lovely recording,
but when I heard
Pink Martini and The von Trapps singing it, I had to do another version.
Christine and I have always loved the Crosby/Stills/Nash song Helplessly Hoping,
so when I found an accurate
transcription of it, I made her a video for it.
2023 was the 400th anniversary of the death of William Byrd, and I'm a big fan, to I took the opportunity to do
several videos of his music: vocal (Sing joyfully unto God our strength),
consort (Fantasia a 3,
Fantasia a 4 no. 1,
The Leaves be Greene),
keyboard (Lord Willobies Welcome Home,
The Galliarde for the Victorie,
The Maidens Songe,
A Voluntarie), and
Canon Six in One (played by viols).
2022 (166 total)
In 2017 I worked on Bach's Art of Fugue using
Kimiko Douglass-Ishizaka's piano recording;
in 2022 I made a version based on The Netherlands Bach Society's
My video of the entire set is here,
this playlist has all the fugues and canons separately,
and this page documents the project.
I'd wanted to do George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue for many, many years, but didn't
feel I could do it justice. This year, I thought "life is short" and made my first attempt.
Here's a page with some background on the project.
2022 is seeing a lot of new Scarlatti sonatas; here are the K. numbers:
When I worked on Danny Clay's Broken Birds V
in 2020, I thought "I'll never do another like that,"
but then I came across David Bruce's oboe decet, To the power of 10, which I had fun exploring,
including with some 3D versions (requiring special glasses/goggles/viewers of one sort or another).
Bartok's 4th string quartet is a masterpiece, and its all-pizzicato movement is remarkable.
The fugue from Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin wasn't included in Ravel's orchestration of the piece,
so it's not as well known as other movements, but it is beautiful, subtle, and sensitive.
When I heard Kinetic's performance of
Beethoven's Grosse Fuge, I knew it was time to revisit the piece.
Here's the result, and here is a
page documenting the project from 2009 to the present.
(Later in the year, I did a video based on
their performance of
Prelude and Fugue for 18-part String Orchestra.)
I was pleased to find that the Musopen String Quartet had recorded Haydn's "The Lark" string quartet,
but dismayed to discover that their recording of the fourth/final movement was incomplete
(and therefore unusable); here are the first three:
I've always been a fan of Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man; it's simple, but I enjoyed working with it.
Mozart's String Quintet in D Major
is a lovely piece, and the last movement is especially stunning.
Working on it led me to discover that Mozart had considered his Quintet in E-flat major (for piano and winds)
to be the best thing he'd ever written, so I did that one too (three versions of each movement).
When I first saw the original manuscript of the
Allemande from Froberger's Suite in E minor,
I decided to include it as part of the video (a first).
Conrad Tao's performance of his Upon Viewing Two Porcelain Figures
is as remarkable as the piece itself.
I also did a video of his performance of Elliott Carter's Catenaires
(which I revisited in 2023 with
a new way of showing the "chain").
2021 (145 total)
The last video for 2021 was my first of the music of Dieterich Buxtehude,
who was perhaps J. S. Bach's greatest influence.
The first seeds of my graphical score project were planted in the 1970s in response to my
experience of J. S. Bach's music for unaccompanied violin and the
I've been working on these pieces ever since, and in 2021 I completed videos for all the
Speaking of Bach: I also completed the Musical Offering set.
For the repeated notes in this Scarlatti sonata, I built a pea-shooter.
This led to videos of several other Scarlatti sonatas.
Two Beethoven videos of note: his Rondo a capriccio, op.129 ("Rage Over a Lost Penny"),
and the Rondo from his violin Concerto.
Uirapuru Song is a visualization of bird song.
is notable because it's the earliest known example of music composed specifically for keyboard.
My collaboration with Remy Le Boeuf
(Vignettes 8 and 1 for solo saxophone) was very satisfying, as was my
collaboration with Anthony Joseph Lanman
(Hammer and Nail for electric guitar and piano).
I also collaborated with two new pianists, Benedetto Boccuzzi (with his luminous performance of
Debussy's Poissons d'or 'Goldfish'),
and Minsoo Hong's flat-out dash through the 18-year-old
Prokofiev's Etude in C minor.
Members of the Music Educators Creating Online Learning
gave me many good suggestions;
the first of these that I worked on was Ligeti's Hungarian Rock
(versions for saxophone ensemble
I continued my work with Boris Giltburg's Beethoven sonata project with
Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp major.
I also did a video for another of his Rachmaninoff renditions, the
from his opus 23 preludes.
Easley Blackwood's Twelve Microtonal Etudes
(opus 28) were groundbreaking at the time they were composed
(in the early 1980s). It took me forty years before I felt I had any idea of what to do with them.
Aaron Andrew Hunt composes tonal contrapuntal music in irregular meters;
I added several to this playlist this year,
as well as a Prelude and Fugue by another contemporary composer of counterpoint he told me about,
Francesco Landini's Che pena è quest' al cor
gave me an opportunity to work on my technique of
showing the harmonic outline of a piece.
I decided that my Fantasy in F needed a remake.
Same for the Frog Round.
2020 (163 total)
Early this year, Colin Booth released his recording of the
second book of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier,
and gave me permission to base animated graphical scores on it;
I worked on this steadily through 2020 and completed it early in 2021;
here's the playlist,
and here are some other harpsichord pieces I worked on in 2020:
I first heard recordings by pianist Boris Giltburg in April,
and immediately wrote him to asked whether he'd like to collaborate.
He had a big project planned for 2020: all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas;
so far, I've used his recordings for
No. 1 in F minor (opus 2 no. 1) and
No. 7 in D major (opus 10 no. 3); I hope to do more.
As a break from Beethoven this year, Giltburg recorded Bach's 15 three-part inventions (aka sinfonias);
his performances can currently be viewed on the Gramophone website;
I will be adding my animated graphical scores to this playlist as I complete them.
As good as Giltburg is at playing Bach and Beethoven, his specialty is Rachmaninov;
so far, I've done one video based on that: Etudes-tableaux (opus 39) 4. Allegro assai
The ORA Singers
commissioned me to make an animated graphical score for Thomas Tallis'
monumental 40-voice motet Spem in alium as part of their
TALLIS 2020 project.
I made about twenty experimental versions,
from which they selected two to publish.
I'd been doing videos of Bach's organ sonatas for several years;
in 2020 I completed the set
(playlist) with recordings by
(previous performers were Anthony Newman, David Yearsley, and myself).
Other Bach organ music (by BWV):
Most of that Bach organ music came from the Netherlands Bach Society's
All of Bach project.
I've been using their recordings a lot; in 2020 I did these movements from cantatas (and motet):
This video based on the
first movement of Bach's 3rd Brandenburg Concerto turned out well;
I also did ones for the
3rd movements of his 6th Brandenburg Concerto.
Viola da gamba player
gave me permission to use recordings by him and
I'd previously worked with keyboard recordings of Bach's Art of Fugue,
but they're wonderful on
so I eagerly started adding to my collection.
I also made videos based on his recordings from gamba sonatas by
J. S. Bach and his son
C. P. E. Bach.
I've been a fan of Brahms' F minor piano quintet for decades,
and therefore jumped at the chance to use the recording by
Joyce Yang and
the Alexander String Quartet in my videos (here's the playlist).
Another 2020 Alexander collaboration was this Mozart clarinet quintet movement.
Other Mozart in 2020 included the
Lacrimosa from the Requiem,
the first movement of the K 515 string quintet,
and perhaps his best known piano sonata (No. 16, C major, K 545): Allegro,
I also had a lot of fun with Vivaldi's Concerto in D minor and
Summer (from the Four Seasons), and
Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, opus 21, 2. Larghetto.
One of my earliest inspirations was Oskar Fischinger's Study Nr. 7 on Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5
(it's inspired a lot of people),
and for many years afterwards, a sense of respect and reverence kept me
from even considering working on it myself, but this year I gave it a go.
(Another orchestral piece I animated this year—for Halloween—was Saint-Saëns'
These pieces from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite are in a similar vein:
2020 was a big year for collaborations and commissions;
in addition to the ORA Singers' Spem in alium (above) project, I worked on these:
Michael Barry, Exercise in Delirium,
(and I describe how I made this video here)
Danny Clay, Broken Birds V
Daniel Mulhern, Flow State Vestida 3
In 2020, I designed a new renderer (which I named VRingTheta) that turned out to be
effective for smoothly-moving vocal and instrumental (brass, wind, bowed string) lines.
I used this on the Barry commission, and for several pieces of Renaissance polyphony:
Giovanni Coperario, Fantasia a4 in A minor
Giovanni Coperario, Fantasia a6 'al folgorante sguardo'
Giovanni Gabrieli, Beata es Virgo Maria
Giovanni Gabrieli, Sonata Pian e Forte
Giovanni Gabrieli, Canzon II a 4
Giovanni Gabrieli, Canzon IV a 4
Orlando Gibbons, Fantasia 2 a 6
John Jenkins, Fantasia a 6 in C minor
John Dowland, Earl of Essex Galliard
I have a special affection for the rackett,
an instrument most people haven't heard of (let alone heard),
so when I came across this performance of Giorgio Mainerio's
I knew I had to do my part to spread the word.
Because of the pandemic, the Sphaera Mundi Orquestra
did a virtual performance of
Telemann's Quixote Burlesque, Attack of the Windmills.
They are an exceptional ensemble,
and I also collaborated with them on this video of Handel's
Concerto Grosso in F major
(n.b. this is a rare video in which both the performance and the animation are shown).
When my beloved composition teacher, fellow fugue lover, and mensch
Stanley Dale Krebs died,
I wrote this fugue in his memory.
2020 featured additions to the Canons page,
including a rhythmically-vigorous one by Giovanni Dettori,
and a complex double canon in retrograde by Igor Stravinsky.
2019 (154 total)
In early 2019, the Alexander String Quartet and I agreed that we ought to collaborate on
all of Beethoven's string quartets
in recognition of the 250th anniversary of his birth, and a lot of my time in 2019 went toward that.
I also worked on string quartets by Mozart and Haydn and other composers;
here are a couple that turned out especially well IMO:
Mozart, String Quartet No. 14 in G major ("Spring" K 387), 4. Molto Allegro
Bartok, String Quartet No. 2, 2. Allegro molto capriccioso
(Incidentally: in 2020, I completed videos for all of Haydn's Opus 20 quartets).
I'd done videos of Pachelbel's Canon over the years; in 2019 I revisited it with a version I think is the best so far.
These two turned out to be especially flashy and effective:
Grieg, Piano Concerto in A minor (opus ) 1. Allegro molto moderato
2018 (117 total)
This year I met and began collaborating with Bruce Levingston, starting with Glass, Etudes for Piano, Book 1, No. 6
When I first heard this piece (at the fifth concert of the Opus Project),
I wanted to visualize it; finally, I did:
Rachmaninoff, Les Larmes
I'd long admired this piece: Ravel, La valse
Another amazing example of Ravel's orchestration (and Jay Bacal's realization) Ravel, Daphnis et Chloé, Bacchanal
This piece (along with the 4th Brandenburg Concerto) was what inspired this project: Bach, Chaconne in D minor
This piece was long magical for me: Josquin des Prez, Ave Maria (virgo serena, motet)
I did a lot of new things in this one: Chopin, Fantaisie in F minor, opus 49
This was very popular: Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major (K. 467), Andante
2017 (67 total)
A big project for this year was Bach's Art of Fugue, based on recordings by Kimiko Ishizaka (playlist, background).
Beethoven's Grosse Fuge several times over the years; this version is (IMO) the most successful.
This was a big year for Vivaldi:
Four Seasons, Winter
Flautino Concerto in C major, 1st movement
A Rain of Tears ("Sento in seno")
2016 (109 total)
A big project I worked on this year was the First book of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier,
performed by Kimiko Ishizaka (playlist).
It was Christine's idea to overlay each variation over the previous ones: Mozart, Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" (Twinkle, Twinkle)
(This video was also in the in the Tough Art exhibit at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, as was Pachelbel, Canon in D.)
I made new versions of some previously-popular videos:
Beethoven, Symphony 7, 2. Allegretto
Mozart, Symphony No. 40 in G minor (K. 550) 1. Allegro
Debussy, Prelude to 'The Afternoon of a Faun'
Debussy, Clair de lune
I really should do more of these: Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor (opus 37) 1. Allegro con brio
This is not a music video: Pythagoras, Pythagorean Theorem
2015 (52 total)
Christine (we later married) suggested I do this wonderful piece: Grainger, Children's March
(In 2016, this video was included in the Tough Art exhibit at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.)
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of my first YouTube videos, I made a new version of Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor
I did several videos of Sousa marches this year (playlist);
in this one, I tried a technique of compressing octave doublings to reduce clutter: Sousa, Semper Fidelis
No surprise that this was popular: Mozart, Sonata for Two Pianos (K 448) 1. Allegro
2014 (38 total)
This one is unusual in that percussive rhythm plays a big part: Rivera, Cumba-Quin
This is a cool piece and the video was deservedly popular: Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor (K. 466) 1. Allegro
2013 (97 total)
In 2012 I began working on Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its 1913 premiere.
J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto 4 in G major was what originally motivated me to make animated graphical scores,
so I paid a hefty license fee to use a good recording for this video.
My experiments with connecting notes with curves (that started in 2011) led to Debussy, Syrinx,
... and my experiments with Chromadepth 3D led to Tallis, Spem in alium
I liked the way this turned out: Ligeti, 6 Bagatelles, 3. Allegro grazioso
The animation is nothing special, but the singing is: Foreign Lander
And these were very popular:
Bach, Fugue in G minor ("Little" BWV)
Mozart, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Mozart, Symphony 25 in G minor (K. 183) 1. Allegro
Schubert, Piano Trio in E-flat major, 2.
Chopin, Fantasie-Impromptu, opus 66
2012 (53 total)
A big project started this year: Bach's Goldberg Variations, played by Colin Booth; here's the playlist.
I did some more Debussy: Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum and
Prelude to 'The Afternoon of a Faun'
This was also when I did a composition/performance by a well-known, non-classical artist: Wick, Aero
I got a little more into playing the organ, with Bach, Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 and
Bach, Ricercar a 6 (from The Musical Offering)
And these two videos turned out to be very popular with viewers:
Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto E minor, 1. Allegro molto appassionato
Mozart, Symphony 41, ("Jupiter," K. 551) 4. Allegro
2011 (20 total)
The biggest project of the year was Beethoven's 9th Symphony; here's the playlist.
This was also when I started collaborating with pianist James Boyk, with Debussy, Reflets dans l'eau
2010 (44 total)
This was a turning point year for me in several ways.
The key was that I retired from my "day job" so that I could work on this project full-time.
This gave me time to take stock and start exploring the ideas that inspired me in the first place:
having the score "come alive" by moving in ways that reflected what the music was doing.
This led to the "balls" animation I used in Debussy, Arabesque #1, Piano Solo
I also used this for a Chopin nocturne: Chopin, Nocturne in E-flat Major, opus 9 no. 2
Both of these were very popular with viewers.
Another popular one was Vivaldi, Winter, Four Seasons (Allegro)
2010 was also the year I did my first videos based on Beethoven string quartets:
including his Grosse Fuge, opus 133 (about which more later)
And, I experimented with some new technology, including a vocoder ... Bach, Fugue in C-sharp minor, WTC I, BWV 849 ...
... and 3D glasses ... Albeniz, Asturias (Leyenda) (see this for background on these special glasses)
2009 (25 total)
This was when I first developed a system for synchronizing my animated graphical scores to existing recordings.
(Prior to this, I could only make the animation and the audio from the same MIDI data.) The first piece I did that way was:
Bach, Air ("on the G string") from the Third Orchestral Suite in D major, BWV 1068
I also made videos for two of the most iconic instrumental pieces by Bach and Beethoven:
Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, 1. Allegro
Beethoven, Symphony 5, 1. Allegro
I'd always been a fan of this piece, so I did that too: Sousa, Stars and Stripes Forever
And, I continued to make a few videos showing my hands playing:
Bach, Fugue in C Major, WTC I, BWV 846
Bach, Art of Fugue, Contrapunctus 9
Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor (opus 27 no. 2, "Moonlight") 1. Adagio sostenuto
2008 (12 total)
It was around this time that I started making videos that showed me playing the music, like this: Beethoven, Fur Elise
2007 (11 total)
This is the year that I got some new electronic instruments to use in my videos.
One was a sampled fortepiano, which I used in Bach, Fugue in G minor ("Little", BWV 578)
The other was an Ahlborn-Galanti pipe organ module, which I used in Bach, Organ Sonata No. 3 in D minor (BWV 527) 3. Allegro
2006 (8 total)
Chopin, Nocturne in D-flat major, opus 27 #2 is my favorite Chopin nocturne, and I've yet to do it justice.
2005 (5 total)
Before the internet, I shared my work by showing it to people in person (on my computer),
making VHS videotapes (and, later, DVDs), and through Classic Arts Showcase.
When YouTube first appeared in 2005, I didn't know whether it would be an effective way to distribute my videos,
and decided to give it a try with some videos I'd made in the past, including:
Debussy, Clair de lune (which I'd made at a friend's request a few years earlier), and
Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
(which I'd made in 1996 for a commission).
These ended up being my two most-viewed videos of all time (though it took a few years before YouTube really caught on).