YouTube smalin/musanim channel highlights by year

I've made over a thousand animated graphical score videos
(currently 1007 on the smalin channel, and 393 on the musanim 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.


2021

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.

This Estampie 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 and harpsichord).

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 Andante cantabile 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, Stéphane Delplace.

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.


2020

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:

  • 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)

    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 Willem Tanke
    (previous performers were Anthony Newman, David Yearsley, and myself).
    Other Bach organ music (by BWV): 538, 572, 582, 605, 666, 657.

    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):
    18, 44, 63, 100, 102, 102, 104, 150, 206, 230.
    This video based on the first movement of Bach's 3rd Brandenburg Concerto turned out well;
    I also did ones for the 2nd and 3rd movements of his 6th Brandenburg Concerto.

    Viola da gamba player Alberto Rasi gave me permission to use recordings by him and his ensemble.
    I'd previously worked with keyboard recordings of Bach's Art of Fugue,
    but they're wonderful on string instruments, 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, Andante, Rondo.

    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' Danse macabre).
    These pieces from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite are in a similar vein: March, Russian Dance

    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, Boomba (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 Caro Ortolano,
    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

    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:
    Monti, Czardas
    Grieg, Piano Concerto in A minor (opus ) 1. Allegro molto moderato


    2018

    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

    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

    A big project for this year was Bach's Art of Fugue, based on recordings by Kimiko Ishizaka (playlist, background).

    I'd revisited 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    It was around this time that I started making videos that showed me playing the music, like this: Beethoven, Fur Elise


    2007

    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

    Chopin, Nocturne in D-flat major, opus 27 #2 is my favorite Chopin nocturne, and I've yet to do it justice.


    2005

    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 turned out to be the two of my most-viewed videos of all time (though it took a few years before YouTube really caught on).