Native American Background Music

native american music royalty freeNative American Background Music Package:
A great value package of 6 Native American tracks, from Film and TV composer Alex Khaskin.

The collection comprises of dark, brooding underscores, full of mystery and spirituality, conjuring up images of a dark Alaskan landscape.

Native Soul – Edit 1
A dark underscore using Native American Indian flute, percussion and subtle vocal effects.

Native Secret – Edit 1
Opens with a Native American Indian Flute the percussion and subtle modern effects are added at 32s. More optimistic sounding

Native Mystery – Edit 1
A slow, broody, mysterious piece with Native American Indian flute and percussion

Native Legend – Edit 1
A quiet, dark piece with light percussion at 62 seconds. Native American flute

Native Fire – Edit 1
A dark, mysterious Native American Indian underscore.Wooden flute, vocal

Arctic Depth – Edit 1
A mysterious, dark background track. Native American influences, light percussion, wooden flute.

The package of  all 6 Native American background music tracks for under $49 is available here

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Royalty Free Romantic Valentine’s Music

Royalty free valentine musicWith Valentine’s day around the corner you’ll be needing great sounding romantic music and I’m not exaggerating when I say it doesn’t get better than this!

We’ve just added some fantastic romantic orchestral tracks,  composed by Yuri Sazonoff and  recorded by a live orchestra.

Passion of Love is simply stunning. 8 minutes of beautiful romantic orchestral music with wonderful string writing.
Olympic Glory is another live recording by Yuri and is an uplifting, romantic track.
I’ll be posting more about Yuri soon……….

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New Urban, Hip Hop Grooves with a Touch of Class

urban-hip-hop-musicFollowing the huge popularity of our sophisticated Hip Hop track “Urban Symphony” , we’re adding more  tracks to the collection.

Each track is a mixture of authentic hip hop beats and production combined with the sophistication of a classical string section. Also, each track contains multiple edits, loops and stings.

Street Walk is an edgy track with  a great, boomy  kick drum and authentic urban loops. The strings gives it a classy edge, with the catchy melody on top.

Urban Class is a more classically influenced track, especially towards the end when you hear a full on baroque style accompaniment from the strings.

You seem to like them and we’re having fun with these, so they’ll be more on the way.


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Jon Cooper Goes Acoustic

acoustic-musicWe’ve just added some wonderful new tracks from our electronic music composer Jon Cooper and he’s just gone all acoustic on us!

And it’s brilliant.

He’s applied his usual, wonderful minimalist approach and innate musical taste to these 3 acoustic tracks:

Dreamers combines a mellow, laid back beauty and a modern quirky approach to instrumentation. Acoustic guitar, glockenspiel and accordion, arranged with great confidence.

On a Hill combines the acoustic guitar with an ethereal synthesizer but manages to create a warm, human feeling throughout.

You Complete Me is a beautiful, warm, touching, solo acoustic guitar track.

Also, we’ve currently got about 4GB of great music waiting to be added………and a brand new site on the way!

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New Site Construction Has Begun!

We’re very excited to announce that work on our brand new version of has begun.
Since the current site has grown over the past 2 years, we realize that it’s become increasingly difficult to search quickly for the music that you’re looking for so we’re building you a new site from scratch!

I don’t want to say too much now but our focus will be on speed and search and we’ll  have an additional part to the site which I’m really excited about………….but that’s under wraps for now! 🙂

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Hip Hop Loops

hip-hop-music-icon Just a quick post to let you know that some of our loop collections have dropped in price 🙂

Our Hip Hop Loops package consisting of 19 loops and 4 stings is now only £4.99 ($8). This includes your royalty free license which allows you to use these urban loops within podcasts, videos, websites, local radio and TV and students films.

Hip Hop Loops Package 
Don’t forget that all of our edits and loops can be purchased separately and now for only £0.49p ($0.80c) each.

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What is Royalty Free Music?

information_iconMany people are confused about exactly what “royalty free music” is, so I thought I’d clear up some misconceptions 🙂
Firstly: Royalty free music is NOT free. It’s also NOT “copyright free” music.
“Royalty free” means that you don’t pay the “royalties” ………but you do need to pay for the license to use the music, either within a production (such as a TV program,video or film) or other usage such as public performance or “music on hold”.
Obviously this differs from commercially available “chart” music, where the CD price or download fee does NOT cover any commercial, broadcast or public performance usage and is only for private listening.

Initially, “stock music“, “production music” or  “library music” would have derived income  from  a “needle-drop” fee (royalty) each time a piece of music was played. The cost of each “play” would also depend upon the usage e.g. Film, TV, radio, etc.
By purchasing royalty free music,  media companies can access  music far more cost effectively as well as being able to  license  music quickly. Alternative methods of licensing can still be time consuming and expensive whereas royalty free music is now a vital source of legal music for use in corporate videos, internet video, radio, TV, film, animations, podcasts and websites.

Over the years royalty free music has gained a reputation for sounding cheesy and cheap but  companies such as SMARTassMusic, are trying hard to change that image by only including the highest quality music, composed and recorded by professional musicians.
We reject approximately 95% of submitted material and we pride ourselves on the high quality of composition and production. To help keep our standards high we have absolutely no user-generated content and never will. The criteria for inclusion is that either the music is good enough so that we would enjoy listening to it ourselves or if it has an obvious media purpose.

Check out some of our showcase tracks here: Editors picks

For more information:
Royalty free Music

Buying Guide

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New Low Price Loops!

loops-icon We’ve just had an extensive price update of our loops and packages.
Most of our loops are now only £0.49p ($0.80c) each!!
We’ve also dropped the price of our track/edits/loop packages which are now only £15.99 ($26).

I’m pretty sure that with these price updates SMARTassMusic now offers some of the best value, best quality royalty free production music available. 🙂 

You can see here that the track box shows you which edits and packages are available.
If you click on the “View Edits” text, you can then view each edit.
You can purchase any edit or loop individually or as part of a collection. 



From the Edits View page, you can preview each edit and loop and view information about each one.EDITS




We’re continuing to improve the site all the time and I’ll post shortly about some of the improvements that we’re bringing out right now.

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New Music Updates

smartassmusic_100x100Just a quick blog about new tracks at SMARTassMusic.

I had such fun writing and recording the Chillout track “Night at The Opera” that there’s going to be quite a bit more chillout music coming soon.
This is a very stylish, cool track with a very funky bassline (with sounds from the powerful new Trilian software by Spectrasonics), loads of percussion and retro grooves with the addition of beautiful strings and a touch of female operatic voice! It’s all combined in a tasteful, stylish, non-cheesy way! 🙂

BUT…..if it’s cheese you’re after (and apparently it is sometimes) then we also had fun writing this after a request from a customer:
Extra Cheese Please –  This is a fun, tongue in cheek, cheesy number complete with vibraphone, flute,string and organ.
This is an extended track, nearing 7 minutes but there’s also a 3.5 min version and 12 edits available in total.
Actually I think this is quite sophisticated at the same time and quite frankly is about as cheesy as I ever hope to get! 

 Jon Cooper has given us a great new electronic  track too – On a Sirius Note 
Another hypnotic track from Jon with a confident distorted bass line countered  with beautiful, etherial synth sounds and a driving groove.

Dave Klotz has more music going live right now and an example of his superior production skills can be heard here:
Rubber Chicken Rodeo – is a  cool, edgy track with attitude, modern synths, guitars, heavy percussion.

We’re having some site improvements done at the moment too – I’m quite excited …..but I can’t say anything yet.
I’ll let you know as soon as they go live 🙂

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Effortless Piano Technique and Good Tone


The “Holy Grail” for pianists is to find an “effortless” technique which allows them to be at one with the instrument. This is something that has interested me for the past 20 years and which I believe I’m beginning to gain some understanding of.

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for ages but it’s such a huge subject! Most of what’s written below is taken from an email I sent to a colleague regarding piano students and how this may be of benefit to some of the more advanced pianists.

The whole subject of technique is extremely complicated and is not simply understanding the mechanism by which we play the instrument, but relies hugely on how we hear and think about music too.

For me, there is a distinct difference between “technique” and something which I shall call “mechanism”.
By “mechanism” I mean an efficient use of the muscles of the hand and arm which allows for “effortless” playing by means of gaining maximum effect with minimum input of energy.  Of course this is “technique”, but that word has other implications  such as ability to play thirds, octave passages and other specific technical difficulties which are a different concern.

Jazz musicians don’t need to build a formidable “technique” in the same way that a classical musician does but the ability to play accurately with precise rhythm and good tone, without conscious awareness of technique is vital. Although applicable to any good musician, this is a specific area of concern for improvisers because we cannot fall back on knowing  the notes .  Any physical discomfort is a barrier to improvisation as we need almost all of our conscious mind devoted to creating the notes in the first place. We also need to learn how to combat unwanted tension.  I once asked a very well respected teacher what one should do if experiencing tension and the reply was “play through it!” which is a familiar response and one I find at best unhelpful and can in extreme cases lead to focal dystonia.

Another problem which arises more often with students of Jazz/ improvisation is that they usually come to the piano at a later age and haven’t built up a technique at a time when their hands and wrists are more supple and still growing. As a result, many students play the piano with tension or at the very least a highly inefficient technique which wastes energy and produces a bad tone, usually with muscle stiffness.

My own approach is based upon:

  • Firstly “timing” the key correctly – nothing to do with rhythm, but rather, feeling the point at which the hammer strikes the string so that one can input the minimum required energy to gain the maximum affect.
  • Maximising the use of the small muscles of the hand (which are very weak but allow great independence) while minimising the work done by the long flexors and extensors which are joined to the forearm. This system of muscles and tendons is very strong and yet impedes finger independence, results in a stiffened wrist, finger  insensitivity and can result in pain if overworked. Most students I see (and many professionals) overuse these long flexors and extensors.

For me, the basic piano playing mechanism relies on:

  • allowing the hand to drop completely -thus allowing a loose wrist and removing unnecessary work from the Flexor Digitorium System in the arm.
  • For the finger to strike the key (“timing” the key/ hammer precisely)
  • The finger then supports the weight of the hand (rather like a house resting on stilts).
  • The fingers do not press at all- they support (they are never passive).
  • The next key is struck by a finger and the weight of the hand is transferred from the first finger to the next with no break – producing an “effortless” legato.
  • Additional energy required for most playing can be added by pushing from the arm or adding additional weight from the arm.

The “feeling” of playing a legato phrase is to drop onto the first note, then feel a  continuous connection with the keyboard throughout the phrase and finally pick the hand up at the end. Playing is effortless, with a good tone and extremely rapid.Although this sounds simple, most pianists are unable to achieve the correct results due to an overuse of the long flexors. These give the pianist a feeling of strength and security but they also “take over” work that needs to be done by the small, far weaker muscles within the hand. This means that the pianist may look as though he or she is performing the correct action but the work is done by the wrong muscle groups and the correct feeling will not be achieved.  Work must e built up from a very small sound,  learning to time the hammer precisely and to allow the arm to completely let go of the hand at the wrist. Only then can additional power be added.

Obviously this is only part of a comprehensive technique but the “mechanism” is essential.

This is a huge subject and one which produces much disagreement among pianists!
This is a really an introduction and I’ll be adding to this subject with images and video.
I’d love to hear the thoughts of other pianists.

Posted in: General, Piano Technique, Tutorials

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