Music by Jim Bumgardner

All songs copyright @1976 - 2010 Jim Bumgardner, except where otherwise noted. Newish recordings are at the top.

Solo Piano Pieces, recorded in 2011

Crooked Waltz (2009) (recorded in 2011) (MP3) Crooked Waltz (Sheet Music PDF)
F Minor Improv (1989) (recorded in 2011) (MP3)
C Minor Improv (1993) (recorded in 2011) (MP3)

My piano solos, are generally played improvisationally (and hard to capture in sheet music form). "Crooked Waltz" alternates time signatures, with some sections in 7/4, while maintaining a waltzy feel, hence the title.

Ballads, recorded in 2011

Nola Can't Stop (2003, recorded in 2011) (MP3)
Miranda (1998, recorded in 2011) (MP3)
Midro Way (2010, recorded in 2011) (MP3) Midro Way (live @Buchanan's, 2010) (MP3)

Most of the songs I write on the piano are sad ballads (and the ones that aren't are often failed attempts to get out of my comfort zone). "Nola" sounds like it's about Hurricane Katrina, but it predates it -- it was written shortly after the Iraq war started in March 2003. This was an attempt to write something plain and straightforward, musically, unlike much of my earlier, more theatrical output. For example, see the next song...

"Miranda" is from an aborted musical theater project, based on The Tempest. Miranda is the daughter of Prospero, an exiled magician. In this song, Prospero contemplates losing his daughter to adulthood.

"Midro Way" is about my brother, Steve. More info about Midro Way, a street in New Jersey, can be viewed on Flickr, here.

That's it for the songs-with-singing. I've recorded a few more, which are best left unheard. One of these days I will find some live humans and make a better set of recordings.

Experimental Music 2005-2009

Kasparov vs. Deep Blue, Excerpt

"Kasparov" is an excerpt from my experimental chess-inspired piece, based on the famous match in which the human world champion was first beaten by a computer. The music you are hearing was constructed by analyzing the moves of the game with a chess engine of my own design, which has been modified to output musical (MIDI) events. The music is a relatively literal translation of what is happening inside the chess engine as it thinks about which move to play. This piece was performed live at a concert in Los Angeles, June 26th, 2009. Here's a video of the debut performance.

Whitney Music Box (Link)

"Whitney Music Box" is an experimental set of variations I developed around 2006, based on the work of computer-animation pioneer John Whitney. There are some versions for piano, but I can't play them, because it requires too many fingers (and too much mathematical precision). My favorite variations are #3, or #4 and #11. This is probably my most successful formal composition, and it has inspired a commercial product from Native Instruments, based on the idea.

It's also perhaps worth pointing out that the part of my brain that makes experimental music is separate from the (older) part of my brain that plays piano and occasionally sings. It's like two bushes growing together in the same garden, but not quite connected.

Here's a fun 20 minute video that ends with me demonstrating an audience-participation version of the Whitney Box at the GEL conference in NYC.

Older Recordings

Another Sad Song (MP3) Another Sad Song (Sheet Music PDF)

"Another Sad Song" was written in the early 90s and is typical of my sad C-minor piano pieces (generally played in a semi-improvisational manner). I've written a handful of these, and play them on moody days. A fairly accurate transcription of the piano part is also available as a PDF file should you desire to play it. Oddly, I can *improvise* this piece, but can't play the sheet music note-for-note for the life of me. It just sucks the life out of the piece when I play it off the page. This is a MIDI recording I made a few years ago.

Etude in G Minor (1983) (MP3)

One afternoon in 2009, I recorded as many of my old piano pieces as I could remember. The sheet music is a somewhat simplified version missing some crucial ornaments, dynamics and phrasing. Freely improvise on the repeat.

"Etude in G Minor" was written around 1983. During this period I was experimenting with some impressionistic piano techniques. These recordings were made in January 2009, in my living room, on my creaky old piano. Here's a few more of 'em:

Crooked Waltz (2000) (recorded in 2009) (MP3)
Hymn (1977) (MP3)
7 Pianos Theme (1982) (MP3)
Jam in C Major (1983) (MP3)
One Zero One Zero (1984) (MP3)
Happy Song in C (1985) (MP3)
Janet's Blues (1986) (MP3)
Sedley's Lament (1994) (MP3)

Sheet Music

The Room Upstairs (from the movie Being There)
Goodbye Louise (from the movie Being There)

These are transcriptions of the Johnny Mandel piano music from the 1979 Peter Sellers movie Being There. I've always loved this score, and since it's not available as sheet music, I thought I'd make some. These pieces are loosely based on Eric Satie's Gnossiennes #4 and #5, but I actually like Mandel's versions more than the originals.

Dark Side of the Whip (MP3)

A mashup I made in 2008, mixing Pink Floyd's "Breathe" with Devo's "Whip it." Just having a little fun. More info here.

Kontact Improv (MP3)

"Kontact Improv" is a quick recording I made when trying out some new piano sounds I had recently downloaded for my sampler. A fairly accurate rendition of what I sound like when I'm just screwing around on the piano with nothing particular in mind. Like many of the recordings here, the piano sounds are not recordings of me playing an actual piano. Instead, I am playing an electronic keyboard which is triggering recorded samples of an actual piano.

Crazy Mahatma (MP3)

"Crazy Mahatma" is a short piece for headphones (not really music), that juxtaposes two bits of audio from the 1930s. The speakers are Mahatma Gandhi and Orson Welles (reading material adapted from H.G. Wells). With headphones on, it causes a kind of angel/devil on the shoulder experience. I may eventually incorporate this into a music piece, but it's interesting on it's own.

In C - Terry Riley (MIDI)

A MIDI version of Terry Riley's seminal piece 'In C'. I created this recording using KeyKit, a MIDI programming language by Tim Thompson. The Keykit source code used to make this file (much shorter than the actual midi file) is here.