Chances are, you’ve seen this video already, but if not, you’re in for a treat. Here you are, The Piano Guys‘ rendition of Angels We Have Heard on High, all done on a single piano (watch it, don’t just listen):

Angels We Have Heard on High (Christmas w/ 32 fingers and 8 thumbs) – ThePianoGuys by ThePianoGuys [YouTube]

Even when you don’t think about all the coordination and practice it takes to successfully pull off something like this, it’s very impressive. Well done, Guys!

Ever since Windows 3.1, Microsoft has included MIDI files in the C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA folder so that if a user ever needed to troubleshoot a MIDI application, Microsoft support would have files that were reliably there.

Along with original compositions, there were also MIDI files of well-known classical works, like Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. I won’t be featuring these in this post, just the original compositions.

MIDI files are sometimes criticized for sounding terrible and dated. The reason for that is because the critic didn’t use a good SoundFont. MIDI files don’t actually store any sounds; it can be thought of like sheet music: the notes to play are contained in the file, and what it sounds like when played is up to the SoundFont used. In this post, I’ve rendered the MIDI files using one of two SoundFonts: Microsoft’s 2gmgsmt.sf2 and Finale’s synthgms.sf2. The SoundFont used to render the MIDI file is indicated after the filename.

Let’s go look in the MEDIA folder, shall we?

  1. PASSPORT.MID (synthgms)
    PASSPORT.MID was first included in Windows 3.1 and was included until (but not including) Windows XP. This was one of two files (the other being CANYON.MID) included to promote Passport Designs.
    It kind of sounds like the background music for a DOS game, like Commander Keen.
    I’ve tried searching for the composer, but without success (apparently, George Stone knows nothing about it).

Listen to the rest of the playlist →

It’s Peter Cetera’s birthday today (September 13)! He was born in 1944, which makes him 69 this year (2013). Here’s a recent picture of him:

Peter Cetera with a man reading about him in a newspaper

“I walked up to this man in Curitiba and look what he was reading.”

He’s my favourite artist (one of two, at least), and I hope he won’t be embarrassed by this mini “playlist”.

Questions 67 and 68 (Japanese Version) (1971)

This is the Japanese version of one of the songs on Chicago’s first album, The Chicago Transit Authority. It was released on a Japan-exclusive single in 1971. Chicago sings this version whenever they stop by in Japan.

Next up, Spanish… →

Not much to say about this playlist except that it was one that just came together. This is the first “various artists” playlist that I’ve posted.

  1. Benvenuto — Laura Pausini [YouTube]
  2. Strangers Like Me — Phil Collins [YouTube]
  3. Where There’s No Tomorrow — Peter Cetera [YouTube]
  4. ‘Til I See You Again — Jim Brickman (with Mark Schultz) [YouTube]
  5. Yuudachi / 夕立 — Oku Hanako / 奥華子 [YouTube]

  1. Benvenuto — Laura Pausini (2011)

Listen to the rest of the playlist →

It seems I let another mailing list create itself.

Remember Oku Hanako? She is the Japanese artist who has inexplicably captured my heart. Apparently, I’ve fallen so hard that I’ve started a blog dedicated to her.

May I present Thoughts on Oku Hanako, “Finally, a site dedicated to her in English!”. Please note that this is just a fan site; this site is not affiliated with nor endorsed by Oku Hanako or Pony Canyon. I do not own any of the songs or images, and no copyright infringement is intended.

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Today we have a special guest poster, DR34DNOUGHT of Tech Gum (“… your go to blog for all things technology!”). I like to discuss music and computers with him, and he often comes to me for computer advice. In fact, it was me who convinced him to start blogging!
Without further ado, here’s DR34DNOUGHT on OPM and P-pop!

As a Filipino, I am very proud of multiple things from my culture. From the flag and anthem, I stand strong by it. One of the things that I am proud of is our music. I mean OPM: Original Pinoy Music. The other type of Pinoy music is P-POP: Pinoy Pop. It’s the branching variant of other music categories such as K-POP or MINI-POP.

This is such as touchy topic probably because it’s a two-sided war. Not everyone agrees with P-POP and not everyone agrees with OPM which is completely fine. Being able to contrast both will help a person appreciate the music.

OPM prides itself with so much amazing music. It defined the era of good music in the Philippines. It is also defined by the musicians that played such as bands like APO Hiking Society*, Side A, Rivermaya*, Eraserheads*, Parokya ni Edgar; current but famous singers such as Martin Nievera*, Gary Valenciano*, Christian Bautista, Erik Santos, Aiza Seguerra*, Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez, Sharon Cuneta, Sarah Geronimo (too many to mention); and then, there were the legendary greats like Rey Valera, Jose Mari Chan*, Freddie Aguilar, Noel Cabangon*, Basil Valdez (too many to mention, once again).

Anna by Apo Hiking Society

I had to put this on this list. I just had to. No comment.

Listen to more OPM and P-POP →

I don’t have much to say about Phil Collins except that the drums often have a prominent role in his songs. What else would you expect from a drummer?

Phil Collins might best be known for being the drummer and lead singer for the band Genesis. When he wanted to pursue a solo career, he and Genesis made a deal that let him perform with Genesis and do his solo stuff at the same time.

Phil Collins also has a strong relationship with Disney. He wrote, composed, and sang all the songs for both Tarzan (1999) and Brother Bear (2003). He also voiced Lucky, one of the vultures in The Jungle Book 2.

With the exception of one song, this playlist will be a collection of those songs.

As always, listen to the songs in order and until at least the end of the first chorus for each.

Track List

New Feature: The song title now links to the track in the playlist. The arrow (→) links directly to the external video.

  1. Strangers Like Me
  2. Son of Man
  3. Two Worlds
  4. Look Through My Eyes
  5. No Way Out
  6. True Colors
  7. You’ll Be In My Heart

  1. Strangers Like Me (Radio Edit) (1999)
    Soundtrack version
    A song from Tarzan at the part where Tarzan learns about civilization.

More Phil Collins →

If you haven’t already done so, please read the backstory.
Update: for more Oku Hanako, visit Thoughts on Oku Hanako, my blog dedicated to her.

I got another “attack” of the “Predicament” back in January, and it was sparked by stumbling upon Solarblade’s reviews on Oku Hanako’s singles and albums. He recommended many songs, all of which I probably listened to. I don’t agree with his takes on some of the songs, though, and that’s probably because I actually like her piano ballads; Solarblade seems to be more of the pop type.

Later on, I found Oku Hanako’s JpopAsia page and discography, giving me more songs to look up. Of course, the only official discography is on her official website, but that’s in Japanese and doesn’t include her really early indies works (most of which can be found on her album [2005]). I found that the only comprehensive discography is at the fan site 奥華子さんの歌詞を掲載するサイト (, which also includes the lyrics for almost all her songs.

As a result, I ended up increasing my song count from 14 to 36, and then to 47 about four weeks later. Heh heh….
Recall that I had the condition that for every Oku Hanako song I get, I would get one of Peter Cetera. I changed it. Instead of one-for-one, the condition is now that Oku Hanako’s songs cannot outnumber Peter Cetera’s solo works, partly because I started running out of his songs and partly because Oku Hanako had become a welcomed artist in my music library.

Perhaps part of the initial appeal was that her songs reminded me of those by some of my favourite artists: Peter Cetera, Phil Collins, Side A, Jim Brickman, Jose Mari Chan, Les Horribles Cernettes, and a few others.

Guess what? March 20 is Oku Hanako’s birthday! This playlist is just in time!

Listening Advice:
Since you most likely don’t understand Japanese, my recommendation for the best listening experience is to listen for the subtleties: the layering, the quiet notes, etc. The music students should know what I mean. Just don’t strain yourself in doing so. Also, it helps if your surroundings are quiet and you have good speakers/headphones, especially with the slow songs.
In short, just immerse yourself in the song.

  1. Garnet (Hikigatari) / ガーネット (弾き語り) (2006)
    Garnet is the theme song for the movie The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It is what most Westerners who listen to her start with. Actually, even for the Japanese: Garnet is the song that got her famous!
    There’s also an arranged version with strings and drums, but I think the added flourish is a bit distracting.
    By the way, Hikigatari means that it’s just her and her piano; it means “singing to one’s own accompaniment“.

Intrigued? Listen to the rest of the playlist… →

I don’t know how I found Peter Cetera.

Before 2010, I didn’t really pay much attention to the music I listened to. One day, Karl Wolf comes on the radio singing his song Ghetto Love, and someone commented that it was a rip-off of Peter Cetera’s Glory of Love. I thought it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t think of the song until he said it. Karl Wolf “heavily sampled” from the chorus of Glory of Love. As I say it, he “stole the chorus, changed a few words here and there, and added rap lyrics”. I hate it! Why did he have to do that? Anyway, enough of that.

I didn’t find Peter Cetera on my own. I already owned his album You’re The Inspiration: A Collection, which is mostly a compilation of his duets over the years. I also had Glory of Love, which was the theme song for the movie The Karate Kid, Part II.

Peter Cetera used to be the bassist and lead singer for the band Chicago. By 1985, Chicago had gained huge success and toured heavily. Peter Cetera wanted to settle down a little more and spend some time with his family, and to produce more solo albums*, but they couldn’t come to an agreement and mutually parted.
* In 1981, Peter Cetera released his first solo album, the self-titled Peter Cetera, released under the Warner Bros. label. It was more rock-oriented than what Chicago was producing at the time. It wasn’t a huge success, and speculation has it that it had something to do with Warner Bros. not wanting Cetera to leave Chicago, with whom they were also signed.

Peter Cetera

Another trademark of Peter Cetera is his unique singing style. I quote

During a break in the touring in the summer of 1969, Peter Cetera was set upon at a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. “Four marines didn’t like a long-haired rock ‘n’ roller in a baseball park,” Cetera recounts, “and of course I was a Cub fan, and I was in Dodger Stadium, and that didn’t do so well. I got in a fight and got a broken jaw in three places, and I was in intensive care for a couple of days.” The incident had an effect on Cetera’s career and an impact on his singing style. “The only funny thing I can think about the whole incident,” he says, “is that, with my jaw wired together, I actually went on the road, and I was actually singing through my clenched jaw, which, to this day, is still the way I sing.”

I think it adds a greater sense of passion and energy by sounding restrained, but controlled. It’s unique and it really makes his songs his.

May I remind you of the notes for playlists.
Since this is the first playlist I’ve posted, I’ll state them here:

  • Listen to the tracks in order (painfully obvious, but someone has already managed to fail here).
  • Listen to each song until at least the end of its first chorus. You don’t give the song a fair chance unless you allow it to climax.
  • It is recommended that you follow any listening advice that may be given before the playlist.
  • All links in the post will open in a new tab/window to prevent disrupting any currently-playing videos.

Listening advice:
For Peter Cetera, I suggest listening to the song overall, with all the layered parts as a whole.

This playlist features his solo works.

Let’s begin.

Track list:

  1. If You Leave Me Now
  2. The End of Camelot
  3. I Wasn’t the One (Who Said Goodbye)
  4. Faithfully
  5. Glory of Love
  6. (I Wanna Take) Forever Tonight
  7. Happy Man
  8. Have You Ever Been In Love
  9. One Clear Voice
  10. After All
  11. You’re the Inspiration
  12. One Good Woman
  13. S.O.S.
  14. Baby, What a Big Surprise
  15. World Falling Down

  1. If You Leave Me Now [New Version] (1997)
      —Chicago version (1976)
    It’s kind of traditional to open with If You Leave Me Now. At least, that’s what he used to open his album You’re The Inspiration: A Collection. In a 2004 interview, he said that it is one of his special songs.

Listen to the rest of the playlist… →