This page last updated on 30 December 2016.
Media Duration Title Date
2:42
43222
A piece in which the metre is deliberately confusing. The title gives one interpretation of how to count the 8th notes.
1994
1:07
A Short String Thing
Scored for string quartet. Time signature a fast 11/8.
1983
4:20
Algol (a Binary Star)
Scored for analog synthesizer and tape loop. The second half of the piece is completely dissimilar to the first half.
1984
1:54
Algol Revisited
Scored for DX7 and analog synthesizer. Uses the same analog sequence, but no tape loop, and more DX7.
1984
Score 1:32
An Industrial Process
Scored for alto and piano (words by Krafft A. Ehricke)
1984
Animation
Themes and stings composed for a CTSR television documentary about animation.
1989
0:30
Battle of the Bulge
Recorded to accompany an animated film of the same name produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
1:18
Blaaah
Recorded to accompany an animated film of the same name, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
Score 1:33
Bobby's Song
Music for Kathy Makovichuk's play 'The Littlest Pirate', winner of the 2009 Robert C. Hayes award.
2008
Bouncing Belly Button
Recorded to accompany an animated film of the same name, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
The Bridge
Scored for alto, baritone, and piano (lyrics also by me). A love song in the traditional schmaltzy pop style.
1988
Score 0:35
Canon at the Octave
Composed as an exercise in part writing.
1992
4:34
Carol of the Bells
Traditional, recorded using sampled voice and synthesized instruments.
1990
Champagne
Recorded to accompany an animated film of the same name, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
Score 1:38
Cold Thoughts
What's teenhood without a little angst?
1978
Communications
Composed for a SAIT Open House video produced by CTSR students.
1988
4:08
Concert Overture
Scored for wind ensemble.
1986
Corsair!
Scored for chorus and solo tenor, with optional synthesized stings (composed for a Naval Reserve officer training division, of which I happen to have been Divisional Officer)
1985
2:51
CTSR March
Composed for a SAIT Open House video produced by CTSR students.
1988
0:55
Cycling - the Sane Solution
Written for a 1-minute public service announcement about cycling, and performed on piano and synthesizer. Listen for the scene shifts between the carefree cyclist and the aggravated motorist.
1989
Score 3:00
Dance for Mixolydian Algorithms
Scored for RX15 percussion synthesizer, DX7 algorithm synthesizer, and piano.
1985
0:30
Dead Loser I & II
Two versions composed for an advertisement produced by CTSR students at SAIT.
1989
5:42
December 5
A piece composed upon the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., with sounds which remind me of a desolate Russian winter.
1991
Score 1:01
Delusions
Scored for flute and piano, the piece is very fast and in constantly changing metre. Inspired by King Crimson's Lark's Tongues in Aspic. Playable with piano duet, if you don't happen to have a flute.
1985
1:34
Door to Door
An adult animation class project produced by Kevin Kurytnik at Quickdraw Animation Society. Every short film had to start and end with the same image of a door, and the piece is consequently divided into very different sections, joined by a repeating sting, or brief motif. Scored for piano, organ, bass, percussion, and synthesizer.
1996
3:21
Eastern Desert Stereotype
What the title says. Scored for percussion, bass, flute, and saxophone; recorded with synthesizers.
1991
2:39
Elbow Falls Interlude
Composed for the Broadcast Filler Service to accompany a video of this waterfall.
1996
3:34
Engagement
Scored for two altos and synthesizer (or bass, lute, bagpipe, trombone, marimba, and percussion). This recording substitutes saxophones for altos. A piece exploring alternate rhythms. (The primary time signature is five beats of dash-dotted quarters, and a dotted eighth. See my essay on modifications to music notation if you want to know what a dash-dotted quarter is.) Part of a larger song cycle inspired by the essays of Ingrid Hansen Smythe.
2005
4:45
Evangeline
Words by Sappho Hansen Smythe. Recording scored for voice, flute, french horn, trumpet, percussion, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, piano, and strings; manuscript simplified for voice and piano.
2012
3:15
Evening
Based on a Mozart sonatina; originally composed for the Canadian Cancer Society video BSE For Every Woman.
1989
Evolution of the Long-Tailed Bird
Recorded to accompany an animated film of the same name, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
0:37
Fanfare
Fanfare for brass and percussion for Storybook Theatre's production of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
1990
0:04
Fanfare for Mark
Fanfare for three trombones, ending in a chord using deliberately mistuned notes, in honour of the ego and unbridled arrogance of another fellow trombonist, and played upon his arrival.
1983
Score 2:12
Five Jazzy Pieces
Easy juvenilia.
1970
3:05
FiveBeat
An experimental work in which each quarter note beat is divided into five equal parts. Notating such time signatures and beats is a bear, unless one uses my new modifications to music notation.
2001
Score 2:00
The Flower
Composed to accompany the skit of the same name in A Thurber Carnival by James Thurber, performed by my high school drama department.
1979
Four to One
Scored for synthesizer or piano.
1986
2:58
Four-track improvisation in 11/8
I dragged my new DX7 into the electronic music lab at the University of Calgary and spent the holidays playing around. (I had no multitracking capability at home.)
1984
4:46
Four-track improvisation in 15/8
Likewise.
1984
3:53
Four-track improvisation in 4/4
Ditto.
1984
3:33
The Front Door
Slow, melancholy. Part of an impromptu suite of pieces, preceded by The Kitchen Stirs At Dawn and followed by Glow in the Rear View Mirror.
1990
Score 1:22
Fugue for Flute, Violin, and Viola
A traditional three-voice fugue demonstrating various common fugal devices, but exhibiting too great a range to be playable on a single keyboard by a single player.
1993
Score 0:36
Fugue in d minor
A traditional three-voice fugue written as an exercise, and playable on a keyboard.
1992
Score 4:13
Glow in the Rear View Mirror
Scored for two pianos, recorded on synthesizer. Based on Vignettes by Lee Sebel (a demo piece composed for owners of the Roland W30 Synthesizer). The glow in the title is receding city lights. At one point in the piece you hear the rush of a truck in the opposing lane.
1990
25:22
Goddess, Hear Us Now
Composed for vernal equinox celebrations, featuring sampled female voice and synthesized instruments. Sadly, the original recording is lost, and only a poorly-recorded cassette copy remains.
1993
2:04
Greed
Recorded to accompany an animated film of the same name by Megan Evans, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
6:33
Hansen Smythe Sampler 1991
A spliced-together compilation of 14 pieces for demo purposes.
1991
1:51
Happy Quarks
An early experiment using analog synths and a Roland MC4 Microcomposer (an analog sequencer), plus a Yamaha DX7.
1984
High School Jazz Band
An experiment with alternate tuning. I used synthesized band instruments retuned to 16 semitones per octave. This meant that minor thirds were the only interval recognized as normal, and diminished triads the only chords that sounded familiar. The bad tuning put me in mind of a high school jazz band. The original recording is, unfortunately, lost.
1993
Score variable
IF, by chance, ENDIF
For any instrument, this is a computer program that runs as a macro in WordPerfect 6.1 or later. The program generates a printout of a monophonic sequence of between 10 and 110 notes, in a time signature between 3/8 and 15/8, with weighted random choices defining each note's pitch and duration. (You don't need the Finale viewer to view this one)
1996
Improvisations
Recorded piano improvisations to be played back at double speed.
1975
In a Timepiece (i.e. Impatience)
I couldn't decide on which title I liked better. They're anagrams of each other.
1984
In My Day
Scored for tuned and untuned percussion.
1983
Score 1:28
Invention in B Minor
Composed as an exercise in part writing, the theme is invertible at the octave, and modulates into the relative major in the middle section, before being chopped up in dominant preparation. I think it would sound good played by viola and 'cello.
1992
Score 1:15
Invention in D Major for Flute and Viola
Originally composed as an exercise in part writing in 1992, the piece was expanded and developed in 1997 as a wedding present for friends who played flute and viola.
1997
Score 0:36
Invention in Seven
Composed as an exercise in part writing. Sounds traditional but for the 7/8 time signature. Published 2011 in Northern Lights, An Exploration of Canadian Piano Music, Level 7 Musical Discoveries
1992
Score 1:51
It's All About Friends
Performed by Steve and Sappho Hansen Smythe. The penultimate song from the children's musical by Kathy Macovichuk, "The Princess and the Pea". Princess Madeline tests Prince Roderick to see if he'd make a good friend for her. He has all the right answers, and she concludes that she's made a new friend.
2010
Score 2:18
It's All About Me
Performed by Steve and Sappho Hansen Smythe. The second song from the children's musical by Kathy Macovichuk, "The Princess and the Pea". Lady London, Sir Anthony, and Sir Champ, all selfish people who are trying to ingratiate themselves with Prince Roderick, proclaim their egomania, while the royal family tries to convince them that this strategy is unsound.
2010
3:25
Jack and the Beanstalk
A medley of songs heard in Storybook Theatre's production of Jack and the Beanstalk, used during the set change. (I also provided stings, that is, very brief pieces of music to accompany the action).
1990
Jam
Produced my own animated film at Quickdraw Animation Society, entitled Jam, with soundtrack consisting mainly of sampled mouth noises. It was shown along with other animated films from Calgary in May 1996 at the Metro Cinema in Edmonton. I recognize that the film itself is not a composition per se, but the soundtrack is, so there!
1994
Journalism
Composed for a SAIT Open House video produced by CTSR students.
1988
Score 1:50
Khazad-Dûm
Scored for two pianos. Inspired by the dwarves' mines and metalworking caves in Moria, described in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". Won the Alberta and Canadian Registered Music Teachers' composition competitions in 1977.
1977
4:13
The Kitchen Stirs at Dawn
A piece written for an imaginary animated film featuring a kitchen preparing breakfast, and an increasingly insistent alarm clock trying to get its owner out of bed.
1990
2:00
Les Pingoins Explorent/The Exploring Penguins
Two versions were composed for two versions of the animated film of the same name.
1994
Library Technology
Composed for a SAIT Open House video produced by CTSR students.
1988
Score 25:00
The Life Symphony
For any number of instrumentalists, the more the merrier. My most philosophically important work. Dedicated to Stephen Jay Gould. Four movements, aleatorically tracing the history of life at a ratio of 3 million years per second. Commissioned by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.) Re-scored March 1997.
1996
2:18
The Little Mermaid
Scored for synthesizer or guitar, strings, koto, and vibes (based on a theme by Kristal Calvert)
1984
6:08
March of the Recursive Satirists
A version of work composed for Esso Resources Canada Limited, which itself was a redo of a theme composed for an early computer game. I had only two tracks with which to work, so bass doubled as percussion.
1990
Score 1:19
Madeline's Lullaby
Performed by Steve and Sappho Hansen Smythe. The middle song from the children's musical by Kathy Macovichuk, "The Princess and the Pea". Princess Madeline is having a tough time falling asleep on that pile of mattresses, and sings herself this lullaby.
2010
Score 2:47
Making Friends
Performed by Steve and Sappho Hansen Smythe. The closing song from the children's musical by Kathy Macovichuk, "The Princess and the Pea". The entire cast rehashes the characters and the moral, concluding that the best strategy for social interaction is to be nice.
2010
0:38
Meedra Ma
Scored for piano and bass; composed to accompany an animated film of the same name, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
ScoreMP3 Download 14:00
Modal Variations
Seven piano variations in seven modes. The tonic of each variation descends from the previous one by step, and the key signature of each has one fewer sharps than the previous one. Time signature loosely corresponds to the number of the mode.
1994-2000
Mope's Song
Scored for tenor and either piano or guitar and bass (composed for The Girl With The Expressive Eyebrows, words by Charles Costello)
1983
2:56
Morning
Based on a Mozart sonatina; originally composed for the Canadian Cancer Society video BSE For Every Woman.
1989
Score 2:25
Nana's Song
Music for Kathy Makovichuk's play 'The Littlest Pirate', winner of the 2009 Robert C. Hayes award.
2008
Score 2:07
New Horizons
Performed by Steve and Sappho Hansen Smythe. The opening song from the children's musical by Kathy Macovichuk, "The Princess and the Pea". Prince Roderick is sad that he's had to move, and he's missing his old friends. His mother and the blokes from the moving company assure him, in song, that it'll be OK.
2010
1:16
O Canada Ragtime
A playful rendition of Canada's national anthem. Scored for orchestra and ragtime pick-up band; recorded with synthesizers. The only one of my compositions to make it onto the Low Budget Radio Listener's Choice ballot for 2005, where it came in 366th, being narrowly beat out by Stompin' Tom Connors "The Man In The Moon Is A Newfie" in 364th place, but beating out such classics as "Pepe The Purple Platypus" by Squish and the Pregnant Elephants. Go figure.
1990
1:21
Of Aragorn
Scored for soprano and piano, words by J.R.R. Tolkien.
1983
1:04
Oh Lord, It's Hard To Play Country
Scored for twangy country voice, guitar, bass, and snare drum.
1984
Score
The Old Country Dance
The first piece I composed that I actually think is good.
1969
3:58
Paranoid Androids
I used the weird over-compressed end of a normal electric piano sample as a percussion instrument, and added wailing dischords. We danced around listening to it over and over the day I first recorded it.
1990
50:00
Physics and the Art of Meditation
Music by which to meditate. The title is a joke. Has nothing to do with physics. Whipped up in time to sell cassettes at a science fiction/fantasy convention, and sales were satisfyingly brisk. Side one of the cassette was "wet" with water sounds, and side two was "dry" with crickets and percussion.
1990
3:24
Piece for DX7 and Piano
Performed by Steve Hansen Smythe and George Fenwick, some recital hour at the U of C.
1985
Score 1:35
Pirate Song
Music for Kathy Makovichuk's play 'The Littlest Pirate', winner of the 2009 Robert C. Hayes award.
2008
Premonition
Scored for four men's voices, clarinet, marimba, wind chimes (based on the poem by the same name by Robert W. Service).
1983
Prime Brass
Scored for Trumpet, French horn, and Trombone. Every time signature is prime, there are a prime number of instruments, a prime number of bars in each section, and a prime number of 8th note beats in the entire piece.
1982
Primitive Clothing
Composed for an advertisement produced by CTSR students at SAIT.
1989
Print Technology
Composed for a SAIT Open House video produced by CTSR students.
1988
Quality Time
Recorded to accompany an animated film of the same name, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
RandoMIDI
Java applet which plays pseudo-random phrases on your computer's sound card.
2005
4:22
Rose the Cat interprets Psalm 23
Soundtrack to the film of the same name, by I. H. Smythe.
2012
The Saamis
Themes and stings composed for a CTSR radio play of the same name
1989
Scuba Siv
Two versions of this music were composed for two versions of Don Filipchuk's animated film of the same name, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1994
Seven-spheres
An attempt to create music by constantly varying the timbre of the sound through seven instrumental sounds, while chords changed slowly through a 35-bar pattern.
1985
Share My Dream
Scored for tenor and piano (words by Jeff Alder)
1980
0:49
Siv Polka
Scored for solo accordion. Composed and recorded for Don Filipchuk's animated film, Vacuum Siv, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1998
1:11
Siv Tango
Scored for accordion, bass, and shaker. Composed and recorded for Don Filipchuk's animated film, Vacuum Siv, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1998
2:51
Six, Five
Piano duet in varying metre (take a guess from the title), originally scored for synthesizer.
1998
Score 1:00
Sleeping
Easy juvenilia.
1970
Sonata for Violin and Piano
First and second movements only, and never finished. An experiment with non-standard scales.
1986
Score 1:06
The Space Promotion Anthem
Word got around, in the space activist community, that what we really needed was a rousing anthem, and that if only we'd sing together in mutual harmony and understanding, the rockets would go up and the solar power satellites would get built. This is my attempt, using Alexander Courage's opening theme from Star Trek as the cantus firmus (and that's not easy!), and appropriately international Esperanto lyrics by my mother, Jean Smythe:

En la kosmon baldau vojaĝos ni!
Revojn esperplene plenumos ni.
Antaen, eksteren, kaj supren ni flugos del' Tero, por
fondi novmondon, ja estas la ceelo.

Vidu, jen atendas nin nia ĉar'!
Sidu, a ventureema kolegar'!
Pezofortego enseĝen nin premas, travibras
ekscito, pro fora vojaĝo al nova hejm'!

Fore en la spacurbo loĝos ni!
novdefiojn saĝe forvenkos ni!
Tiam laboros ni ĉiuj por kuna boneco, kaj
Forte konstruos sunpotencigiilon.

1998
Score
Stardrift
Won first in Calgary and Alberta Kiwanis Festivals, and first in the Alberta Registered Music Teachers' Composition Competition.
1976
Score 1:51
Stinky Pete's Song
Music for Kathy Makovichuk's play 'The Littlest Pirate', winner of the 2009 Robert C. Hayes award.
2008
5:16
Sundayalysis
A decomposition of sound samples all taken one Sunday morning, featuring the Gregorian Chant Choir of Calgary (in which I sang), and sounds from the tower bells of Christ Church, Elbow Park, where I have rung bells off and on for 25 years.
1993
Score 4:10
Takakkaw Falls
Performed by Westmount Charter School's Senior Orchestra in June 2010. A simpler version of this piece was composed in 1996 for the Broadcast Filler Service to accompany a video of this waterfall.
2009
The Tale of Tinuviel
Scored for tenor and piano or folk instruments (words by J.R.R. Tolkien)
1980
5:00
Tangle Creek Interlude
Scored for orchestra and piano. Composed for the Broadcast Filler Service to accompany a video of this creek.
1996
Telephone Answering Machine Message
Scored for four men's voices.
1980
Score 4:55
Theme and Variations
Revised in 1987, intermediate difficulty. Theme and five variations, based on two 12-tone rows generated by a program in Basic running on a Timex Sinclair ZX81 computer. Performed by Gordon Rumson in concert in 1994.
1984
0:45
Theory Student Electro Shock Collar
An imaginary radio advertisement for a really useful product.
1993
1:090:48
Thirteen Elephants I & II
Two synthesized versions of the second variation of the Theme and Variations.
1984
Score 0:34
Tigger
A short version of music originally composed for Storybook Theatre's production of A House At Pooh Corner. It's harder than it sounds. The performer may ad libitum twang a metal or plastic ruler against the piano on each 8th note rest.
1997
10:14
Train Variations
A suite of seven variations, co-written with Gordon Rumson, using three Russion folk songs. Each of us composed one part of some of the seven variations, then passed the piece on to the other, who composed the missing part. The variations are a metaphor for a train journey across Russia, starting with a View of Japan and ending as the train arrives in Moscow with Bells of Mother Russia.
2005
1:52
Type A
Recorded to accompany an animated film of the same name by Ray Smith, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society. Scored for piano, guitar, bass, drums, strings, xylophone. and typewriter. The film follows a "type A" character who has difficulty with a computer, a typewriter, and eventually even a pencil.
2006
Score 1:43
Unstoppable
Scored for piano, intermediate difficulty, phrygian mode. Also scored as a string quartet. I also stole thematic material for the soundtrack to an animated film, Type A, by Ray Smith, produced at Quickdraw Animation Society.
1998
Score 1:43
Unstoppable
Scored for string quartet, intermediate difficulty, phrygian mode. Also scored for piano solo.
1998
Score 1:30
Wendy
Scored for piano and cracking testosterone-laden baritone, or flute (words, embarrassingly, by me)
1979
Score 4:22
While Walking
An easy piece so long as you have big hands, having an improvisatory feel. Reading the score is difficult not because the notes are hard to play, but that standard notation does not deal well with chords built up a note at a time.
1985
Score 1:28
Willowind
Easy juvenilia, using Beethoven's "Für Elise" for thematic inspiration. Shared first place at Calgary Kiwanis music festival.
1974
Score 1:43
Zig Zag
Intermediate difficulty, submitted for the CNCM Grade 8 repertoire book.
2011