30 episodes

Themes and Variation is Soundfly’s podcast about music and perspectives. In each episode, expert musicians and avid music lovers draw on their professional experiences and personal backgrounds to share unique insights and passionate opinions about songs they’ve selected based on their interpretations of a given theme. Of course, whether the panel’s discussing epic songs, songs that use the same sample, or classic wedding band requests, this is a show for anyone who loves music and has a desire to dig into it.

Themes and Variation Soundfly

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 32 Ratings

Themes and Variation is Soundfly’s podcast about music and perspectives. In each episode, expert musicians and avid music lovers draw on their professional experiences and personal backgrounds to share unique insights and passionate opinions about songs they’ve selected based on their interpretations of a given theme. Of course, whether the panel’s discussing epic songs, songs that use the same sample, or classic wedding band requests, this is a show for anyone who loves music and has a desire to dig into it.

    Songs That Do Something Incorrectly (with Lora-Faye Åshuvud)

    Songs That Do Something Incorrectly (with Lora-Faye Åshuvud)

    Some of the best moments in music are the ones that defy expectations, breaking from conventional "rules" in pursuit of something unique or unpredictable. These are often the instances that catch our ears, leaving us wondering what just happened and how those artists got away with something you just don't do.


    That irregular something can be an abnormal chord progression, an unanticipated instrument choice, or a way of using an effect with little or no precedent. Of course, the quest to break free from mediocrity and presumption can sometimes result in work that is somewhat polarizing, but there's a lot to admire about an artist, writer, or producer who took that chance.


    For this episode, we sat down with favorite-of-the-show, Martin Fowler and the astounding artist, Lora-Faye Åshuvud (of Arthur Moon) to celebrate some tracks that take risks and color outside the lines.

    Themes and Variation is presented by Soundfly, a music education website changing the way we build our creative skills :


    Check out all of our courses including Kimbra: Vocal Creativity, Arranging, & Production here.Subscribe to all of our courses here and use the discount code THEMES to take 20% off!Sign up to work one-on-one with one of our incredible mentors here.We want to hear the songs that made you want to study music! Add them to the community playlist for this episode.


    Have questions or comments? Want to suggest a theme for a future episode? Drop us a line at podcast@soundfly.com or reach out on Twitter.

    • 47 min
    Songs That Made Me Want to Study Music (with Ethan Hein)

    Songs That Made Me Want to Study Music (with Ethan Hein)

    There are so many ways to "study music." You can do it by sitting down to practice your instrument, enrolling in a course online or in-person, or even breaking down a piece that you love in the context of a podcast you just so happen to host.
    For our first-ever livestreamed taping, Mahea and Carter sat down with author, educator, and doctoral fellow, Ethan Hein to discuss "Songs That Made Me Want to Study Music."
    In the episode, we talk about how great instrumentalists know how and when to play supporting roles, what discovering music was like in a world before the internet, how the world's highest earning musician made my co-host who she is today, and so much more.
    Themes and Variation is presented by Soundfly, a music education website changing the way we build our creative skills :
    Check out all of our courses including The Creative Power of Advanced Harmony, here.Subscribe to all of our courses here and use the discount code THEMES to take 20% off!Sign up to work one-on-one with one of our incredible mentors here.Check out Ethan's new book Electronic Music School: A Contemporary Approach to Teaching Musical Creativity here!
    We want to hear the songs that made you want to study music! Add them to the community playlist for this episode.
    Have questions or comments? Want to suggest a theme for a future episode? Drop us a line at podcast@soundfly.com or reach out on Twitter.

    • 41 min
    Songs That Are an Emotional Journey (with Max Swan)

    Songs That Are an Emotional Journey (with Max Swan)

    Most music can heighten moods and toy with feelings, but what does it take for a song to truly send a listener on an emotional journey?
    Does it have to do with the instrumentation? What about the form, or the harmony? Does said journey need to feel like a rollercoaster of ups and downs, or can it be more subtle than that?
    To answer these questions, Carter sat down with his frequent podcast companion, Mahea Lee, as well as songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Max Swan. They discussed music by Simon Dawes, Armando Young, Laura Marling, and more in our quest to better understand "Songs That Are an Emotional Journey."
    Themes and Variation is presented by Soundfly, a music education website changing the way we build our creative skills :
    Check out all of our courses including RJD2: From Samples to Songs, here.Subscribe to all of our courses here and use the discount code THEMES to take 20% off!Sign up to work one-on-one with one of our incredible mentors here.We want to hear your favorite sample fodder songs! Add them to the community playlist for this episode.
    Have questions or comments? Want to suggest a theme for a future episode? Drop us a line at podcast@soundfly.com or reach out on Twitter.

    • 54 min
    Sample Fodder Songs (with RJD2)

    Sample Fodder Songs (with RJD2)

    So what does it mean to do something truly amazing with a snippet of sound you've pulled from an existing song? And why have certain songs been sampled so many times? We dig into these questions and more in the latest episode of Themes and Variation, "Sample Fodder Songs."

    For the 25th episode of the show, Carter sat down with one of the greatest musical minds around, legendary composer and producer, Ramble Jon Krohn (who you may know under the moniker "RJD2") and his exceptionally talented and knowledgeable colleague, Martin Fowler (whose voice you may recognize from the episodes "Songs From The First Album I Ever Bought" and "Boy Band Songs").

    Themes and Variation is presented by Soundfly, a music education website changing the way we build our creative skills :
    Check out all of our courses including the RJD2: From Samples to Songs, here.Subscribe to all of our courses here and use the discount code THEMES to take 20% off!Sign up to work one-on-one with one of our incredible mentors here.We want to hear your favorite sample fodder songs! Add them to the community playlist for this episode.
    Have questions or comments? Want to suggest a theme for a future episode? Drop us a line at podcast@soundfly.com or reach out on Twitter.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Songs with Commonly Misheard Lyrics (with Joseph Capalbo)

    Songs with Commonly Misheard Lyrics (with Joseph Capalbo)

    Have you ever found yourself singing along to a hit song at the top of your lungs, thinking "that can't be the line, can it?" It's a pretty common experience — one that typically ends with a shrug of the shoulders as you take in a deep breath in preparation for the next verse.

    If the melody's good and the groove is solid, somewhere between our thoughts of Sue Lawley and Jason Waterfalls, we just accept that Gene Simmons may have wanted to "rock and roll all night and part of every day," while longing for the kind of affection Elton John apparently felt for "Tony Danza."

    In the newest episode of Themes and Variation, Mahea and I sat down with Joseph Capalbo (composer, producer, and Soundfly Mentor) to discuss "Songs With Commonly Misheard Lyrics."
    Themes and Variation is presented by Soundfly, a music education website changing the way we build our creative skills :
    Check out all of our courses including the The New Songwriter's Workshop, here.Subscribe to all of our courses here and use the discount code THEMES to take 20% off!Sign up to work one-on-one with one of our incredible mentors here.We want to hear your favorite songs with misheard lyrics! Add them to the community playlist for this episode.
    Have questions or comments? Want to suggest a theme for a future episode? Drop us a line at podcast@soundfly.com or reach out on Twitter.

    Links related to "Louie Louie:"
    FBI song investigation recordsSmithsonian article

    • 42 min
    Songs From Video Games (with Zac Zinger and Chase Bethea)

    Songs From Video Games (with Zac Zinger and Chase Bethea)

    What comes to mind when you hear the words "video game music?" Is it a vibrant series of retro-sounding bloops and bleeps a la our favorite princess-saving plumber, or a rich, orchestral landscape that might accompany an assassin exploring an open world?
    Making music for video games presents an interesting challenge. The composer must create something that fits a narrative as well as an aesthetic, in addition to providing a soundtrack that will keep the player motivated to work toward each target.
    In the latest episode of Themes and Variation, I'm joined by two brilliant minds from the world of video game music: Chase Bethea (composer) and Zac Zinger (composer, arranger, performer).

    Themes and Variation is presented by Soundfly, a music education website changing the way we build our creative skills :
    Check out all of our courses including the Chiptune Crash Course series, here.Subscribe to all of our courses here and use the discount code THEMES to take 20% off!Sign up to work one-on-one with one of our incredible mentors here.Have questions or comments? Want to suggest a theme for a future episode? Drop us a line at podcast@soundfly.com or reach out on Twitter.

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

jdking23 ,

A great blend

Fun (and funny!) music discussions with a little theory mixed in. You'll learn about chords and stuff if you want, but you can also just hang out and enjoy the conversation.

R mmmmmmmmmm henry ,

this is a good music podcast

i love listening to it while cooking. the hosts have a great vibe.

EEaKm ,

Great concept 🤘🤘

Very cool concept with interesting panelists. Two emphatic thumbs up!

Top Podcasts In Music

Listeners Also Subscribed To