How many languages can you sing in?

My taste in music is varied. Generally speaking, I like instrumental music because there are no words. The way you think is affected by the language you know.

During the days when I was studying in university, I would be doing my homework at home, on the floor (I didn’t have a proper table to write on. I still don’t). I would play Kevin Kern (soft piano music) on the CD player. You remember CD players? I’d also pop in Westlife. Hey their songs are nice to listen to. Don’t judge me.

I’ve listened to classical (I remember Handel) to pop rock (Utada Hikaru). So what do I have now? *checks music library* I’ve got a few music pieces from demoscene (look for fr-019 and fr-025 by Farbrausch, Lifeforce by ASD), Michael Buble, Maksim, Enya, RyanDan, Celine Dion, Utada Hikaru, Backstreet Boys and Westlife, to mention a few of them.

“Wait, you said music with words affect your thinking. How can you still do homework while listening to Westlife?”

Well, there’s an exception. You see, the reason why instrumental music works well as “homework music” (as I’ll call it), is that the music gets the brain moving without interfering (much) with the thought processes. At least for me. To have songs with recognisable and understandable words have the same effect, I must have listened to the song many many many times. So often that the words hardly register in my brain. I still can sing or hum along, but they typically don’t disrupt thoughts. Unless I deliberately stop and enjoy the music.

Because of this, I also listen to songs from other languages. Well, if I don’t understand the words, they effectively become instrumental music, with the human voice as an instrument. With that, I thought it will be interesting to make the above video.

Behind the scenes

I thought I’d make a tribute to the demoscene, by including a song from a demo as the English representative. It’s called “The Popular Demo”.

For the Chinese song, I chose Wei Ai Feng Kuang by Tracy Huang. I actually heard this song only once when I was, I don’t know, 10 years old? How could I have remembered that song all these years? I don’t know. Somehow, the chorus part stuck in my brain. I only happened to find out the name of the song, uh, 1 year ago?

For Spanish, I heard “Amigos Para Siempre” due to the 1992 Olympics.

For Italian, I knew of “The Prayer” because of the movie “Quest for Camelot” (I bought the soundtrack CD).

For Russian, I knew of “Nas Ne Dogonyat” due to, surprisingly, a demo. Yes, the demoscene kind. I saw this physics simulation demo (which I can’t remember where to get it now… dang…), and the author used this song.

“Liberi Fatali” is a song written by Nobuo Uematsu for the video game, Final Fantasy VIII. And it’s in Latin. Awesome.

For Simlish (the language of the Sims, a video game), I used the title intro to my videos that I composed (that sounds strange. I “composed”. Hmm…). The original intro was too long, so I cut it short (using the last part). So for this video, I thought I’d sing the whole thing. The words don’t mean anything. Here are the lyrics in case you’re interested:

Vadomeh comahlosimei comahdorei
Comahlosimei boreidonei
Vadomeh comahlosimei comahdorei
Bundarah vehmidonei

And the cough during the singing of “The Diva Dance” was planned. I wanted the video to be both entertaining and educational, and hopefully injected a little humour into the mix. That song was from the movie “The 5th Element”.

So, how many languages can you sing in? Let me know.

  1. George Anderson

    I identified myself on the first part of this post. I have also realized a long time ago that instrumental music is very effective on my thought process and that it is truly disruptive listen to song with lyrics. When I need to code real quick and already know what needs to be done, I just put some heavy progressive rock to play.

  2. Vincent

    If it works for you, then great! I don’t do well with heavy metal and rock… Here’s where personal preference also becomes a factor. I kinda prefer violins, pianos and measured beats from drum kits. I do have a few music pieces that have electric guitars and have that rock concert jamming quality, just to spice things up. 🙂

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