Playing the keyboard

I thought I’d let you see the notes I was playing on the keyboard for a previous video. Due to various reasons, the actual music was comprised of 2 separate parts that I recorded. There was some construction going on when I recorded that video. And yes, those were birds singing outside my house…

I’ve also never taken piano lessons, so stand down Mozart…

Original video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4s_HgvGsRc

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.

Blogging on another turf

Also known as guest posting. It’s been a while since I’ve started blogging. I blog because I want to share my knowledge of programming and the activities surrounding it.

Anyway, I wrote a post for Tapping Creativity by Geoffrey Hineman, describing a fairly routine, yet indispensable ritual I need at work to get me going: listening to music. I had to think of what I’m actually trying to do, before I could come up with a satisfactory title, “Coaxing Creativity with Music“. It’s also my first guest post (I’m so excited!). Talk about stretching myself…

In the post, I talked about listening to a variety of music. Well, I’ve been stretching myself again, and buying music from artists I’ve never heard of or would never have listened to. I bought the CDs based on the look of the CD cover and *drum roll*, my gut feeling. Pure instincts. I just bought a Maroon 5 CD (It won’t be soon before long). You know what, they’re really good.

It took a while for me to get used to writing regularly on my own blog, let alone writing for someone else’s blog. Let me tell you, it’s hard work and tough. And I learned a lot. And I became a better programmer because of it.

I learned how to manage a blog. I learned by reading other people’s blogs (programming and otherwise). I developed better discipline (try keeping to a regular blogging schedule and you’ll know). And all these skills and knowledge made me a better manager of software code and design.

And check out another article by Geoffrey, describing the Rapid Tangential Thought Process process. Following an idea all the way through sometimes work better than scattered learning.

Never question the age of a woman

I’ve always had the impression that no one should ask about the age of a woman. In fact, no gentleman would be caught dead contemplating the very act itself. Anyway, a childhood song rose out of my submerged memories recently and it goes like this:

How old is she, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
How old is she, charming Billy?
Three times six and four times seven,
Twenty eight and eleven.
She’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

The issue isn’t with how the song is sung. I was in primary school then (about 11 years old), and one of my more expressive classmates pointed out to the music teacher the improbability of the truthfulness of the lyrics. He proceeded to prove his point:

Three times six and four times seven,
Twenty eight and eleven.

Became
(3 * 6) + (4 * 7) + (28) + (11)

Which comes up to a grand total of *drum roll* 85!!

Being 11 years old then, 85 years old was like, ancient. Still, 85 years old wasn’t unusual. My cheeky classmate then asked, “How can 85 years be a young thing?”

My music teacher was speechless.