A song about Jennifer Something

This is a song written for a magazine reader who sent me a nice email. Disclaimer: I do not promise to write you a song if you send me a nice email. Read my magazine Singularity.

Here are the lyrics:

Jennifer Something [but it rhymes with “sea”]
You sent me an email, encouraging me
And my day got brighter just because of that
And the sky was bluer, right off the bat

Jennifer Something [but it rhymes with “sea”]
Your words give a boost like vitamin C
Your words crossed timezones without any lag
You support my work just reading my mag

And what’s this magazine,
With topics written on art and science?
I want to make a scene,
Creating a world more than colours and lines

Jennifer Something [but it rhymes with “sea”]
You’re an awesome person, that’s true as can be

Happy Song

I played the piano part on my iPhone using the Virtuoso app.

Virtuoso app

Wait, how does it know I’m looking for lov… uh, I mean, hmmm… that’s an interesting advertisement.

Li Bai’s Moonlight Cantata

I learnt a new word: Cantata. Originally, I wanted to use “moonlight sonata” as part of the name, as a contrast. You know, that music piece by Beethoven. Then I realised that “sonata” means instrumental music (of sorts). “Cantata” means voice (of sorts). Go check the dictionary for the exact meanings.

Anyway, I’ve had that tune for the poem for a long time. It’s only with video that I finally found an outlet to express it. I could’ve created it as an audio file, but it would lack the impact I created in the above video.

I learnt how to shoot footage so I could do a cloning of myself in the video, and also how to edit that effect. That’s near the end of the video.

Here’s the poem in Chinese:
Li Bai poem

Note the visual elegance of the poem when written. Since each Chinese word is one syllable, a poem is visually compact. If the language has this one-syllable-one-word property, it will have this visual elegance. For example, a haiku in Japanese.

Also, each Chinese word carries meaning by itself, which is why much can be said in Chinese with few words. For example Chinese idioms or “Cheng Yu”
Cheng Yu - Chinese idiom
are 4 words each.

I’m not trying to raise Chinese superiority on language. Just giving an observation. Just so you know, that compactness comes at a price. Have you tried to write Chinese characters? Especially the complicated ones? And do you know how to pronounce an unfamiliar word? At least with English words, you can still get by with guessing. Unless it’s “chauffeur”. I pronounced it as chor-fi-ur (gluing the “fi-ur” to almost “fur”) when I was 10 years old. The English tuition teacher asked me to pronounce it in front of a class. Oh stop laughing…

Here’s the meaning of the poem:

There’s bright moonlight before the bed
Looks like frost on the ground
I raise my head and look at the bright moon
I bow my head and think of home

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.