Monday, March 31, 2008

Tasik Senja

Tasik Senja are malay words for Sunset Lake.

Song and Music by Azer Mantessa
Flash Illustrations by Azer Mantessa

How I Write Songs (Part 5)

Correction: I apologize for the misuse of words in Part 3 describing what a song is. The correct word is 'note' or 'musical note' NOT 'key' so what differentiate a song and a story most is a song has a melody which is a group of notes played on certain tempos. To a song, a note is like a letter to a story.

The Musical Notes

A note is a pitched sound itself. The song 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' begins with two notes having the same pitch," or "the piece begins with two repetitions of the same note."

Musical notes are represented by the first seven letters of the Latin alphabet (A, B, C, D, E, F and G). Scientifically, a musical note is represented by sound wave frequency, for example, a sound wave frequency of 440 Hz is named A4.

In modern tuning, there are notes called sharp. Sharp notes are between A and B notes, C and D notes, D and E notes, F and G notes and G and A notes. Therefore in order to read musical notes as reading the alphabetic ABC to Z, the musical notes are read as:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

Another interesting fact about musical notes is that, two(2) notes are of same wave span BUT different pitch. For example, note A4 has the same wave span as note note A5 but note A4 have half pitch lower than note A5.

Number of notes depends on a musical instrument. As I use my computer as the ultimate musical instrument (yes, a computer is a musical instrument and I am so tired arguing this fact with the traditional musicians), I have programmed my computer to have 108 musical notes:

A1, A#1, B1 .... F#9, G9, G#9.

Programmatically, I can write notes lower than A1 and higher than G#9 but it is useless to do so as the sound will not be heard by human ears. Worse, the note can damage my computer too.

Melody = Notes + Tempo

Getting to know the musical notes is key to writing songs as the heart of a song is the melody which is the combination of notes and their tempo. Before we get to write songs, it is very important for us to know the notes.

Mr. Jim Taylor, a frequent composer of Cadenza MIDI Diary has demonstrated what notes and tempos are all about through one of his great song or artistic sound called 'Fun With Mr. Chromatic'. Please do click here to listen to his piece.

There! In order to write a song, one has to compose a melody and in order to compose a melody, one has got to know the notes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Make Your Move

Adapted from: Chess Corner

Cynically, chess and politics are alike ... hahaha

Chess is a fairy tale of 1001 blunders. Chess is a mental torture. Chess is ruthless: you've got to be prepared to kill people. You cannot play chess if you are kind-hearted. Every grandmaster was once a beginner. A chess game is divided into three stages: the first, when you hope you have the advantage, the second when you believe you have an advantage, and the third... when you know you're going to lose! All that matters in chess is good moves. The pawns are the soul of chess. The blunders are all there in chess, waiting to be made. A player surprised is half beaten. A pin is mightier than the sword.

Su of Teia de Ariana has requested me to list out six(6) songs that are very important for me along my life ...

The answer is ... NONE.

No songs can be so important to me. No songs can affect me living up my life. The reason for this is simple ... I live my life according to the Faith I believe in, the knowledge of what I have learnt and acquired and my life experiences (good or bad).

I however do admire some songs that I wish they were mine. The followings are 6 songs which I think are the best songs I have ever heard:

1) Spirits Having Flown by Bee Gees.

At YouTube:

2) Lay All Your Love On Me by ABBA

At YouTube:

3) Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd

At YouTube:

4) Hotel California by Eagles

At YouTube:

5) Rasputin by Boney M

At YouTube:

6) Maybe Next Time by Rainbow/Ritchie Blackmore

At YouTube: h
(Not by Rainbow but this guy is good)

Song, Music and Lyric by Azer Mantessa
Vocals by Azer Mantessa
Flash Illustrations by Azer Mantessa

Make Your Move

You know ... I always doubt
with every move you make
so full of questions
of your intention
by the commotions
stirred up by your hands

by the movement you make

a victory to take

satisfied breath

of another death

Here I am to face with

all the choices that I have to take

with uncertainty on the other side

A cynical smile spread across your face

just raised another maze

for me to scrutinize another look

Suddenly I realize I am back with my rhyme

Suddenly you just out of time

Now you better think twice

I am full of surprise

I can see in your eyes

A bad streak

To choose or not to choose

To stay or not to stay

The clock will keep on ticking

So make your move

There you are to face with

all the choices that you have to take

with the ambiguity on the my side

A cynical smile spread across my face

just raised another maze

for you to scrutinize another look

Suddenly you realize I am back with my rhyme

Suddenly you just out of time

Friday, March 21, 2008


My goodness, the flash file is bigger than ever so expect some lagging there.

Only one picture is imported out of a nice 3D software. Check out for TERRAGEN. It's free! Special thanks to Jim Taylor, a great composer of Cadenza MIDI Diary for this one.

Incorporated in Flash is another animation technique - Masking. While waiting the flash file to be downloaded, I'll continue on this one.

How I Write Songs (Part 4)

My first step in my kind of writing music is to listen to my own heartbeats as discussed in Part 1. Next is to write down the beats and the tempo.

Beats and Tempo

Click here to listen to my heartbeats as recorded via a drum beat.

Notice that there are two elements: The beats and the tempo.

Writing down the beats and tempo

I have to apologize for this. I'm a self-thought composer. I'm not a real musician. I do however play a bit of guitar and piano BUT still am not really a good musician. I am however, a good programmer. I too do read a lot about music but strangely, I don't really listen to music much.

I know nothing about music notation so my methodology in writing music is so not conventional and can be very disturbing. From now onwards, all musical terminologies that I might use could be so totally wrong (It is so common that I misunderstood what I read ... ). So in advance, I apologize.

Okay let's talk about tempo.

All songs have own tempos. Some songs are fast and some are slow. Okay, let's listen to my heartbeats again.

Tempo is measured in quarter-notes per minutes or qpm. What is qpm? I have no idea ... hahaha. Just kidding :-) I'm skipping the details. Anyway, the heartbeats are measured at 120 qpm.

So, the first thing in writing a song is to know the tempo. I jot this down as:

Tempo = 120

Next is to write down the beats and this is the key in writing songs. You see, when we talk about beats and tempo (or speed), it is like driving a car at a speed and throwing stones at certain time. The beats then are sound occur at certain time. In order to write down the beats, we need what is called, a Time Signature. Listening to the heartbeats, we can hear two beats for every two seconds. I jot this down:

Every 2 seconds, there are two beats.

I however turn what is written above in graphical mode known as measure:


This is the measure of two seconds. Note that this measure is partitioned into 4 units. This is what we called a Time Signature of 4/4. Why 4/4? Basically, most songs have time signature of 4/4 as it is human nature to start music by counting beats as 1-2-3-4 ... or tap tap tap tap.

Next is to determine when do the beats occur in this measure (or every 2 second).

In order to write down the beats, our measure needs to have the Time Unit. Conventionally, measures are of 480 time unit (our 2 seconds have 480 time unit):

0 120 240 360 480 time unit

So, when we listen to the heartbeats, the beats occur at 0 and 120 time unit with a duration of 20 time unit for every beat. Our graphical measure now looks like this:


where x is the beat at 20 time unit duration.

The heartbeats are recorded for 8 seconds so our beats are graphically represented as:

+x-----+x-----+------+------+ +x-----+x-----+------+------+

+x-----+x-----+------+------+ +x-----+x-----+------+------+

Notice that every measure is separated from one another.

There! Before we start on writing music, first we must determine the tempo. Next is to measure the beats. Beats and tempo are very important because they make a song to keep on flowing.

Song, Music and Lyric by Azer Mantessa

Vocals by Azer Mantessa

Imported file (TERRAGEN) and Flash Illustrations

by Azer Mantessa


Do you remember me?

I am the Earth

Losing beauty
Getting reversed

And the Earth is me.
Each bit of mud
Why can't you see
A dying life

Skin and bone - of every bit
Make me well - My body fit
Make trees grow

Out of me … naturally.

This song is available (Flash, MB) at Cadenza Midi Diary

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Colours Serene

The size of the flash file is the biggest I have ever posted (1.2MB). I apologize for the lagging.

This song was originally sung by my youngest son. Unfortunately, he hesitated to re-sing this song again as it is nothing like Muse or Mika or James Blunt and all. I have no choice but to sing this song myself with Helium.

This is the thing. The kids keep on growing up and just a matter of time they play their territorial games looking for spaces of their own.

That they are able to avoid doing the wrong things is something I have trained them. My hope is, it is their nature. In fact the primary mission of any religion or code of ethics is the perfection of how people behave - their manners. I am consistently watching them as their behaviors will reflect back to me as a father. There is no point of believing something good in their hearts only without manifesting the believes in behaviors. Without doubt, good manners and good behavior are linked directly to Faith. Generally, only those with good manners and behaviors deserve respect from others.

No matter what the mainstream media and the Elite are trying to tell us, I stand to say that the major reason for the loss of 2/3 majority by the ruling party in the recent General Election is because the lack of their good manners and behaviors. They are so not respected. One of them waved the keris challenging the marginalized people to question their powers and policies. Many of them arrogantly stated that they don't need marginalized people's votes. They are so arrogant, so ignorance, so prejudice, so racist, so corrupt that when one of them died recently, I nearly laughed only to be stopped by my wife.

Without question, their supporters today are getting worried. They are worried about their future. Once, they were so arrogant telling everybody ... rallies are not a Malaysian culture. That was exactly what they did in Penang recently.

You see, Ibnu Khaldun was right. He noticed that the decline of a society does not depend on any one factor but rather on the interaction of moral, social, economic, political and historical factors over a long period of time. This is exactly what is happening.

That they are worrying is something very shameful. 50 years of independence has never really thought them to be dependent, to preserve high morality, to be hardworking, to value family structures, living conservatively, uphold humility etc etc etc. Not only they are worrying, they also create doubt on other people. Stereotyping other people. One thing for sure, they even forget who and what they are really made of.

This is the time to learn to be independent. Depending on politics and politicians is ego and disillusion. Political thinking cannot solve political problems because there is no such thing called political problem in the first place. We have social problems which can be solved through social thinking. We have economic problems which can be solved through economic thinking. We have financial problems which can be solved by financial thinking but there is no such thing called political problem. This is then the best time to consider not to rely on politics and politicians be it The Elite Party, The Husband, Wife and Daughter Party, The Dap Kedap Dap Party or The Honeymoon Party.

50 years of independence, what we received most is being doubtful towards other people. The Elite are so arrogant. Their followers are so dependent. Some people are so marginalized. That the ruling party lost 2/3 majority is sure a good thing. This is the best time for us all to be more open. To know each other. To learn from each other. To love each other no matter what the Elite, their supporters and the media are trying to say.

After all, this is nothing new. It was taught and said more than 1,500 years ago:

O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with God is who has At-Taqwa (do the right things and abandon the wrong things and dependent only to God).

Quran 49:13

As Malaysians, we should be very grateful. We are indeed very fortunate that we are blessed with multi-races, multi-religions, multi-ethnics and multi-languages. We are indeed colourful. We are like rainbows. We are beautiful.

Song, Music and Lyric by Azer Mantessa

Vocals (with Helium) by Azer Mantessa

Imported Pictures and Flash Illustrations by Azer Mantessa

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

(x, y, z)

I am so affected by the surprising (too pleasant indeed) result of the General Election that I am so grateful for being invited into a party I have so longed for. I just could not believe that Tupperware Party is still around. Hope to be served Mee Hoon and hope that will ease the pain of my personal loss in Jerlun. I'll deal with that son of an Elite later!

Yeah! Lotsa work to do for another 4-5 years to come...

Meantime ...

I did try writing a program through Flash ActionScript (quite similar to Java indeed) for this entry but unfortunately, I'm having a setup problemo due to my ignorance in the application installation. Had no choice but to use my old c-programming program for the graphical thing with one as an .avi file. Until I figure out the installation problem, the import into library files will have to do.

Song and Music by Azer Mantessa
Imported Files and Flash Illustration by Azer Mantessa

How I Write Songs (Part 3)

Let's not jump the gun directly into writing songs. You see, whatever we want to do, it is wise to understand what we are to do. Though I have blogged on this one before, I think a bit of revision won't hurt.

Understanding A Song

A song is a song. Period. I however prefer to understand a song as a story.

Just like any story, a song has letters which are the keys, words which are the chords, paragraphs which are the grooves and of course, the song is the story. A song can be with singing or with music or both.

What differentiate a song most comparatively to a story is that, a song has melody.

What is a melody?

A melody is like you sing ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep …’ without music. Two components constitute a melody - Keys and tempo.

Do note the word 'tempo' because the main reason why I listen to my own heartbeats is because I want to determine the tempo of the song yet I am to write.

So, what is a song again?

A song is a song but I do prefer to understand it as a story. A song has its own story to tell (or to feel - will say something on this later on). A song has its own paragraphs in grooves. A song has its own words in chords and its own letters in keys. What differentiate a song most comparatively to a story is, a song has its own melodies (in keys and tempos).

There! Next lesson on this is to convert the heartbeats into beats and tempos.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I'm A Clone

This song is a combination of Hip Hop and Rock musical genres. Am studying the ActionScript so no animation for this one.

Song, Music and Lyric by Azer Mantessa
Flash Illustrations by Azer Mantessa
Vocals by Azer Mantessa

I’m a Clone

Look at those politicians

Goodies with their conditions

"Better life welfare for thee

Only if you vote for me"

Speaking with so many tongues

Some promoting for their sons

And if you read the real news

Everybody seems to have their own views

Coming with all sort of bands

The candidates will shake our hands

Kiss our babies telling lies

Praise their leaders to the skies

I have no flaws to identify

This policy poured from your pen
You have written from the day I was born

All words for words in black and white

The MPs wanted to be judged

So I wonder based on what?

Your father has some legacies?

That you donated some money?

Do you listen to the people?

To those who are poor and in trouble

Or you listen to the cronies

The way going up the hierarchy

Look ... their faces for a while

Don't be fooled behind their smiles

The formation of Elite sect

Correct ... Correct ... Correct .... Correct


I just couldn't find a way

When it comes Election Day

I couldn't find an honest man

I won't cast a thing in the can

(I'm a clone):

We are identical to each other and each other

With everything we say, we say it in the same tone
But there is not much choice laying upon between us
And there is not much choice laying upon between us

I have no flaws to identify

This debt signatured from your pen
You have borrowed long before I was born

All words for words in black and white


(Don't be like clones):


Joy your differences, your weaknesses, your weaknesses

It’s something special of your own you can be proud of

Don't let the Elite decide all the choices for us

Don't let the Elite decide all the choices for us

This song (Flash, 420.4 kb) is available at Cadenza MIDI Diary


Have a great weekend ... Happy School Holidays

Be back hopefully on Monday.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Begun It Has

This is an instrumental song, a combination of Ballad and Rock musical genres.

Song and Music by Azer Mantessa
Flash Animation by Azer Mantessa

This song (Flash, 494.7 kb) is also available at Cadenza MIDI Diary

How I Write Songs (Part 2)

In part 1, I wrote on how I write songs by started things up. To easily write a song, I did mention to listen to own heartbeats and the beats are yet to be converted into songs. Before converting the beats into songs, there is a second important step which needed to be taken - Having the Right Attitude.

Having the Right Attitude

Whatever you do, having the right attitude to do it is highly important. Here I am, not even an amateur musician and obviously not a singer and a writer but am fooling around composing music. Having these weaknesses, there are many mental obstacles yet to overcome.

1) Defining the purpose - Why writing music in the first place anyway? The major purpose is to be creative. To have a clear purpose is a good way to start because this is what we are going to hold from the beginning until the end. Why being creative is so important?

You see, if you develop a Neural Network Artificial Intelligence System, you might think everything is about logic right?


Throughout my experience developing such systems, though we incorporated 997 logic sturctures there are, we too incorporated at least 50 looping procedures that require the system to think illogically or irrational ways or in other words, we push the system to be creative by itself. Personally, I have experimented the same thing by setting two grocery/sundry shops side by side. Both shops sell the same products at the same prices but why Shop A is doing 7 times better than Shop B? It is about being creative ... product relocation, fittings, services and all. Being creative therefore is very important and is a good purpose.

2) Just Do It - This is the Nike Slogan that I really admire. There is no point of having an intention but not doing it. A good attitude is to just do it instead of holding it back.

3) Don't be a perfectionist - Only God is perfect so don't worry about making mistakes. The fact is making a lot of mistakes is a good thing. Don't trust me? Here is the trick about making mistakes - Write a computer program and compile it ... you'll find that you are learning more with errors rather a program without errors.

4) Don't Worry Be Happy - Don't worry about what other people may say about the songs. There is no such thing called good song or bad song. A song is a song ... period. Okay ... should it be a bad song, the least we get to joy our own weaknesses. Enjoy doing it. Once a song is completed, you are the first person in the world to hear it. Is not that great?

There! The second step in writing music is to have the right attitude.