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