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.