Date Created: 3/20/2010

Behold: yet another excessively loooong article.

Ok, macam yang aku sebut sebelum ni, lagu ni takde la complex sangat. It's relatively simple. But again, a good song doesn’t have to be too complex, it doesn’t have to be extremely hard to play. It just has to move you. And this song is moving in my opinion.

It took me a few weeks to finish this. I could have done it faster, but I decided to take my time. Aku just buat a few bars a day. Bile dah siap pon aku still double checked it. This I think is as close as it gets to the original. I should get paid for this. :P

Aku tengok most people main straight up F# minor untuk part intro. It’s totally fine. In fact, dulu aku try transcribe lagu ni pon aku main camni (@116 bpm):

But now with better ear and equipment, aku dengar betul-betul, aku rasa dia main cam yang aku tulis dalam tab tu (@58 bpm).

Technically, it’s an F#m9. But bile aku tulis chords kat atas tab tu, for the most part aku just tulis the most basic form. You can add color to it as you like.


Kenape Pakai Capo?

Part intro tu I admit is kinda hard to play. Kena stretch sket tangan tu. Every time aku main lagu ni, well, every time aku main anything aku akan stretch jari-jari tangan kiri aku. But that’s not enough for me for this song punya intro. Tangan aku tak cukup besar. It’s hard to play note G# kat 4th string 6th fret tu, and keep a firm barre on the second fret at the same time.

Memule aku try buat alternate tuning. Kalo tune 6th string tu one whole step down, to D, bile memula jadi senang, pastu bile the 3rd beat of the first bar tu jadi susah balik.

Ok, pastu with that tuning (DADGBE), letak capo on the second fret. The first bar becomes easy, but then chord lain yang supposed to be familiar jadi pening sket.

Pastu aku dapat idea. Why not tune everything one whole step down (DGCFAD), letak capo on the second fret, and play as usual. Walla!! Now the stretch is reduced by just a few mm, good enough. Lagi satu, since jarak antara bridge to the capo is shorter, tension tali tu pon jadi rendah sket. It helps, not much, but enough to reduce the fatigue (although it’s still painful to play it so many times).

I’m sure a lot of you can play it better than me, even without the capo. And kalo rasa tanak main camni, and skip the G# note (4th string 6th fret), and just play a straight up F# minor chord. Some people aku tengok kat YouTube do it that way. Totally fine. Like I said, when it comes to writing the tab, I prefer to make it as close as possible to the original.

Korang mungkin rasa cam pelik sket chord ni. Bunyi dia cam ngeng-ngeng sket. Well that’s just the characteristic of this minor 9 chord. Sebabnya ialah dalam chord ni ade minor 2nd interval, antara note G# ngan note A. It’s the most dissonant interval, macam out of tune. Not too stable in my opinion, not something you want to use at the end of the piece, where the song should resolve. But aku memang convinced camni la yang dimain dalam original recording, for two reasons. First, kalo dengar bebetul, those are the notes that he played. Second, kalo dengar the second time dia main F#m tu (bar 4 dalam tab tu), you’ll hear that it’s not exactly perfect. Note C# dia cam kantoi sket, not ringing perfectly, which suggests that this is not very easy, as I have experienced myself.

Lagi satu, kalo tengok video tu kekadang aku main chord A aku just barre the second fret, sometimes aku letak satu jari satu tali. The first way is easy, but then aku rasa transition back to B minor is not too smooth. I did both ways in this song.


More Theory

Based on analysis aku, lagu ni ade 3 key. But one interesting thing about it is that the key change is not too obvious, berbanding contoh yang aku kasi sebelum ni. Intro lagu ni is in F# minor, most of the solo is in C# minor, and the rest is in B minor. Kalo tengok circle of fifths (inner circle, in green), these keys are very close to each other.

It’s not uncommon for a song to have more than one keys. Sometimes, the same verse or chorus can have more than one keys. But usually when that happens, it’s so quick that aku tak tuka pon key signature kat tab tu. Sometimes the composer just decided to deviate out of the key for a moment (contohnya lagu Sejati, A major chord doesn’t belong to D minor key). But in this song, aku tuka key signature dia. Sebabnya, the F# minor is exclusively for the intro, the C# minor is exclusively for the solo.

And lagi satu, see how the key change happens in the end of the solo. Kalo tengok bar 47, the last two notes (G & A) belong to B minor key, although the key is still in C# minor. It’s actually leading you to B minor key before the change officially happens.

Dalam lagu-lagu in minor key, aku perati memang common to see harmonic minor notes. Harmonic minor scale ni sama macam natural minor, except the 7th note is increased by a half step (sharp). For example, in A minor scale, the notes are


Harmonic minor plak

A B C D E F G# A.

So dalam lagu ni, part nyanyi dia pakai B minor: B C# D E F# G A B. So the harmonic minor is B C# D E F# G A# B.

Part solo plak C# minor: C# D# E F# G# A B C#. So what’s the harmonic minor? C# D# E F# G# A C C#? Wrong!! The correct answer is C# D# E F# G# A B# C#?

Let’s go back to the piano keys macam yang aku tunjuk sebelum ni.

Between E and F, and between B and C takde black key right? Does that mean there’s no such thing as B#, Cb, E#, Fb? No. B# is simply the enharmonic equivalent of C. Note yang sama, name jek lain. And yes, you’ve guessed it: Cb=B, E#=F, Fb=E. But that doesn’t mean you can just use them to be fancy in any key. You only use it when you need to.

Dalam kes ni, remember that dalam diatonic scale, setiap huruf diguna skali jek per octave. So do dalam C# harmonic minor, since dah ade C#, we can’t use C anymore. It has to be a B#. It sounds exactly the same whether we call it B# or C. But in writing, they should be distinguished. Unfortunately GuitarPro 5 tak recognize B#, Cb, E# and Fb (in fact dalam Guitar Pro setau aku takde option for double sharp or double flat pon) (dalam GuitarPro 6 boleh buat). Maybe because most guitar players don’t care about it, but I do dammit. :P

(In the key of A# minor, the harmonic minor is A# B# C# D# E# F# Gx  A# (see, ade B#, E#, pastu ade G double sharp lagi).


The Vocal Line/The “Surprise”

First of all, if my performance to substitute the vocal line isn’t good enough and doesn’t give you the idea of “crying”, just know that that’s was actually the emotion that I was trying to convey.  Mase record tu aku takde la menangis, but that’s the effect that I’m trying to bring. Dalam kepala aku aku bayangkan the legendary Itzhak Perlman maen theme from Schindler’s List, and how expressive, how sad he made it sound, with his ~$2 million-dollar (or maybe even $7M) Soil Stradivarius violin.

The “surprise” yang aku sebut sebelum ni is just the instrument. So, if it disappoints you, I apologize. :P

I guess many people know me as a guitar player. Biasanya if a guitar player has a second instrument, maybe it’s the piano/keyboard. Some may play drums. Typical instruments for pop rock music.

But my root is actually orchestral music. Dulu mase skola aku main trombone. Kalo tak tau ape tu trombone, it’s the instrument that looks like a paper clip (in fact paper clip is trombone in French).

Tapi mase aku main trombone kat skola dulu, I have to admit I got a little bored. Most of the time, we were responsible for playing chords. Kekadang jek ade melody sket. I’m not sure if that’s typical for trombones.

But aku amik kesempatan try main instrument lain gak. Aku particularly interested in woodwind instruments: clarinet, saxophone etc. Boleh la main sax and clarinet for a few simple piece dulu.

Maybe around 8 years ago, aku beli satu soprano saxophone. It’s just a cheap one. Here it is.

But susah sket nak practice, because it’s pretty loud, mampus neighbor aku mengamok. The problem with woodwind instruments is that the sound can come out from many openings. Tak macam brass instrument (like trombone, trumpet etc) yang bunyi kuar ikut bell dia jek. You can easily mute a brass instrument, by plugging a mute at the bell. Contohnya cam trumpet ni.

Untuk brass instrument, the some mutes are designed to change the timbre of the sound. Some mutes, cam gamba kat atas, are designed to silent the instrument, so boleh main dengan senyap and dengar pakai headphone. You don’t get that for woodwinds.

The only solution is pretty much to cover the whole instrument, camni.

Funny huh? Macam mumia pulak. Mahal plak tu.

So, the logical solution for me is Akai Electronic Wind Instrument.

It’s a wonderful instrument. Like any MIDI controller, dia takde sound sendiri. It only tells your computer what note to play, and how it is played. Kat computer boleh decide what kind of synthesized sound you want. So for this video, aku main sound violin. In fact, the first time aku main instrument ni, aku try main a few lines from the theme from Schindler’s List. I fell in love with this instrument right away.

Actually aku memule plan nak main keyboard, with piano sound for the vocal line and save the EWI for my next project. Dah siap record sket pakai keyboard. But aku tertest main pakai EWI, I simply cannot look back. I can be much more expressive. Kalo keyboard, you press the key, that’s it. Kalo EWI, you play a note, while still holding the note, you can vary the volume and do all kinds of stuff by breath control.

I still have to get used to this instrument though. Aku record tu actually baru sehari lepas aku dapat instrument ni. Like any breath controlled instrument, you have to build up the muscle strength of your cheek, and breathing endurance.

Another thing with MIDI instrument is that, you can program your sequencer to record and automatically fix your rhythm. Benda ni dipanggil Input Quantization. Recording tu boleh ikut tempo tight gile, macam metronome. But for this part aku tak quantized the EWI input, so that it’s more human, more liberated. Well, it’s a sad song, when you’re sad you just want to pour your heart out and you don’t give a damn about tempo. :D

I look forward to spending more sweet time with my EWI. :D It’s actually my lifelong dream to be a part of a hundred-piece professional symphony orchestra. But that’s not gonna happen. At least I can now pretend to be a principal oboist or solo violinist or anything I want, playing along with a synth orchestra. :P


The Warrior

Ha, consistent with my last two videos, part intro kena ade something to set the mood for the song. Since lagu ni pasal pahlawan yang gugur, aku pon dapat idea untuk letak video kawan aku, Shaiful Hakim bersilat.

I met this guy mase kat PPP (now INTEC), sebelum gi US dulu. Actually kitorang memang scheduled to fly to the US. Tapi after 9/11, budak laki tak dapat visa on time. JPA asked if we wanted to switch to UK or France. So kawan aku ni decided to go to France.

I like this guy. He’s very religious, and, well, I’m not so much. But he treated me with respect. He has a very inviting personality and charisma. Dulu kalo aku nampak dia duduk dengan kawan-kawan dia bercerita pasal agama, I’d sit down and join in.

Apparently he became guru silat gayong kat France. Impressive.


The Acoustic Guitar Sound

Kali ni aku record pakai built-in piezoelectric pickup. After spending some time tweaking the EQ and preamp and input channel, I think I’ve found an acceptable sound. At least tak yah deal ngan noise.


Alright, Bean out. Thanks for reading. I hope you learned a thing or two.


Oh wait. I have one more thing to bitch about. Gi tengok article pasal Rex Kamikaze kat Wikipedia Melayu.

Beliau ialah seorang yang kelakar, tetapi serius bila bekerja.

Well I sure am glad to hear that he’s not a ferocious prehistoric beast.

Di masa lapang, T-rex gemar bermain games, seperti play station di rumahnya. Beliau juga seorang internet surfer di masa lapangnya. Beliau bercita-cita untuk membeli kapal selam sendiri, buatan Rusia suatu hari nanti. Ini adalah kerana menurut kata beliau, tidak perlu membayar road tax, insurans, tol dan petrol. Beliau mahu memiliki kapal selam berkuasa nuklear supaya senang untuk beliau pergi membuat show di USA atau di Rusia.Sama-sama kita tunggu apakah impiannya akan tercapai atau tidak.

The first two sentences are completely unnecessary. The rest is sadly funny. Please, somebody fix that.

I do not own the copyright of the original recording nor the music itself. The tablature that I transcribe and the backing track that I make are for educational purposes only. 


Aku Punye ®