Features in Raja's music that attract you

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  fring151 on Sun May 12, 2013 8:53 am

I have read with fascination some recent posts by Plum and others on how IR is capable of bringing out and portraying very deep and complex emotions. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on why Raja is so special to me, what attracts me to his music and why his music will continue to heard for generations to come.

Even before I had any musical knowledge or knew what a C major chord was, I always KNEW that there was something very unique about IR's songs. I found the music's unpredictability supremely stimulating. Recently, I read a news article in the BBC about a study on why music excites the brain and one of the findings was that the mind constantly tries to "guess" what is coming next and there is a sense of intellectual fulfillment and pleasure associated with this process. Well, all I can say is that when it comes to unpredictability, there just is no one like our Raja! Let us look at an example:

Paruvame pudhiya paadal- The first time I heard this song, I was literally transported to a different world. The first interlude is no less than a grand waltz! And then...and then what happens, there is a seamless shift to a harmonium playing a hindustanish melody in diminuendo, silence follows (except for the thigh tapping), followed by piano in dimunendo and then out of nowhere, SPB's baritone abruptly breaks the silence with a most haunting charanam that again oscillates between wcm and Indian melodic styles. As IR himself says, this is not fusion. It is something beyond that... transcendental..the very essence of all music.

Another feature in Ilayaraja's music that makes it so emotional and capable of evoking complex emotions is the use of dynamics and the call and response feature. Take the "Aayiram thamarai mottukale" song for instance. At the end of the pallavi, the violins completely change the dynamics and the mood with a short, fast (ostinato?) following which the pullanguzhal responds with a long sustained note, almost consoling and reassuring the violins. The whole song along with countless others are examples of Raja writing dialogues between musical instruments.

So even leaving aside Raja's effortless use of sophisticated harmonic arrangements, counterpoints and rare ragams, writing parts for almost every musical instrument known in wcm, ccm and hcm, it is the unpredictability and the dynamics, which in my opinion instantly catch the attention of any intelligent music listener. Finally, the fact that Raja composes so intelligently by constantly shifting the dynamics, instrumentation and percussion wouldn't amount to much if the main melodies themselves weren't so incredibly beautiful, and that is the genius of Raja. Composing hundreds and hundreds of haunting, timeless melodies and giving them to us in such an imaginative, creative way that they will continue to be heard, played and remembered for generations to come. Last, but not the least, as Guitar Prasanna says in his interview, Raja's meticulously written basslines in song after song after song is virtually unparalleled anywhere in the world. Someday in the future Raja will be hailed as a man who revolutionized the use of the bass guitar.

Anyway, I guess this post is already rather long. So before I bore you any further, I will end here and await your responses.


fring151

Posts : 1090
Reputation : 7
Join date : 2013-04-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  Punnaimaran on Sun May 12, 2013 2:10 pm

the clap fring, please continue the good work.

Punnaimaran

Posts : 28
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2013-03-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  app_engine on Sun May 12, 2013 3:57 pm

ஆஹா அருமை!
இன்னும் நிறைய எழுதுங்க சார்!

I really loved your observation about the "unpredictability" factor. Recently, while making a comment about a couple of "100% predictable -local group level" songs of kadal, this is one thing that was sparkling in my mind about rAsA - how he is greater compared to most of the top MDs of TFM after him.

We'll be made to think "எப்டி இப்டீல்லாம்" so often! Not just to impress or make use of a recent toy (i.e not like what Udhaya wrote in his comments about thavikkudhu thayangudhu song, mentioning how in some other songs "each instrument / sound waiting to get its 2 step strut" kind of unpredictability) or simply to get some "shock" value. (Anytime I think of shock value, I get reminded of the "poovukkuL bhoogambam" phrase, that shocks and catches your attention instantly but does not really IMPRESS or ENDEAR in the long run).

rAsA's experiments and organic fusions are something extraordinary - i.e. while making a lasting impression, they make the listener humbled as to how negligible his/her intellectuals / imaginations are Smile Like a lovely sunset in a breezy seashore after a hot and dry day or the chirps of sparrows on a lovely spring morning after a rainy night!

However, I'll have to be honest that not ALL of the 1000's of songs of rAsA are that way Embarassed There are many that may follow an "expected pattern" in melody / arrangements.

OTOH, there are easily 1000+ songs in which surprises abound!


Last edited by app_engine on Mon May 13, 2013 6:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

app_engine

Posts : 6898
Reputation : 20
Join date : 2012-10-23
Location : MI

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  Bala (Karthik) on Sun May 12, 2013 5:29 pm

Wonderful topic and superb examples
Polyphony, unpredictability (want to see more of it these days, NEPV is the way to go), rhythms, speed he introduces even in essential love melodies - these are my pet topics. Would love to see posts discussing theory and techniques from people like frings. I would like to share my thoughts from a paamaran perspective soon.

Of course, BASS lines. KV udal nalam seri aagi post pannanum seekiram

Plum, nerd, suresh, app and others - please start

Bala (Karthik)

Posts : 411
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2012-10-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  Nerd on Mon May 13, 2013 5:54 am

Fring151, what a fantastic post. And a real juicy topic this. Waiting for our forum experts to chip in.

I want to highlight Raaja's 'pauses' here. Take oru kaNam oru yugamaaga for example. A standard late late 80s / early 90s Raaja melody. Lovely tune built on a delightful tabla rhythm. Particularly like the flute fillers for each line in the pallavi. The same rhythm actually plays throughout the song. Even the interlude is standard Raaja with the strings/flute/keys. First charanam, again typical Raaja melody structure (low-high-high-come back). When Janaki finishes the charanam with 'idhu kaadhal raagamE puriyaadha mOgamE' we anticipate that she will repeat the pallavi lines and that's exactly where Raaja throws in a googly. Raaja himself sings the first line and us listeners are awestruck. A pleasant shock that. And we need a moment or two to come to terms with it. Raaja obliges with that pause. The anupallavi following that pause is the sweetest portion of the song the reason being that pause. What joy listening to it.



There are so many examples, the most recent one in NEPV's best - Kaattrai Konjam. The 1st interlude while the piano plays a beautiful melody throughout, we see the sax and electric guitar converse a little bit, followed by the chorus and the flute. And there is that much needed pause. I say much needed because so many Godawesome things are packed in that single lude and its impossible for us to consume at one go. And the man might have written it in what 10 minutes? Very Happy

Nerd

Posts : 688
Reputation : 2
Join date : 2012-10-23

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  fring151 on Mon May 13, 2013 5:39 pm

App, Bala, Punnaimaran and Nerd,, Thanks for your great responses! Smile

App- I read the comment by Udaya in the link you provided. While his is a matter of preference, it also reinforces the genius of Raja. He is capable of composing pure carnatic songs with only Mridangam accompaniment like Kalaivaaniye and Kamalam paada Kamalams.  At the other end of the spectrum, there are works of orchestral splendourlike Edho Moham, Sundari kannaal oru sedhi or Satrun munbu. We also have sublime "fusion" works like TIS, HTNI and NBW where he completely changes the rules of the game. Moreover, there are countless examples where one instrument takes the lead and even the string section is nearly absent - Mandram vantha thendral (trumpet), Ilaya nila (guitar), Chinna Kannan (flute).


As regards my personal opinion on "toys strutting their stuff", I believe that Raja doesn't waste one single note. He is a minimalist in that sense. If he uses a particular instrument even for only one bar, it is very deliberate and meant for a precise purpose and NOT to showcase his talent or even embellish the song. In fact one is more likely to feel that way listening to many western classical concertos (particularly 20th century ones) where the sole purpose seems to be to display instrumental viruosity. Raja never tries to do that. While he constantly experiments, to him, the emotional aspect is always first and foremost.

Nerd, Great example regarding pauses! I am not as familar as other forum members with early-mid 90s works and looking to discover more such gems. Also very tasteful on your part not posting the song video . When I listen to unheard Raja songs, I always like to not have to suffer through ghastly song videos. I can decide for myself how to feel about the music and don't need the director's unimaginative (to put it mildly) visuals to dictate that to me. Another couple of great examples for pauses which I can think of off the top of my head are the pause after the prelude of Valayosai and the interludes of Enna satham indha neram, especially the second (or third?) one that starts with the gentle acoustic guitar picking. Raja is almost teasing you to try and guess what is coming next.

Bala, yes I agree. NEPV is totally the way to go. It took me a while to start appreciating the songs, but now I listen to Kaatrai konjam and satru munbu nearly every day.

I will post a few of my favourite examples of Raja using guitar arpeggios to set the mood for the song soon.


Last edited by fring151 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:02 am; edited 2 times in total

fring151

Posts : 1090
Reputation : 7
Join date : 2013-04-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  kiru on Mon May 13, 2013 7:23 pm

Very nice, topic, my summary would be like Bala's. Re: pause. One of my fav quotes from IR that i have repeated here quite a few times - "I use music to create silence".

kiru

Posts : 506
Reputation : 3
Join date : 2012-10-31

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  kiru on Mon May 13, 2013 7:32 pm

fring151 wrote:
...
Bala, yes I agree. NEPV is totally the way to go. It took me a while to start appreciating the songs, but now I listen to Kaatrai konjam and satru munbu nearly every day.

I will post a few of my favourite examples of Raja using guitar arpeggios to set the mood for the song soon.

Why did it take a while to appreciate NEPV ? Very rich orchestration, so that itself should have impressed. Well.. I guess music is so very subjective.

I think, if you tell IR you can record with whatever musicans and whereever you want .. He gets so excited and this shows in the output.

kiru

Posts : 506
Reputation : 3
Join date : 2012-10-31

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  app_engine on Mon May 13, 2013 9:04 pm

Great follow-up post fring151!

Please continue Smile

Nice example for pause, Nerd!


app_engine

Posts : 6898
Reputation : 20
Join date : 2012-10-23
Location : MI

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  ravinat on Tue May 14, 2013 12:16 am

fring151 wrote:App, Bala, Punnaimaran and Nerd,, Thanks for your great responses! Smile

App- I read the comment by Udaya in the link you provided. While his is a matter of preference, it also reinforces the genius of Raja. He is capable of composing pure carnatic songs with only Mridangam accompaniment like Kalaivaaniye and Kamalam paada Kamalams. At the other end of the spectrum, there are works of orchestral splendourlike Edho Moham, Sundari kannaal oru sedhi or Satrun munbu. We also have sublime "fusion" works like TIS, HTNI and NBW where he completely changes the rules of the game. Moreover, there are countless examples where one instrument takes the lead and even the string section is nearly absent - Mandram vantha thendral (saxophone), Ilaya nile (guitar), Chinna Kannan (flute).


As regards my personal opinion on "toys strutting their stuff", I believe that Raja doesn't waste one single note. He is a minimalist in that sense. If he uses a particular instrument even for only one bar, it is very deliberate and meant for a precise purpose and NOT to showcase his talent or even embellish the song. In fact one is more likely to feel that way listening to many western classical concertos (particularly 20th century ones) where the sole purpose seems to be to display instrumental viruosity. Raja never tries to do that. While he constantly experiments, to him, the emotional aspect is always first and foremost.

Nerd, Great example regarding pauses! I am not as familar as other forum members with early-mid 90s works and looking to discover more such gems. Also very tasteful on your part not posting the song video . When I listen to unheard Raja songs, I always like to not have to suffer through ghastly song videos. I can decide for myself how to feel about the music and don't need the director's unimaginative (to put it mildly) visuals to dictate that to me. Another couple of great examples for pauses which I can think of off the top of my head are the pause after the prelude of Valayosai and the interludes of Enna satham indha neram, especially the second (or third?) one that starts with the gentle acoustic guitar picking. Raja is almost teasing you to try and guess what is coming next.

Bala, yes I agree. NEPV is totally the way to go. It took me a while to start appreciating the songs, but now I listen to Kaatrai konjam and satru munbu nearly every day.

I will post a few of my favourite examples of Raja using guitar arpeggios to set the mood for the song soon.
Fring 151 - Just registered into this forum after seeing this topic.
Great topic to discuss and a wonderful start by you.
All the songs that you have discussed have one common theme. Even with crappy orchestration, all these songs would have been hits just on the merit of the melody. That's what separates the genius from the ordinary. The melody is for the movie and the situation. Between what I call as the takeoff and landing chord of the interlude, it is a Raja world without any external pressures. It is my theory that he does film songs for the sheer enjoyment of composing the interludes (I can be wrong). I have not seen anyone before or after him, who gets even 10% close to where he is, in this department. For 90% of music composers, an interlude is a filler that they struggle to fill.
There are two songs in Avatharam that are cases to point out. Kannirendil Etriya Neivilake and Chandirarul Sooriyarum are two songs where the ornamentation that he adds attracts me to these songs more than the songs themselves. Kannirendil is Raja's experimentation with psychedelic music with his unique stamp. Follow the instrumentation and you will hear two synthesizers in phase shift mode playing along the choir. Why should someone try these crazy experiments when you are sure you have landed on a decent melody? That additional labor, attention to detail and bold experimentation add color to the whole composition. Similarly, Chandirarum is a masterpiece in my view. I am no great fan of Raja's voice, but this is one song I really like the way he has sang. He sings with the innocence of a villager in typical folk mode with the entire orchestration in perfect WCM mode. I have listened to this song many times, and have a hard time following both simulataneously. It takes immense intellectual power to write a melody and orchestration of this kind. More later...

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  V_S on Tue May 14, 2013 3:33 am

Wow! what this thread has achieved. the clap Brought back Ravi to our forum with an excellent post and already seeing some fantastic posts from all our friends. Very Happy Thanks a lot fring151 for starting this wonderful thread with some great insights. the clap Nerd, superb views on the Maestro's pauses. the clap

Welcome Ravi here Very Happy Wish to have your valuable write-ups. Smile

_________________
Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth - Pablo Picasso

V_S

Posts : 1805
Reputation : 12
Join date : 2012-10-23

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  fring151 on Tue May 14, 2013 3:56 am

Ravinat - I have been an admirer of your blog for sometime. Kudos to you for such an extensive analysis of IR's wcm mastery. You should even consider publishing your work as a book sometime. Flattered to hear that you joined this forum after reading this topic Smile

As I mentioned earlier, I am somewhat of an ignoramus when it comes to certain periods of Raja such as mid 90s and even other languages such as Malayalam or kannada, except for famous songs which even a person living under a rock couldn't have missed. So I just heard Chandiraul sooriyanum for the first time and I must say I am completely overwhelmed by the richness of the orchestration which is quite dense even in the vocal stanzas. I think I could discern some very interesting counterpoints even in my first hearing. Wow, discovery of the day!

And yes, you are absolutely right that for nearly all other music directors, interludes and preludes are filler material whereas for the maestro, it is his favourite playground (lab) where he can play any games (experiments) he wishes. And this, IMO also reflects in the listeners since in an IR song, most people look forward to the interludes whereas in the case of other MD's they just wish for it to end so the vocals can continue.

Staying on the topic of pauses, another famous example springs to mind. The pause after the charanams in En iniya pon nilaave. Again, as Nerd rightly says, a much needed pause for us to grasp and savour that breathtakingly beautiful charanam. Another interesting feature in the charanam is the harmony. Notice that the vocals lead the string section harmony in the lines Vennila vaanil..., and then the harmony shifts an octave up following the words Oorkolam pogum and finally leads the vocals before the words Puriyaadho.. This is as SPB explains here, another beautiful case of the harmonic arrangement leading the singer from one strata to another.

Looking forward to hear from other IR fans on their favourite examples of unpredictability, pauses, dynamics or any other interesting feature in the maestro's music. V_S, App, Plum and co please start Smile

fring151

Posts : 1090
Reputation : 7
Join date : 2013-04-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  V_S on Tue May 14, 2013 5:13 am

Before coming to what features attracted me to Raja, I would like to quote what attracted me to Raja in first place. The unique features attract as we grew up and continuously listen to his music, but the pleasure of how Raja attracted me the first time is more enjoyable for me to describe than anything else. Please bear with me, will share a little bit of nostalgia. Smile

I still clearly remember when and in what theatre I watched ANNakkiLi when I was 7 years old. Only two things I remember when watching that film; Sujatha and Sivakumar, nothing else. Laughing That was the first time I was even exposed about theatres and films. I don't remember any film watching before this film as my memory fade out. After this, I watched flurry of films from Bhadrakali, Madurayai meeta sundara pandiyan, aadu puli aattam, Thirisoolam, Sattam en kayyil and many more (1976-79). Till that time, I didn't have any idea about music, except my father used to always talk highly of MSV sir and introduced many songs of him to me. I was on an impression that he was the only music director in thamizh (how funny!). That was the time we moved out from our rented house and shifted to a neighboring town owning a small new home. I started making some new friends that's when I first started hearing about Raja. Since many of friends were elder than me, when they were talking within themselves about Raja, it sporadically went into my ears even when I was not sure what they were talking about. Even then I put Raja's name across to my father, but he was not interested instead he insisted/introduced me listen to MSV more frequently.

Till that time I didn't hear any of Raja's songs clearly, when listened didn't even focus and didn't even know it was Raja. With that mind and aptly convinced by the songs introduced by my father, I tried to speak up with my friends about MSV sir, but they were annoyed. I was confused what was happening. Till that time, I was not even knowing that for some 'lame' comparison, why one would get irritated. I didn't realize what mistake I did. It happened not just once, I tried talking highly of MSV sir again and again and they in turn asked me to listen to Raja and come back. Meanwhile my film watching habit continued and did watch some films like Billa, Guru, Polladavan, NetrikkaN, Thillu Mullu, Moondraam Pirai, SKV, PayanangaL Mudivathillai etc. This went on for two long years. Now I almost had a conflict as both of them sounded good to me and still was young (12-13 years) to differentiate, all looked same. Till that time I could not come to any terms, still I was holding MSV sir very high, especially bogged down to the melodies like thendralil aadum koondhalai kandEn mazhai konda mEgham, ilakkaNam maaruthO, kanaa kaaNum kaNgaL mella and of course NinaithaalE Inikkum songs.

During the summer holidays of 1983, I went to my grandmother's house (which was usual) where I used to spend some of the best moments with my grand parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My grand mother used to play radio stations mostly in the early morning hours when she prepares food/lunch for my aunts and uncles as they leave for work. We mostly help her and also listen to the songs. That was the first time I took a keen interest in listening to radio. I wake up early and used to switch on the radio as soon as I get up.

One day I woke up to this song. Till that time I haven't heard a voice like that or I didn't remember. Since I only got tuned to TMS, SPB, KJY, PS, PBS voices, this voice suddenly struck me like a bullet. First questions in me with respect to music started coming out. How can such a voice exist? How can such a voice sing? Can such a voice sing? What is he singing? As I have not heard such a rustic voice and dialect as I was mostly brought up in Madras and suburbs, this voice was disturbing me a lot. I missed hearing the singer name and also the film name. First time I felt that what I speak is not the only thamizh and there are people who talk differently (how silly!). What part of Tamil Nadu he could be? This song put me to that quest. The melody is way different from what I used to hear. It was just a free-flowing melody flowing out from soul unprepared. Every day I was curious to hear that song again, but I had to wait for almost a week or so till that song came again and took my sense out of control. This time I didn't miss the singer and the film.

Immediately on the same day, Ananda Vikatan published the review of Salangai Oli and my cousin brought me the article for reading. They gave 60/100 and some glowing remarks about the film and acting. First time in my life I was keen to know about musical aspect of the film having read its story through the review. I see the name ILAIYARAAJA. I could not believe that he was the same person who stole my heart just a few minutes before with his rustic voice and native singing and now he has scored a complete classical in Salangai oli. Complete contrast from the same man. I was in tears for the first time even before I saw the film. My cousin was looking at me stunned. Next day I somehow convinced my grand parents that I wanted to see the film. I browsed the newspaper hurriedly and found it was running in Subham theatre (Sathyam, Santham Subham complex) and informed her. We went with our whole family to watch the film and I came back as a different person having realized myself completely on where I stand.

If you ask me what attracted me towards Raja, it is not just the music from this film, but it was the song which I heard the previous morning, but that song led to watch this memorable film and reinforce my faith towards Raja. But that bold, rustic and innocent voice which haunted me, still haunting me and will haunt me for ever. Followed by the complete turnover in Salangai Oli. So the first characteristic in Raja's music which attracted me is his own voice and the soul in it. Thereafter any day if a song comes in Raja's voice I am bound to be a slave for that. I never took Raja's (own) songs lightly thereafter. More than anything else, his voice and singing is another mother to me. How many times I broke down hearing this song. Do you want to know which song was that?


Once I returned my town, I saw a different world and finally embraced with my friends and never returned back then on. More soon...

_________________
Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth - Pablo Picasso

V_S

Posts : 1805
Reputation : 12
Join date : 2012-10-23

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  app_engine on Tue May 14, 2013 3:04 pm

WOW, ravinat in this thread & forum!

Welcome sir!

Thanks to your post, I'm right now drenching myself with all 'avathAram' songs - what a way to start the work day!

Nice post & SPB link fring151 sArE! mikka nanRi! Please continue!

Great to read your nostalgic trip V_Sji Smile

BTW, fellow IRF & film reviewer complicateur has "favourited" my tweet advertising this thread Smile (I believe he reviews movies in "The Indian Express" from time to time)


Last edited by app_engine on Tue May 14, 2013 4:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

app_engine

Posts : 6898
Reputation : 20
Join date : 2012-10-23
Location : MI

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  ravinat on Tue May 14, 2013 3:58 pm

Thanks App, V_S and Fring_151 for the warm welcome.
While several others have suggested that some parts of my blog should be attempted in a book form, I think it may not work without the media. It will not serve its purpose without the media content (sound files). Thanks for your kind words.
A word of caution - I will contribute off and on and please do not count on me as a regular contributor. I am already behind on my blog updates. I used to have a series of writeups ahead of time. Unfortunately, a couple of research attempts have proved to be less interesting after I almost wrote up a series of articles. I never ended up publishing them - one of it was on Raja's use of solo violins. When I feel that I have content that is worthwhile publishing, I will. In the meanwhile, I am behind on my research for the next series of articles. Once I am close to finishing them, I will let all interested folks know.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Glass and Gold

Post  ravinat on Tue May 14, 2013 4:29 pm

While I tried to cover my first attraction to Raja's music - his orchestration and interludes, here is the second phenomenon that attracts me as I research his work more and more.

Will gold and glass stick to each other? Common sense tells us that it is not possible. Toss your ring into a glass jar and it does not stick to it in any way. However, the microchip industry has shown us that glass (silica) and gold (connectors of microchip inside the hermetic seal) can be made to stick each other and is one of the fundamental reason for microchips to work. Or else, the wizardry of electronics engineers will never be made useful to the real world. We go about every day life thinking that gold and glass cannot be stuck together.

Why all this talk about microchips? I consider Raja, the music-chip guy. In other words, the 'gold and glass guy'. Consider gold as one genre and glass as another. He will not only make them stick together, but will ensure that you never realize it! There are those glass guys (John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith etc) and the gold guys (Carnatic gurus, folk legends) but few can blend them without the listener realizing what's going on.

I wrote a long post on this in my blog and I do not want to repeat this here, but provide a link to the 'gold and glass' phenomenon:

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2011/06/all-music-is-one.html

Here are two songs of Raja, that exhibits the 'gold and glass' phenomenon. The first one is courtesy Suresh, who pointed this to me, while he commented on my blog.

1) Melle onnu from Manasinakkare

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRajX5GhDwM

Repeated listening is required for one to figure out that the till the second interlude, Raja uses the tabla and switches to the drums keeping everything intact. His experiment never bothers the listener in any way who is enjoying the melody till someone points that to him/her.

2) One of the songs that struck me as a very unusual arrangement was a song that goes, 'IniMael NaaLum' from December Pookal. If you listen to the charanam of this song, there are no violins, no flutes, no instruments other than the rhytm, but female voices. After I heard this song, I make it a point to go behind the voices of a Raja charanam. While voices backing a Raja charanam, is his unique composition style, I came across another song that simply blew me away recently.

http://www.raaga.com/play/?id=270087

The song goes 'Krishna Nuvvu' from Shiv Shankar (Telugu). What's different in this track? This is a routine melody and Raja would have composed a few thousand such. Try listening to the charanam a few times, and to my surprise, I realized, that an electric guitar is on rock mode behind the singers. You must be nuts to take an Indian melody and back it up with rock guitar! Raja does not go about bragging about such innovation. You do not feel the rock guitar out of place in any way and does not screw up the melody. Rock and traditional Indian melody working together beautifully - at least, this is the first time, I realized such things can coexist without anybody realizing it. That's why I like the glass and gold guy!

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  V_S on Tue May 14, 2013 5:32 pm

Wow! Another interesting analysis Ravi. the clap Nice coinage. 'Gold and Glass man'. Thanks a lot. I will listen to Shiv Shankar song again. These are the intricate things which people normally miss and on the other hand make sweeping statements against Raja's music that they are same and template-d. As you said "such things can coexist without anybody realizing it", but this is somewhat working against him, on the other hand appreciate the straight lifting of aliens genres and tunes as if it was originally done by them.

_________________
Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth - Pablo Picasso

V_S

Posts : 1805
Reputation : 12
Join date : 2012-10-23

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  fring151 on Wed May 15, 2013 6:26 am

V_S sir- Very nostalgic trip down memory lane. Really enjoyed reading it. Certain songs, no other singer could have sung with the emotion and raw gut level feeling of Raja. A couple of other newly discovered favourites of mine in Raja's voice are En gaanam indru arangerum and Pazhaya sogangal from Eeravizhi kaaviyangal. There is something magical about these two songs for me.

Ravinat - Again, great examples to highlight the unobtrusive blending of different musical idioms by Raja. The point you make that casual listeners will never notice these aspects is a very good one and again, another reason that Raja is always interesting to listen to. Who knows what new nuance or subtlety we might notice each time we hear a song! I have experienced this several times even with all time classics which I have heard more times than I can care to remember. Listen to Madai thirandhu or Eeramana rojaave and try paying attention to just the basslines and you might feel you are hearing a totally different song.

As you say, Raja doesn't go around bragging he did this or that. In fact he seems loathe to talk about (or even listen) to his own music...and yet people call him arrogant.

fring151

Posts : 1090
Reputation : 7
Join date : 2013-04-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  Punnaimaran on Wed May 15, 2013 11:13 am

Regarding pauses, the songs that immediately comes to my mind are என்ன சத்தம் from புன்னகை மன்னன் and பனிவிழும் இரவு from மௌனராகம்.

Welcome ravinat. V_S, nice to hear your nostalgia.

Punnaimaran

Posts : 28
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2013-03-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  Usha on Wed May 15, 2013 2:22 pm

ravinat,
neenga kodutha blog link.. rasathi rasathi.. paatu matum dhan work aradhu... matha paatu ellam padalai.

matha paatu.. net la kaeka mudiyum. ungaloda homework .... neenga edha solli irukeenga nu theiryanam. adhanala
unga link work aganam...........

Usha

Posts : 1090
Reputation : 8
Join date : 2013-02-14

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  app_engine on Wed May 15, 2013 3:15 pm

Excellent chip analogy, ravinat!



fring151 sArE,

EVK only recently? adadA...I believe there's a new release of the album (mastered from original magnetic spools on CD as claimed) and I feel it will be worth many times the money they charge for it Smile

While I'm a pAmaranukkuppAmaran compared to the jAmbavAns here, let me briefly state about one aspect that perhaps was NOT the first thing to draw me to IR's music but definitely a main aspect that keeps me wrapped / bounded / arrested with it!

For lack of musical knowledge, let me use a tronic term and call it "connectors" Smile The ones that connect interludes to saraNam starts or those that smoothly merge the saraNam back to pallavi.

I'll give a very pAmara example in the next post, a song that was on loop in the car this AM Smile

app_engine

Posts : 6898
Reputation : 20
Join date : 2012-10-23
Location : MI

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  app_engine on Wed May 15, 2013 4:26 pm

நான் கொடுத்தத திருப்பிக்கொடுத்தா முத்தமாக்கொடு அத மொத்தமாக்கொடு

(From 3:00 onwards is this song, the MV song with one stanza precedes it)

There are two impressive "connectors" - of each of the interlude to the start of saraNam. It is not that rAsA did these for the first time (most longtime IR-listeners are exposed to a variety of ways that he does the interlude ending) but these are impressive nevertheless!

The first one is of an oft-done kind. Actually the way strings connect the second interlude of 'idhu oru pon mAlaippozhudhu' to 'vAnam enakkoru bOdhi maram' was one of those from radio days that made me yearn for that song.

Here, in this first interlude of a so-called-masAlA song, the flute is playing an interesting phrase towards the end. The arrival of strings prepares one for the eventual completion / culmination of the interlude. That way, after the first burst of strings that ascend, a typical IRF waits for the next burst of strings at a slightly lower octave, nicely suited to connect to the vocals "unnaichchutRi vattamidudhu" Smile Sweet!

However, the second one is of the "not-that-often" type! There is some amount of UNPREDICTABILITY in this case for me Smile Though I know that the interlude has to end at some time, I was definitely not prepared for this terrific ending Embarassed

After some lovely guitar + wind instrument phrase (sax?), IR switches to his favourite WCM style string arrangements. As a typical IRF, I'm prepared to enjoy the treat and after some high-pitch strings, he slows down a bit and appears to take one on a trip-to-the-cloud with milder strings.

But then, totally unexpected, he abruptly stops the flight and in a matter of few keyboard hits (combined with similar drum beats), he simply throws one to the ground - like a sky dive, like a free fall - to the saraNam and KSC starts "un ninaippu uLLukkuL vandhu"!

And here I'm, stunned / surprised / taken aback and kept wondering at the mastery, brilliance of a magical artist!



Last edited by app_engine on Thu May 16, 2013 3:32 pm; edited 1 time in total

app_engine

Posts : 6898
Reputation : 20
Join date : 2012-10-23
Location : MI

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  ravinat on Wed May 15, 2013 5:41 pm

I dread this thing all the time, and it has happened again. I hate this online storage sites who give me a hard time and getting the audio files working again is daunting a task given the fact that my blog has about 400 clips for illustration. This happened twice before and I had to change sites. The fileden guys have let me down now.

Thanks Usha for pointing out. When I get out of this maintenance nightmare, I will let you know. It will take a while before I figure out something reliable.

Sorry for the digression, but Usha deserved an answer for her query.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Features in Raja's music that attract you

Post  fring151 on Thu May 16, 2013 6:44 am

EVK only recently? adadA...I believe there's a new release of the album (mastered from original magnetic spools on CD as claimed) and I feel it will be worth many times the money they charge for it
App sir- I saw that post today. Great initiative. l have to ask someone visiting Madras to bring it. Paakanum.

But then, totally unexpected, he abruptly stops the flight and in a matter of few keyboard hits (combined with similar drum beats), he simply throws one to the ground - like a sky dive, like a free fall - to the saraNam and KSC starts "un ninaippu uLLukkuL vandhu"!
Great description. Naan opposite example kudukkaren, where he suddenly takes off like an airplane. Famous paatu thaan - Raaja kaiya vecha. In the second interlude when the clarinet plays to a dappaangthu-like beat, we wonder what's going to happen next. And again Raja sweeps us off our feet as the strings literally take off like an airplane that's been taxiing on the runway.

Ravinat has already given fantastic examples of multi-layered compositions. I want to highlight how some compositions are so multi layered that even people who look out for such things can easily miss them. Idhu oru nila kaalam- What does a typical Raja fan think of when one mentions this song? I bet it would be that jaw dropping TVG bit in the first interlude. Now that was such a dazzling display of daredevilry that we almost forget the other awesome parts in this song. The very beginning of this song is a brilliant three part choral harmony with a church like choir. Next the slow sax builds our anticipation. Now, immediately after the words idhu oru nila kaalam, there are diminished chords (not commonly used except in jazz and some classic rock). Being dissonant chords they demand resolution and my guess is that Raja uses them at this point to further build the tension. Only one minute or so into the song do we even begin to comprehend what is going on, and then just as we think we "get it", he completely throws us off with that TVG improvisation. That's the vintage, unfettered genius Raja for you. And besides all this, there is another great choral harmony during the charanams and a killer bassline playing throughout. It is impossible for one to notice all these aspects in a single hearing! Oh, and not to forget the melody and smooth singing which would have been hits even if Anu Malik had done the orchestration.

fring151

Posts : 1090
Reputation : 7
Join date : 2013-04-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Master blender

Post  ravinat on Thu May 16, 2013 10:59 pm

Reason #3 is the unique genre experimenter that Raja is.

The training that Raja went through is perhaps the standard one that most composers today go through. However, few have the audacity to experiment between genres like him. In my previous post, I mentioned about how he lets two genres coexist without anyone noticing. This post is about taking the best practice from one and applying it to another. This is risky business as often times it turns out to be a lemon. Several composers today are so scared of doing such things, I do not see such lemons any more.

Let's talk about some of these experiments - Raja would initially stay completely by the rulebook and create a native track. Example, the initial slokam used in 'Kadhal Oviyam' in Alaigal Oiyvathillai or 'Pattu cholli' from Azhagi. Unlike a normal composer, it's now time to deviate from the tradition. Hear the beginning of the song 'Kootu Kuyilai' from Manam Virumbudhe Unnai. Raja applies the rules of Western harmony for a traditional slokam. This time, the experiment works and it sounds truly harmonious. I am sure he has tried this in a few tracks where it may not have worked.

Next, let's look at folk numbers - there are thousands. I particularly like Vethalai Vethalai from Rosapoo Ravikaikaari. It is traditional. Most of Raja's folk are what I call as 'Cleverfolk'. They always deviate from traditional folk and have some influences from other genres. I wrote a long series of posts about Raja's cleverfolk in my blog.

http://geniusraja.blogspot.com/2010/01/cleverfolk-raja-genre.html

One of the songs where he has applied both Carnatic as well as Western harmony is the track 'Eriyile Elandha Maram' from Karaiyellam Shenbagapoo. This song is a masterpiece of sorts and only the mind of a genius can write a song of this type. The opposite is true when you listen to the song 'Veetukku Veetukku Vasapadi' from Kizhakku Vasal. When you hear the violins at the end of his performance in his Italy show, it is clearly an experiment of WCM in folk.

http://geniusraja.blogspot.com/2012/10/usage-of-folk-and-western-choir-in.html

His experimentation between Carnatic and WCM is all over the 'How to Name it' album and a few hundred interludes.

I consider him a musical genius, not because of his abilities in any ONE genre but for being the first ever who could blend many in a single composition effortlessly. Sometimes, it is so effortless, that the listener never notices. There has never been anyone before and after him who is such a master blender. When I say this, it is not just in the IFM business. Most of his work is so well blended, it will take decades to separate the pineapples, the oranges and the strawberries from his recipe. At best, we are all folks who simply can call out a few traces of orange tinge in the final blend and claim that we have figured something and worked backwards (rightly or wrongly) to his recipe. It will be a case of hit and miss for anybody who does this (me included) and must be prepared to be proved wrong at some stage.

The blend that he does is much more complex than the fruit analogy. He literally makes pineapple taste like strawberries and vice versa. It is sad that such minds are not appreciated enough in their own times.

Those will be my three reasons : his interludes, his ability to camouflage genres and effortlessly blend genres in a multitude of ways. He is beyond just being a specialist in any one genre. Future generations of composers must realize such an effortless composer lived during our times who could not be challenged by any musical genre, but navigated between them with his blender that no one noticed.

My view is that it will take centuries to get such a master blender anywhere - not just in IFM.

ravinat

Posts : 464
Reputation : 31
Join date : 2013-05-14
Location : Canada

View user profile http://geniusraja.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum