Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:16 pm

I was scanning Raja's song for my next project and though I was looking for something, I landed on something else.

The song 'Onnukonnu thunai irukkum ulagathile' from Nandalala (2011), has an unusual arrangement in the charanam. This song has flute backing Yesudas's voice. I have seen everything from violins, guitar, flute, trumpets, sax backing charanam vocals. This is the first time, I am hearing a flute doing the job. This is not to be mistaken with flute doing quick ludes within the charanam between phrases.

Are you aware of other songs where Raja has done this?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  kiru on Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:56 am

@Ravi - you have done great on the analysis of this song and managed to communicate the beauty of this song. I like this song very much and even better than NEPV songs. I am with you on it being a commercial, no-pretense of a classical/orchestral piece, but has all the elements of it. Yes, the continuous string backing on the pallavi is a novelty, but I also think IR has never done piano harmony for all lines in the charanams in the past.
Basically, after NEPV has started providing an 'overdose' of harmony which to me, an harmony lover, is an 'overdose' of wild honey !!!!
I was thrilled about this song the moment I heard it, but I dont even our buddies here thought that highly of it (and I went back grumbling into my shell  Smile  ) .. I hope your posts lead to better appreciation and enjoyment of this song.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  jaiganesh on Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:19 am

As much as I love NEPV's songs, they are a saccharine overdose for a very unromantic film(which is the intention if I read GVM's script right).
OTOH, megha feels more intriguing. There is something holding back in the melody, a suspense.
Mugilo Megamo is a duet, but sounds so pensive. Even the cheerful chellam konjum poove, has interludes 
that are not aimed at being peppy. Restraint is the order of the day for Megha. So how does one flesh 
out the bravado of the orchestra? Any other musician would have gotten carried away. Raaja doesnt.
He weaves in contours in the melody and the ludes in such a way that it sticks to the minds of listener 
like a deja vu that gets clearer and clearer with every passing day. The entire album has the orchestra playing 
hide and seek with the listener, like Sun showing its brilliant radiance through clouds on a Rainy day, treating us 
to Rainbows and the 7 colour splendour.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  jaiganesh on Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:21 am

And Ravi - reg the 80s C&R flourish - you are spot on. Raaja has done enough and learnt enough from those experiments and has moved over.
His market is stuck at that. No worries for the composer, he carries on with his climb, solemnly.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:33 pm

jaiganesh wrote:As much as I love NEPV's songs, they are a saccharine overdose for a very unromantic film(which is the intention if I read GVM's script right).
OTOH, megha feels more intriguing. There is something holding back in the melody, a suspense.
Mugilo Megamo is a duet, but sounds so pensive. Even the cheerful chellam konjum poove, has interludes 
that are not aimed at being peppy. Restraint is the order of the day for Megha. So how does one flesh 
out the bravado of the orchestra? Any other musician would have gotten carried away. Raaja doesnt.
He weaves in contours in the melody and the ludes in such a way that it sticks to the minds of listener 
like a deja vu that gets clearer and clearer with every passing day. The entire album has the orchestra playing 
hide and seek with the listener, like Sun showing its brilliant radiance through clouds on a Rainy day, treating us 
to Rainbows and the 7 colour splendour.

Jai

  I like your description of 'hide and seek' the orchestra plays with the singers. That was exactly what I felt when I started listening to 'Mugilo Megamo', a few times. It took me a while to figure out  that Raja has arranged it that way by design. The 'hide' part of it is the background harmony and the 'seek' part of it is the short lude he squeezes out of the same arrangement. It is continuous and not discrete as he does in his other songs. He also does not change his instrument mix.  This is the reason for our intrigue about this song. Not easy stuff to even copy. This is why I mentioned that newer composers should pay attention to such arrangements. Their classrooms, software, instrument tutorials and downloads will not teach them such higher levels of thinking. It is also the reason why I single this track as a landmark track in the last 25 years from Raja.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:44 pm

I was hearing the song 'Pada kolusu' from Thirumathi Palanisamy...


Raja uses his bass lines and tabla to create a 'swing' in the charanam that I felt unique. I am sure he has created such swings in a few other songs. As a technique that is associated with western orchestration around dance music, it is strange that it occurred to him to do 'swing' in a situation such as the one the video shows...

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  jaiganesh on Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:02 pm

Charanam constryction itself is quite weird.
It is like variation of the same melody arranged in
Different series all ascending and then the sucker
Punch avarohanam completing all the series
With a dive down the scales.. quite unexpected..

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:05 pm

Uploaded a good quality of the song's audio without the noise. It's a personal favorite for me and my mother Smile


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Usha on Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:28 pm

DM,
   
 Thanks for the upload...  audio quality is toooooooooooo good........

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:47 pm

An experiment that went wrong?
__________________________

I was hearing this song 'Thekku theru machachane' from Ingeyum oru gangai

If you observe the way GA and PS sing, they go flat at many places and it sound very horrible on your ears. Is this an experiment with scale changes or modulation on folk that went wrong? Or is it just me that is imagining something? I can understand GA going flat, but not PS.


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:07 pm

The rhythm arrangement of this song always intrigued me and I cannot put a finger and define what exactly is going on. The song is 'Oru Kootil china kokilam' from Kolangal (1995).

Any insight?


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  SenthilVinu on Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:04 am

jaiganesh wrote:Charanam constryction itself is quite weird.
It is like variation of the same melody arranged in
Different series all ascending and then the sucker
Punch avarohanam completing all the series
With a dive down the scales.. quite unexpected..

Thanks for that breakdown. Now I can feel the surprise bit more.

PS: Anyone know who wrote the lyrics? Seem to be on the lines of Dir. Udaikumar trend.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Usha on Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:13 pm

Chorus.. something special.....

Beats....... amazing one......

Instrumentation...... really Great........

Racy violins.... Beautiful..........

mallagai vandatam dhan... apodhu varum instrument... keyboard????????  so sweet.......

Roaring Guitar. but Sweet.........  IR's Special........

Manin iru kangal konda

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVRgKqAKydI

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Usha on Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:29 pm

Muthamma looku vida vekka  - Vasuki  -  KC and Mano..........

Instrumentatiion. Fully Synth..... Folk song... IR' style......... with Reallity and the Nativity............ with his Special touch of Harmony......

Chennai slang il. chorus..........   

KC... ivangalum try panni irukanga........ Chennai slang il..............

2nd interlude .. so sweet...........

Nice lyric.........

Munda kanni amman
thandha lucky price nee..  Thanglish.. anga irukar  IR.. avaroda perfection.. or the Reallity........

Muthama

http://www.raaga.com/channels/tamil/moviedetail.asp?mid=t0003000

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  jaiganesh on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:06 am

@ravi..
Right now there is one violin arrangement that has me spinning in loop.
That is the violin backing in "Thathom thalaangu thathom" from vetri vizha..
Al these days, I had been focussing only on SPB, beats and the "bell" keys plus the 
synth voice sounds. Recently this weird arrangement dawned on me..
When SPB/SJ sing the staccato (thazuvattum thazuvattum) there is a violin ensemble response.
Then there is an alternation like Question and answer between the lead voice and this violin section.
It all sounds coherent and in sync - but for the last response, there is a glide down and an abrupt detour
to finish off. What is this style? I am trying to search for parallels..

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Usha on Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:54 pm

Raja yuva raja  - Deepam  - TMS

edho oru vidhyasam indha paatil epodhum feel pannuven.. enna endru theiryamal........

indru dhan gavanithen..... Interludes..... IR's style il ilai... oru instrument mudindha piragu  adutha instrument
start aradhu..  Idhu IR styleil  ilai ......... adhanal.. edho engaeyo oru  emptyness ai feel panna vaikiradhu.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyW_SPAbzRo

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:35 pm

Though I have heard this song several times, the rhythm arrangement did not capture my imagination for a while.

The song, 'Vaanam Ennum Thaaye Thaaye' sang by Chitra in Villupaatukaaran has a unique rhythm arrangement that deserves elaboration.

http://play.raaga.com/tamil/song/album/Villupaattukaran-T0003013/Vaanam-Ennum-266535

It is a pretty complex rhythm arrangement that has the bass drum, tabla, bells and chenda. For the pallavi, first interlude, and the entire 1st charanam, this beautiful mix of rhythm arrangement is used. You have to observe the chenda being used (I am guessing it is the chenda, not entirely sure) - it is used for just two beats in the entire cycle of these instruments. In the second interlude onwards, Raja brings out why he introduced the chenda in the first place. As the pace of the song shifts, the chenda gets its part. The introductory part of the chenda is absolutely a beauty that any other composer would never think of. You've got a good arrangement, why complicate it further? That's what separates the men (Raja and his rhythm players) from the boys!

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:35 pm

Good point about the cheNdai. Uploaded the song on YT:



Curious to see actual placement of the song in the film. The cheNdai portions will visually serve their purpose too, knowing Raaja, I am certain Razz Smile

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:57 pm

During MSV/KVM times, we had a category of songs that was in a competitive setting. In my view, the focus was more on the ability of the vocalist. Normally, TMS will sing the lines of the winner and the other competitor was another singer. This allowed the composer to show their mastery over Carnatic music.

In the 1980s and 1990, Raja carried forward this tradition, in a different way. There are at least 25 to 30 songs of Raja (maybe I am underestimating) that have competition between mostly male and a female voice. I have noticed that Raja used these songs to experiment with rhythm and other aspects of orchestral arrangement.

Examples that come top of mind:


  1. Poomaalai Oru Paavai
  2. Idhazh Inikka
  3. Paadungal Paatu Paadungal
  4. Unnai Maathi
  5. Vaa Veliye


This class of songs have disappeared from the face of TFM today.  The song picturisation was silly, but provided a lot of scope for composer innovation. It is sad that such a class should disappear totally.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  crimson king on Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:46 pm

Yes, same is the case in Hindi as well.  In Tamil, I think Raguman saar gave the last or one of the last hit competition songs, Minsara Kanna.  Nothing since then that I can recall.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  kamalaakarsh on Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:25 pm

ravinat wrote:Though I have heard this song several times, the rhythm arrangement did not capture my imagination for a while.

The song, 'Vaanam Ennum Thaaye Thaaye' sang by Chitra in Villupaatukaaran has a unique rhythm arrangement that deserves elaboration.

http://play.raaga.com/tamil/song/album/Villupaattukaran-T0003013/Vaanam-Ennum-266535

It is a pretty complex rhythm arrangement that has the bass drum, tabla, bells and chenda. For the pallavi, first interlude, and the entire 1st charanam, this beautiful mix of rhythm arrangement is used. You have to observe the chenda being used (I am guessing it is the chenda, not entirely sure) - it is used for just two beats in the entire cycle of these instruments. In the second interlude onwards, Raja brings out why he introduced the chenda in the first place. As the pace of the song shifts, the chenda gets its part. The introductory part of the chenda is absolutely a beauty that any other composer would never think of. You've got a good arrangement, why complicate it further? That's what separates the men (Raja and his rhythm players) from the boys!
Never heard this before. Beautiful song. Indeed a complex rhythm arrangement. 

Seems like raag chandrakouns.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:43 pm

In Raja's orchestration till 2008 or so, he used to occasionally give us some brilliant songs where part of the song was played with Indian percussion and the other part of the song (normally the second half) with Western drums or vice versa. Of late, both Raja and others have stopped using this technique. Please pipe in, if I am wrong.

Some of the songs where he did such orchestration will be part of this post.

1) Rajadhi Raja un from Mannan uses drums for the first half and the second half switches to thavil/tabla



2) O Vasantha Raja from Neegal Kettavai (1985) starts off with mirudhangam and half way switches to Western drums and finally lands with the mirudhangam...



3) The best one in this category is the song Meele Onnu from Manasinakkare (2003 Malayalam). It is hard to notice the change of rhythm from tabla to drums after the first charanam.



These do not include what I call as switching rhythms where Raja switches rhythm from Indian to Western for every voice change or every phrase.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  app_engine on Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:48 pm

Though it is not Indian to Western, the phenomenan of "changing half way to something else" happened for a recent song Embarassed

(ennOdu vA vA enRu solla mAttEn, unnai vittu vERu engum pOga mAttEn)

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:10 pm

The last I heard where Raja intermixed Indian and Western percussion was the song Belegaara Belagaara from Bhagyadha Belegaara (2009 Kannada)



The format is a little different. It is the poor man's version of the evergreen Raja song, Ghanashyama from Kochu Kochu Sandhoshangal (2001 Malayalam). This is the best with switching rhythms. It is a treat to watch the picturisation as well as Raja switches the rhythm when the two dancers (red vs. green) do their parts...


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Usha on Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:30 pm

One more song

Thavikudhu thayangudhu oru manadhu

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXhVXzN9gWo

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