Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  kamalaakarsh on Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:37 pm

There are so many songs in which he did that - half of the song on indian and other half on western percussions. I could immediately think of these:

1. Seethakoka Chiluka (Stuartupuram Police station) - begins on western.. goes Indian and comes back to Western.
2. Maata raani mounamidi (Maharshi)
3. Vaa Vaa Vaa Kannaava (Velaikaran) has Pallavi on western rhythm while charanams go full Indian (this, he used in dozens and dozens of songs).

While we are looking at changing rhythm types, one song remains peculiar in his repertoire. The song Erettu Padhinaaru from Raaja Raajathaan. This begins on groovy western rhythms and immediately from 1st interlude it gets into Indian style. While Raaja typically gets back to Western rhythm (as he did in most songs), in this song, he keeps the Indian rhythm going till the end of song. That was unexpected. But within those Indian rhythms, he actually changes between Tabla and Mridangam, for the charanams. It is a classic song actually. Beautiful bhageshree based composition.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:15 pm

Presenting Ponvaanam Panneer Thoovudhu Inneram. Not Indian and Western. My upload in stereo:



Charanam alternates between tabla and Mridangam Smile

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  kv on Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:23 pm

crimson king wrote: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.

//dig
pOtti pAttu? indhaango Laughing  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wgBcsoxL50
:yungstezhs:
//end-dig

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:40 am

kv wrote:
crimson king wrote: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.

//dig
pOtti pAttu? indhaango Laughing  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wgBcsoxL50
:yungstezhs:
//end-dig

Lol  Very Happy 

I understand when Aakarsh and others showcase songs of Raja that used mixed instrumentation (Indian and Western percussion). Even Raja stopped doing this in the past few years - in my view, after 2009. Do you know of any Raja song after 2009 that used his trademark mixed percussion?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  crimson king on Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:40 am

I have to admit that I prefer it when the pallavi is in Western/Indian and the switch happens in the charanam (which he has done in lots of songs actually, though none I can remember from 2009 onwards), rather than examples like Rajathi Raja where the first charanam is in western percussion and then from second interlude onwards it shifts to Indian.  I find it a little off putting for personal reasons.  I don't like the switch in Ennodu Vaa Vaa either but that's more because I don't like that typical dance-like beat in the second interlude-charanam as it is.  One more instance of beautiful western-indian percussion switch is Pazhamudhir cholai.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  crimson king on Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:43 am

kv wrote:
crimson king wrote: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.

//dig
pOtti pAttu? indhaango Laughing  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wgBcsoxL50
:yungstezhs:
//end-dig

More like thalavali paatu!  Razz Hard a kaur aa, aiyyo rama!  Can they get any more gimmicky than that?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  kamalaakarsh on Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:00 am

crimson king wrote:I have to admit that I prefer it when the pallavi is in Western/Indian and the switch happens in the charanam (which he has done in lots of songs actually, though none I can remember from 2009 onwards), rather than examples like Rajathi Raja where the first charanam is in western percussion and then from second interlude onwards it shifts to Indian.  I find it a little off putting for personal reasons.  I don't like the switch in Ennodu Vaa Vaa either but that's more because I don't like that typical dance-like beat in the second interlude-charanam as it is.  One more instance of beautiful western-indian percussion switch is Pazhamudhir cholai.
Do you mean Erettu Padhinaaru song Raaja Raajathaan?If so, actually the western rhythm/arrangement is only in Pallavi initially. after that, the song is completely indian. Classic composition btw.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  crimson king on Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:56 pm

No, Rajathi Raja from Mannan.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  app_engine on Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:17 pm

Personally, I always enjoy when the switch is from western to Indian Smile

Apart from rAjAthi rAjA un thandhirangaL, one of my personal favourites is the last pallavi of 'rAkku muththu rAkku' where rAsA indulges in daNdanakkara suddenly Smile

I'm not fond of the switch in ennOdu vA vA, though.

It sounded comical (i.e. rAsA having fun mocking current TFM) to me...

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Usha on Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:07 pm

happened to hear the song. just now........

Neerugari pari  -  indha paatu..... indha list ku varum dhan..


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKM5XWimTHY

Beautiful song........ this is the first time listening......

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:54 pm

This is not the greatest of songs composed by Raja. He has done several of these in the 80s and 90s. The external appearance of these songs is one of merry that any cinema music director has to churn out, thanks to our wonderful way of story telling. However, under the covers, Raja goes on a rhythm spree which is full of patterns or as they call with tabla arrangements – ‘nadai’. He, not only chooses multiple patterns, but also switches the rhythm instruments.

The song is ‘Yeh Ayya sami’ from Varrusham 16.



 

1.       The prelude of the song uses thavil as part of its arrangement. The entire pallavi continues with the same thavil pattern used in the prelude.

2.       Raja switches to tabla in standard 6x8 for the first interlude.

3.       When the chorus starts off ‘chinna ponnu’, the table pattern changes to a different one.  After the chorus, the  arrangement switches back to the 6x8.

4.       With the charanam, Raja plays another pattern on the tabla – in the first charanam, when SPB sings, Vaaram Naalachu…

5.       When Chitra starts singing ‘Nethu Raapodhu’, it is the fourth tabla arrangement Raja switches to

6.       When the chorus goes ‘Nejulla Vachu’, the rhythm goes back to pattern 2

7.       When Chitra sings ‘Ullasamum’, the rhythm arrangement goes back to pattern 3

8.       In the second interlude, when the chorus goes, ‘Atha maga’, Raja brings in the fifth pattern

There are several songs such as ‘Saandhu Pottu’, where he has used more than 8 different patterns. These songs are getting rare and even Raja does not do any such arrangement lately, though he has a lot of talented players.

The only consolation we have is some nice drumming in songs such as ‘Poo Poothadhu’ in Mumbai xpress:


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:19 pm

ravinat wrote:This is not the greatest of songs composed by Raja. He has done several of these in the 80s and 90s. The external appearance of these songs is one of merry that any cinema music director has to churn out, thanks to our wonderful way of story telling. However, under the covers, Raja goes on a rhythm spree which is full of patterns or as they call with tabla arrangements – ‘nadai’. He, not only chooses multiple patterns, but also switches the rhythm instruments.

The song is ‘Yeh Ayya sami’ from Varrusham 16.



 

1.       The prelude of the song uses thavil as part of its arrangement. The entire pallavi continues with the same thavil pattern used in the prelude.

2.       Raja switches to tabla in standard 6x8 for the first interlude.

3.       When the chorus starts off ‘chinna ponnu’, the table pattern changes to a different one.  After the chorus, the  arrangement switches back to the 6x8.

4.       With the charanam, Raja plays another pattern on the tabla – in the first charanam, when SPB sings, Vaaram Naalachu…

5.       When Chitra starts singing ‘Nethu Raapodhu’, it is the fourth tabla arrangement Raja switches to

6.       When the chorus goes ‘Nejulla Vachu’, the rhythm goes back to pattern 2

7.       When Chitra sings ‘Ullasamum’, the rhythm arrangement goes back to pattern 3

8.       In the second interlude, when the chorus goes, ‘Atha maga’, Raja brings in the fifth pattern
the clap
3. I think it is 4x8 (tha ka dhi mi), only difference being he fills the 4 aksharams by playing just on 2 counts.
4. I think it is 5x8 (tha ka tha ki ta based mAdhiri thONardhu enakku though it's not totally clear).

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Melody and simple instrumentation
____________________________

  While Raja has been a great orchestrator, I like some of his work where he is a total minimalist that completely baffles me on his choice of instruments. I will write in this series of posts, where he does great things with truly simple instrumentation. He does not yield to the temptation of doing a complex instrumentation, where a simple one can do the job extremely well. The knack is knowing when and where this approach would work effectively.

  The first example I am including here is one where ANYBODY who has no musical knowledge can easily do. When you walk into an electronic store and see a keyboard displayed and powered, you are tempted to reluctantly press a few keys here and there. Nothing musical about it. You just want to touch the same key a few times to understand the sound. You cannot get simpler than that.

  Raja chooses a single note to elevate a set of charanam notes, that can be played by anybody. The simplicity simply baffles me - something that only great minds can think of.

 

The song is Muthu Muthu from Periya Veetu Panakkaaran (Tamil 199x). Hear the lines in the first charanam between 2:19 and 2:25:

Pona Vazhi (bell)
Enna ThoNalaye (bell)
Siru kuyile (bell) kuyile (bell) solladi (set of bells)

You will hear a similar pattern in the second charanam too.

Simplest arrangement, but extremely effective! Specially, the single tone ludes!

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  kiru on Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:27 am

Ravi .. how appropriate you should point out the minimalism in Raja's composition. In private conversations, in the context of TIS, Raja has mentioned he did not try to overuse the orchestra..just the required amount.. if I had wanted I could have gone overboards  - was his response. In my view, to him he just serves the tune.. thats his master. He does not care how rich/complex the song sounds.. I think only because of this .. the tunes are memorable..they are accented at the right places .. and no distracting sound effects ..even in this particular song other than the bell sound .. there is some chords at other places accentuating the tune.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:47 pm

Melody and simple instrumentation - #2
________________________________

The song#2 of this series is Shivamalli Poove from Friends (Malayalam).

The song is known for some great sax bits and excellent drumming.

However, the minimalist Raja shines at the end of each charanam. In charanam 1, observe between 2:45 and 2:52

En Devan (Simple synth bit)
Nindhe Iniyum (simple synth bit)
Paribhavam (simple synth bit)
Chollu Nee (simple synth bit)

Excuse me, if my lyrics are screwed up.

I cannot imagine this song without those 4 simple synth bits (they are all the same). This song stays in my mind only for this arrangement.

Truly simple, effective and beautiful.

The second charanam has a similar simple arrangement.


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:58 pm

Final pallavi in Kannan Vandhu Paadugindraan is a syncopation right?



Say yes, say yes, please Razz

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:04 am

Drunkenmunk wrote:Final pallavi in Kannan Vandhu Paadugindraan is a syncopation right?



Say yes, say yes, please Razz

PEsum Poo Medai MElE - yes, yes, yes! Munk is happy?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:51 am

ravinat wrote:
Drunkenmunk wrote:Final pallavi in Kannan Vandhu Paadugindraan is a syncopation right?



Say yes, say yes, please Razz

PEsum Poo Medai MElE - yes, yes, yes! Munk is happy?
Yes! And YAY! Loved it too, because it was unexpected, startling and jazzy awesomeness.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  counterpoint on Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:26 am

ravinat wrote:This is not the greatest of songs composed by Raja. He has done several of these in the 80s and 90s. The external appearance of these songs is one of merry that any cinema music director has to churn out, thanks to our wonderful way of story telling. However, under the covers, Raja goes on a rhythm spree which is full of patterns or as they call with tabla arrangements – ‘nadai’. He, not only chooses multiple patterns, but also switches the rhythm instruments.

The song is ‘Yeh Ayya sami’ from Varrusham 16.



 

Not the greatest of songs maybe. But certainly in the genre of folkish peppy tunes or even kuthu songs if you want to call it that it ranks very high for me.
You have talked about the changes in the rhythm patterns. But the tune flow changes drastically as well. In most TFM songs rhythm is a strong function of melody and has to back/support/accent the main tune(atleast in the vocal portions). So if you think we miss these variations in rhythm patterns in the last few years you know where the root problem lies. when the charanan begins in this song the melody kicks up a notch(and doesnt sound like the kuthu that it was in the pallavi) and is difficult to sing actually. SPB/Chitra have done an admirable job. And then the rustic voices in both the interludes, a characteristic of vintage IR that adds a lot of color. Terrific song. Much better when you compare it with the likes of say enkitta modhaadhe naan raajadhi raajanada and such songs  which came around the same period, because of the thought process that has gone into making this song. An all-time favourite of mine from a terrific soundtrack.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:24 pm

I have written about some of the great rhythm arrangements of Raja. Here one that truly irritates me. The constant tempo (something that is very common with the kid composers of today) and the lack of rhythmic tension (highlight of most Raja songs) puts me to sleep....


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  plum on Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:40 am

Usha wrote:happened to hear the song. just now........

Neerugari pari  -  indha paatu..... indha list ku varum dhan..


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKM5XWimTHY

Beautiful song........ this is the first time listening......
Excellent pick. The flow, orchestration - and Vamsy does create these really difficult situations to score. What is the situation?
The wimpy, small-time pleader (chettu kinda pleader = maratthadi lawyer a la maratthadi tailor to indicate his small time status), having taken up a plum case on property dispute on behalf of a wronged widow, is caught in the cross fire as the unscrupulous relatives of the deceased husband unleash their muscle power on him, and he just about survives a murderous attack. Naturally, he wants nothing to do with the case any more, even as his assistant, who is also his wide-eyed admirer and fiancee/cousin, tries to motivate him to fight for justice(while also making his career for a victory in this case will propel him to big time, mot to mention the generous compensation offered for this case)
And being a Vamsi-RajendraPrasad movie, the emphasis is on the farcicial absurdity of the situation - the natural response of any self-preserving laywer is to withdraw from the case, or to een join his senior who is handling the defenders casae, and one would hardly think a well-wisher asking him to 'do the right thing'. 
How do you even score for this situation? A certain orthogonal md we know would have resorted to nenjE ezhu type "uplifting" melody to acclaim from his ignoramus fans.

It takes a Raja to capture the farce, the determined, naive suitor of the "hero" in her near-teenaged optimism pushing the lawyer to take up the challenge, while the weather-beaten, pragmatic "hero", to our bemusement, running away with very sensible real-life decision-making.

The lyrics, as with many 80s Telugu songs of Raja, are fantastic. Light in tone, they capture the two points of view in delightful analogies and metaphors, even while using the inherent beauty of the language to revel in lyrical flourish(the words fitting the tune so beautifully). Even the references to jackie chan, he man, super man dont jut out, and flow in with the conversational feel of the song.

Even in the midst of that very conversational, pedestrian lines, you find a sublime
"mAya dAri mAttalEla mAya lEdi vEtalEla  nEn rAnu pO
chEtha kAni sowraymEla "

In the second stanza:
girl: AhA keedu needa choosi neekku bayama bheema ( are you scared of insects, oh bheema)
lawyer: chEya lEdhu intha varakku jeevitha beema   (eh, i dont een have life insurance)

Actually, sound very pedestrian when translated, but the words fall so beautifully in place that if you know Telugu, the effect of the situation is perfectly captured both in the tune and the lyrics.

Also, note how the tune captures both the teenager's boundless optimism and with subtle changes in the same meter, the stark pessimism of the lawyer.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:23 am

After a brief hiatus, I have started presenting the research I have been doing on symmetry in Raja's interludes...

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2014/12/backgrounder-on-musical-symmetry.html

My view is that symmetry happens by accident in film music and not by design...

More material to follow in the next several months. This research has been a very challenging one and is sort of inconclusive other than my claim of accident than design being the driver. However, I found it interesting to view interludes in this lens.

The BGMs were harder due to cataloging difficulties. Every other track is called a love theme. And it is not official (the only one that I know of is OAK).

Hope you will find the journey interesting. If the C&R analysis was hard, this one will be a bit more abstract as uncovering symmetry or lack of perfect symmetry is not easy and I have tried to simplify it as much as I can.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:54 am

Here is a song that was very common in the Raja output in the late 80s. The song is 'Kotti Kidakkudhu' from Theertha Karaiyinile (Tamil 1987).

Listen to the first interlude..

Guess what is special about this interlude. I chanced at this when I was researching for my blog articles on symmetry. Clue: This has nothing to do with symmetry.


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:26 pm

Is it an imitative counterpoint (Fugue)? Followed by just an Imitation.

1:26-1:31 in guitar with violins in the BG and from 1:32-1:37 with flute imitating the guitar and violins in the BG providing the counterpoint (is there a scale change between the guitar and the flute?).

And then we have the guitar with flute interspersing its movements and violins imitating the guitar with the flute interspersing again. I am certain there is a scale change here.

Right aa? Razz

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:58 pm

Drunkenmunk wrote:Is it an imitative counterpoint (Fugue)? Followed by just an Imitation.

1:26-1:31 in guitar with violins in the BG and from 1:32-1:37 with flute imitating the guitar and violins in the BG providing the counterpoint (is there a scale change between the guitar and the flute?).

And then we have the guitar with flute interspersing its movements and violins imitating the guitar with the flute interspersing again. I am certain there is a scale change here.

Right aa? Razz
DM

  Thanks for making an attempt. All the stuff that you spoke about does not make this any special. Here is my observation of this interlude, as I started looking at Raja's work with a C&R (Call and Response) lens...

This is a packed interlude that has no bridges and uses 5 instruments. Raja uses, Violins (Vi), guitar (Gu), flute (Fl), synthesizer (Sy) and bells (Be) rapidly in this interlude. The pattern of this interlude is as shown below:
Fl-Sy x2Gu-Vi x2Fl-Vi x2Gu-Fl x2Vi-Fl x4Vi-Be-Fl



In short form, the arrangement pattern can be said as 2+2+2+2+4+1.
You can see the packing of C&R arrangements for just 26 seconds. Raja has 13 C&R arrangements for just one interlude. What's interesting is that it does not bore the listener. This is the most of C&R arrangements in one interlude that I have heard Raja doing with most instrument combinations!
Do not worry about some of the terminology (example, bridges) that I use. When you read my blog, it will all fall into place. This will get published several months later. However, I was excited and wanted to share this. 
13 C&R arrangements in 26 seconds. Somebody seriously needs to figure out what goes on inside this man's head Surprised

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