Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:15 am

Here is another great guitar-guitar counter melody from Un arugae Nee Irundhal - Nilave Nee Vara vendum.

One of the most melodious and peaceful counterpoints of Raja:



 Observe the following segments: 1) Between 0:15 and 0:28 secs and 2) Between 2:45 to 3:06 secs. This is definitely not an invertible CP. However, two guitars beautifully carving a counter melody - typical Raja.

  Here is another where Raja takes things to the next level - three melodies in his Vanna Vanna Pookal BGM (thanks to Rajiv for surfacing this) - a guitar melody with a flute melody and also a synthesizer melody on top of those two.

https://soundcloud.com/alphaksk/vanna-vanna-pookal

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:51 am

ravinat wrote:This is definitely not an invertible CP.

That was a lovely song. And thanks for bringing this up. An invertible counterpoint is when the two melodies swap scales no? Correct me if I'm wrong. And could you point me to an invertible counterpoint used by Raaja with the timelines? I can spot a counterpoint like everyone else from a distance but guess I need initiation in trying to identify an invertible counterpoint Smile 

And does PoomaalaiyE ThOL SEravA use an invertible counterpoint? I hear Bach's works are so full of ICs that IR has been amazed that Bach did something that phenomenal which takes IR himself a lot of time by IR's standards. Thanks a bunch in advance.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  fring151 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:14 am

An invertible counterpoint is when the two melodies swap scales no? Correct me if I'm wrong. And could you point me to an invertible counterpoint used by Raaja with the timelines? I can spot a counterpoint like everyone else from a distance but guess I need initiation in trying to identify an invertible counterpoint  
Munk, 
V_S sir had recently provided this link on the same thread. I am sharing it here again. I found it to be a terrific reference. As I understand it, it involves the upper and lower voices exchanging roles. This imposes many restrictions on which notes and chords in a given key can be used and makes it extremely challenging to compose "interesting melodies".
 http://www.teoria.com/reference/i/invertible-counterpoint.php

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  V_S on Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:54 am

Drunkenmunk wrote:An invertible counterpoint is when the two melodies swap scales no? Correct me if I'm wrong. And could you point me to an invertible counterpoint used by Raaja with the timelines? I can spot a counterpoint like everyone else from a distance but guess I need initiation in trying to identify an invertible counterpoint Smile 
Raja has done many, but at the top of my head I remember Vicky's article on 'Bass Guitar Thillaana' where he mentions the prelude of Thumbi Vaa and PoonthaLir aada interlude as examples of invertible counterpoint. The bass guitar closely playing the lead guitar and Janaki's vocals as a subsequent (but same) melody (played at different times). Hear it here.
http://solvanam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/thumbivaa-bit.mp3

PoonthaLir Aada bass guitar playing the same melody of lead guitar.
http://solvanam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/poonthalir-aada-bit.mp3

Entire article:
http://solvanam.com/?p=23134

Re-reading all his articles again in solvanam, what a wealth of information from Vicky!. noteworthy

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  mythila on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:04 pm

DrunkenMunk, thanks for pointing out how bass makes the difference in the first 2 similar lines of "megam kottattum". Didn't realize it till now.

Next, I need to play out 2nd bgm of " Germaniyin" using my mind's player to figure out what fring151 is deducing. Smile

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:22 pm

V_S wrote:The bass guitar closely playing the lead guitar and Janaki's vocals as a subsequent (but same) melody (played at different times). Hear it here.
http://solvanam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/thumbivaa-bit.mp3

PoonthaLir Aada bass guitar playing the same melody of lead guitar.
http://solvanam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/poonthalir-aada-bit.mp3

Read article. Heard everything. The bass pyrotechniques in Darling Darling Darling and Poove ILaya PoovE. noteworthy we are not worthy. We will never be worthy. Incredible article.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:53 pm

I was listening to the Maya Bazaar song, 'Naan Porandhu Vandhadhu' recently after someone uploaded a very good version of it. Raja's acapella  is now relatively well known after he performed it live in his NA tours in 2013. I wrote about this track a few years ago when I came across this by accident.  My view was that, if I had only 5 minutes to convince somebody about Raja's genius, I will just use this track above everything else I have to talk about.

When I heard it recently again, I could only think about அக்கிரம ராஜா (a loose translation would be 'unfair Raja'). Just hear the background voices between 3:30 and 3:39 and voila, it appears like Raja is getting those background voices to do syncopation on top of all his experiments in this track.  Let me know if I am dreaming or it is indeed syncopation.

https://soundcloud.com/raja4ever/hires-naanporandhuvandhadhu

We live in a world where a darn syncopation is considered innovation. What do you say about acapella with syncopation?

அக்கிரம ராஜா!

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:40 pm

ravinat wrote:Let me know if I am dreaming or it is indeed syncopation.

https://soundcloud.com/raja4ever/hires-naanporandhuvandhadhu

We live in a world where a darn syncopation is considered innovation. What do you say about acapella with syncopation?

அக்கிரம ராஜா!

Sorry about the noob question. Is syncopation similar to polyrhythms?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:00 am

Drunkenmunk wrote:
ravinat wrote:Let me know if I am dreaming or it is indeed syncopation.

https://soundcloud.com/raja4ever/hires-naanporandhuvandhadhu

We live in a world where a darn syncopation is considered innovation. What do you say about acapella with syncopation?

அக்கிரம ராஜா!

Sorry about the noob question. Is syncopation similar to polyrhythms?

 Drunkenmunk

  Syncopation has to do with rhythm arrangement, but has nothing to do with polyrhythms.

  Syncopation is one of the topics that several of my blog readers have asked me to introduce and I have been reluctant, as this is a staple technique of many composers. While Raja has done a lot of syncopation work, there is nothing special about syncopation that distinguishes his genius in any way. This is one of the several topics that I have refused to write in detail, as it deviates from the theme of my blog. This thread is also not the right one to do some introductory WCM concepts. However, I will definitely provide a few examples and try to demonstrate what Raja has done in this Maya Bazaar song. First the definition:

Syncopation is a musical process that involves adding an unexpected element to the basic beat of a musical composition. Basically, the art of syncopation calls for developing a line of rhythm that is played off the main beat line, creating an effect that provides the listener with a sense of enjoying a beat within a beat. At times, the syncopation adds more beats, while at other times it delays or changes the sense of a particular beat in the line of rhythm.

Syncopation has to be used very carefully as it can potentially backfire. Raja is an expert in picking the right WCM techniques and I have rarely seen his syncopations backfire. Three examples from various times of Raja and we will finally go to the example of Maya Bazaar and explain the genius of this composer.

All the songs I will illustrate here are sung by SPB. He gets syncopation better than any other singer I know.

1.  Prema Entha Madhuram from Abinandana - this is a great song to demonstrate the idea of syncopation.  This song plays with the delays in the beat cycle and the singer has to cope up with that.



This song has syncopation written all over it. I place this song above the other songs of SPB in this category as I was blown away with one of his telugu interviews, where he kept chatting with the interviewer and when it came to singing, he took it on casually, and did not miss a beat! Observe what goes on between 0:54 and 0:57 seconds and see how Balu navigates the 6/8 rhythm which slows down. Observe what goes on between 2:05 and 2:09. The slow rhythm is played by the piano with Balu riding over it. You will hear a similar arrangement at the end of the second charanam too. This is one of Balu-Raja highlights.

2. Pani Vizhum Iravu from Mouna Ragam. This song has some great syncopation parts. Observe the place where the charanam ends..



Between 2:32 and 2:36, you can see how the rhythm is maintained at a very slow pace and the singers have to cope with it. You need to keep a close ear to  the rim shots. They are there by design. I leave it to you to guess the time signature on this. Balu takes care of syncopation between 3:52 to 3:56 what Janaki took care in the first charanam.

3. Vaangum Panathukkum from Dhoni. Syncopation - Balu/Raja again.


This song has syncopation written everywhere right from the beginning. Listen to the clip between 0:31 and 0:46 - follow the rhythm played by the guitar - this is syncopation 101 - Raja shows that he adds beats as well as slows them. When this film came out, I got totally excited by this song for several reasons - Balu with Raja after a long time and syncopation - my theory is that Raja feels comfortable only with Balu for such experimentation. Other singers can sing this song - nothing hard about the tune, but I will bet $100 for staying on the beat cycle if any other singer can do what Balu does.  You can now understand why I rate Balu above all Indian playback singers. Listen to 3:50 to 3:54 - you will realize that this is all not any fluke - totally by design! Balu spells the rhythm for you.

Now, back to 'Naan Porandhu Vandhadu' from Maya Bazaar. Keeping two sets of voices on a rhythm is an acapella is bloody hard. On top of everything, this one has all the four parts being played by different voices. Raja now tries syncopation after happily playing with his 4-part score with voices. I can now bet $1000 if any other composer would try this. Between 3:30 and 3:39, he slows the background voices playing the rhythm that guides the foreground voices.

That's genius!


Last edited by ravinat on Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:48 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:19 am

Drunkenmunk

  The megam kottattum song discussed in this thread has some parts in polyrhythm. More on that here:

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2011/02/rajas-poly-rhythm-innovation-stage-15.html

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:39 am

cheers noteworthy Thanks a lot. I have a basic idea on what a polyrhythm is. Wrote a post including it in a song in my daily blog here: http://raajasongadaykeepsboredomaway.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/39-rurban/

I was having this doubt if syncopation is a synonym for polyrhythm. Thanks for clarifying wonderfully. As a test for myself, I heard the Dhoni audio first and tried to find the syncopation based on what I understood from your explanation from the previous 2 songs and I got it Smile

Naan Porandhu Vandhadhu does sound like a syncopation. Genius is an understatement to be honest to describe the mind boggling experimentation there.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:42 am

ravinat wrote:http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2011/02/rajas-poly-rhythm-innovation-stage-15.html

applause Fab!

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Drunkenmunk on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:10 am

As an aside, wrote on this song:

http://raajasongadaykeepsboredomaway.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/50-ode-to-beethoven/

Look at the second interlude. The piano and the tabla play the same frikking tune. Tabla does it with jadhis, piano does it with the melody. Violin repeats after them. Whattay!


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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Usha on Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:51 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlL2FoREH0M

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  jaiganesh on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:30 am

From Facebook - thanks to Rajiv..
http://www.shyamantak.com/pdf/Review_En_Devadhai.pdf

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  Usha on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:21 pm

indha paatai kandipa sollanam.... vaarthaigalil solla theiryavilal............ FEEL.......... idhu dhanae Raja........

Rajagopuram kadannu...... lovely one......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vdZMjWzNvY

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:18 pm

This is a slight deviation from the thread of this topic, but still has to do with orchestration of Raja.

   I also have another crazy idea and I think Raja can do it. Orchestrate an album with just one violin and several flutes - reverse the western tradition.  As there are so many flute tones possible with the different flutes, he can definitely try this as he does with violins. Violins are a different beast, but the reverse would be a great experiment to try. Who else, but Raja can do something like that. Getting a bunch of good flute players who are at par with Napolean may be difficult, but not impossible.

What do you guys think?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  jaiganesh on Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:54 pm

i think parts of onnai nenachen song had 
a bunch of flutes but oe solo violin standing
out. for that matter solo violin has a prominent
 space in raja's arrangements. Typically it carries
 a carnatic melody. Dont u think?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:04 pm

jaiganesh wrote:i think parts of onnai nenachen song had 
a bunch of flutes but oe solo violin standing
out. for that matter solo violin has a prominent
 space in raja's arrangements. Typically it carries
 a carnatic melody. Dont u think?

 Jai

  In the second interlude of the song, the solo violin plays as the lead instrument - however, I think, the harmony parts being played in the background is just one flute. Normally, Raja has a synthesizer playing a similar tone in many of his compositions. This can give an illusion of several flutes.

  What I was thinking was a full fledged album where the harmony parts are played by several flutes in different tones in the background. It is important to have the different flutes as the frequency range of flutes are pretty close and the arrangement has to be very skillfully done not only to bring in effect a great background harmony, but also make it easy on the ear. Arranging a string section is very different and so are other woodwind sections. Even in Sundari Kannal Oru Seidhi, there are several flutes that Napoleon changes throughout the composition. However, it is always one flute from Napoleon at a time. It would sound great (when properly arranged) when one plays a pan flute, another plays a bansuri, the third one plays the piccolo flute and you can have a whole bunch of flutes for the SATB.  (Soprano flute, Alto flute etc). It is a challenge as string arrangements have been around for a long time. However, Raja's string arrangements are so unique as he has that musical arrangement sense that few others have. I was wondering why can't he do a full album with flutes driving his harmony parts. Obviously, to keep the interest going, you need to have other lead instruments such as a violin, guitar, trumpet, sax etc.

  I think he can figure this more than anybody I can think of.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  kiru on Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:59 am

ravinat wrote:
jaiganesh wrote:.. solo violin has a prominent
 space in raja's arrangements. Typically it carries
 a carnatic melody. Dont u think?

 .. Even in Sundari Kannal Oru Seidhi, there are several flutes that Napoleon changes throughout the composition. However, it is always one flute from Napoleon at a time. It would sound great (when properly arranged) when one plays a pan flute, another plays a bansuri, the third one plays the piccolo flute and you can have a whole bunch of flutes for the SATB.  (Soprano flute, Alto flute etc). ..

Re: solo violin - usually it plays a sad melody right ? solo violin = loneliness in his books ? 
Re: harmony/flutes - Looks like Raja uses flutes like a rock musician uses lead guitar (and the tabla is his drum set). It is a typical indian arrangement with flutes most of the time . My observation. Could be wrong. see kaathal jaathi for flute and almost no harmony in most of the songs (atleast in the WCM sense) . This album is loaded with flute in music and lyrics.  Also flute = marutham, drums/rhythm = kurinji, neithal - elelo chorus in his vocabulary ?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  app_engine on Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:47 pm

kiru wrote:
solo violin = loneliness in his books ?

இல்லீங்...

mella mella ennaiththottu, chAN piLLai AnAlum, kAlam kAlamAga vAzhum...too many "funny" genre + duet examples Smile

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  ravinat on Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:04 pm

kiru wrote:
ravinat wrote:
jaiganesh wrote:.. solo violin has a prominent
 space in raja's arrangements. Typically it carries
 a carnatic melody. Dont u think?

 .. Even in Sundari Kannal Oru Seidhi, there are several flutes that Napoleon changes throughout the composition. However, it is always one flute from Napoleon at a time. It would sound great (when properly arranged) when one plays a pan flute, another plays a bansuri, the third one plays the piccolo flute and you can have a whole bunch of flutes for the SATB.  (Soprano flute, Alto flute etc). ..

Re: solo violin - usually it plays a sad melody right ? solo violin = loneliness in his books ? 
Re: harmony/flutes - Looks like Raja uses flutes like a rock musician uses lead guitar (and the tabla is his drum set). It is a typical indian arrangement with flutes most of the time . My observation. Could be wrong. see kaathal jaathi for flute and almost no harmony in most of the songs (atleast in the WCM sense) . This album is loaded with flute in music and lyrics.  Also flute = marutham, drums/rhythm = kurinji, neithal - elelo chorus in his vocabulary ?

Kiru

   At an overall level, your reaction is what I had about Raja's choice of instruments, till I started doing some serious research on his interludes. As I mentioned in this forum, I did use a German music researcher's approach and tried to play with Raja's instrument choice and moods (identified by colors). The whole research taught me something - never ever stereotype this man. Give him a new instrument he has never used before and he will create a mood you can never expect.  Before I answer your specific question, I have  one request for you.  Just hear the song "Manjolum Raathri" from Oru Yaatra Mozhi. I will list the instruments for you in this song - a synthesizer, rhythm pad, kick drum,  flute. What do you expect with this combo? Some crazy hero jumping around in Indian film music. Raja creates a surreal atmosphere that will put you into a complete meditative state. He can bend any instrument to create whatever effect he wants.

  Coming back to violins, here is what I wrote on the moods he creates with violins...

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2009/02/rajas-spectrum-of-moods-with-violins.html

  Though your specific question is one of solo violin, there are parts in this post which does address the solo violin question.

  Next, to the flutes, here is the post that can potentially reset what he does with flutes:

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2009/01/rajas-spectrum-of-moods-with-flute.html

  I wrote this entire series of posts to debunk this myth of Raja's moods. The clips in these posts are not working and I am aware of it. I am going through the painful process of getting the 500 plus clips to work on my site.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  jaiganesh on Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:44 pm

was listening to thendral dhaan prp song from keladi kanmani..
first interlude has a solo violin which morphs into solo flute
 in the bat of an eyelid. is there a wcm technique name for 
this transition?

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  fring151 on Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:46 am

Ravinat,

Regarding multiple flutes and solo violin, stringed instruments are ideal for harmony and it is an interesting thought to have a set of flutes harmonizing  a solo violin melody. I can't imagine what it would sound like, but of course Raja can! I completely second you that it is impossible to say how an instrument will sound in his hands. 

Jaiganesh,

I doubt if there is a technical term for that but I may be wrong. This is a very frequent idea that Raja uses in interludes and BGMs. Of course, we can use the all-encompassing term orchestration or arrangement to describe these at the macro level, but on the micro level, the rapid smooth transitions from one instrument to another that he achieves in the song you mentioned, or Azhagu aayiram, for example where the soundscape changes every few seconds seems to be very uniquely Raja. This is also the reason for the unpredictability factor in his music which I simply adore. I can't immediately think of a source of inspiration for this idea in his music.

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Re: Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

Post  app_engine on Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:54 am

"One thing morphing into another" - listening to the 2nd interlude of 'AgAya gangai' (dharma yudhdham) - SJ morphing into solo violin Smile 

Incredible!

Good youtube available now :


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