Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  plum on Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:53 am

REgarding this thing about other composers allowing an involved film-maker to give suggestions et al, isnt it worse for directors who go to ARR?

With IR, you get to give a detailed requirement spec, and voila, he gives you the final product that does what you wanted, and also what you needed, but you were not smart enough to put it in the requirement spec

With ARR, you dont get to give a detailed requirement spec, he will take the idea, look at his bank, and pick something that fits closely or work on his own requirement spec and give you a new requirement spec and a product that adheres to it. You have to then go around changing your product to fit in with the component he has given. Orthogonal BGM-nu solli Boyle maRRum Mehra sonna kadhaiayE mAtthittEnnu perumaiyA sonnArE gnAbagam illaiyA?

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  plum on Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:00 am

Just imagine you are a banking company going to a software vendor whom you go to with a requirement.You want a simple software that handles simple deposits/withdrawals and a/c balance maintenance
Vendor says:
"nInga vandhu a/c-la credit AnA unga balance should increase-nu spec koduthurukInga, Think about this, idhukku namma orthogonalA software ezhudhinA epdi irukkum? vidhyAsamA rules break pandra mAdhri irukkumla? So namma a/c-la credit AnA, unga balance decrease AgaRa mAdhiri oru pudhu model product create paNNuvOm, sariyA?"

Project Manager: aiyo ivan namma bank-aiyE izhuthu moodidivAn pOlirukkE

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  Drunkenmunk on Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:06 am

Just nailing my feelings towards Raaja's music for a film here:

http://raajasongadaykeepsboredomaway.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/56-by-the-side-of-lord/

Do tell me what you folks feel Smile

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  jaiganesh on Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:29 am

D_M - summaa pinniteenga.. avanavan theme music poattutaennaan - Dei namma aalu theme filme poattaachu..

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  Drunkenmunk on Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:20 am

Nandri Jai. Forgot to mention one important point in the post. eppidiyum unnippaa padikkaravanga inga irukkaanga. So express aa inga kaarthaala 4 manikki ara thookathula ezhundhu mobile lerndhu padhivu seiren. Illenaa thookam bathroom edhuvum nimmadhiya varaadhu.

As Pallavi enters Prabhu's house, adhu varaikkum anga oru folk piece odum asking to make way. Idha reNdu vidhamAvum eduthukkalAm. Asking people on the way to make way for Pallavi or insinuating to her to make way. But since It's addressed to a guy, I won't read too much. But once she enters and speaks with a sadistic RP Viswam, there is silence. An uneasy silence which churn our guts as we know the eventuality but she doesn't. Marana level silence adhu. As she discovers, the shehnai screams out what she can't.

Where to use silence to prepare and soften us to hit us in our guts and where to actually plant the knife on an unsuspecting audience's guts, Raaja is unmatched. Idhuve prathyaksha kaN munnAl nikkara proof that he is NOT just one of the many musical legends (musically speaking here) in the pantheon of great Indian Music Directors. He is a beast in his own right.


Last edited by Drunkenmunk on Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:20 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  app_engine on Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:03 pm

Great blog post & a follow-up post here Drunkenmunk!

It's so nice to read when knowledgeable musicals write Smile

You're highlighting one important aspect in this thread (BGM / OST), which is a clear-rAsA-innovation territory in the history of TFM! 

Without parallel and puts him in an exclusive club! 

It's pretty obvious that only people with a definite agenda against him can say "oh, he was one of those many many good composers" Mad 

He is clearly one of a rare kind!

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  Drunkenmunk on Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:02 am

Thank you. Amazing isn't it? Narrating calm, peace, zest, shock, pity, friendship, sadness, love, building the love, its intimacy, the silliness and foolishness around a simple love, the moments in the love, the sorrow, pain, betrayal, death, tragedy and a life in its twilight reminiscing all this with a bitterness of having lost it all. All these emotions must make us heavy in the stomach. It does. Because of the music. Music which tells all these emotions with only one tune! Are we worthy? No noteworthy

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  Usha on Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:48 pm

IR's music is based on..... Reality, Nativity, the Characters , situations and the FEELINGS and the EXPRESSIONS............  with the PERIOD...........

Feelings and the Expressions........ idhukae neraiya sollanam............

idhula ellam IR matum dhan KING....................

80s BGM......... lenghty a irukum.......... Directors ku help aga than................

during 2000........  very simple and short one. idhuvum Directors kaga than. avanga edukara style ku than.............

epodhum.....   IDhu dhan IR oda Special Gunam.................

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  rajkumarc on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:10 pm

Very nice thread and great discussions on why IR is different from other composers be it contemporary or yesteryear. It just reinforces my belief that why IR is special and why I'm unable to have the same level of connection with anyone else's music.

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  fring151 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:24 am

Drunkenmunk,
Fantastic write up on Devanin Koil! I am reminded of Balki's remark- Raja is the country's only music director. It might sound unfair to others, but is not very far from the truth as far as BGM is concerned.
App sir, I have been a little late in grasping the necessity of this topic. There seems to be subtle propaganda by some sections of the media and vested interests in TN in general to simply give Raja a chronological place in TFM and equate every kathukutti to Raja's genius. BR's "Raja enna magizha vaithaar, GVP ennai silirka vaithar" statement is one such blatant instance. So, yes, we most certainly need to remind ourselves and others why Raja's position is truly unique.

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  V_S on Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:53 am


Excellent thread. Wonderful posts the clap You said it all. I would like to consolidate my thoughts towards it. Nothing premeditated, just writing in a flow. Please bear with me. 

First of all I do not understand why such a question even arises that IR is a composer who simply lives between the timelines of MSV and ARR. That's am extreme blasphemy. Again putting MSV sir again in line with ARR is another blasphemy. If we are talking about MSV or ARR or any music director today, it is only because of Maestro ILaiyaraaja. He is the first composer and music director who got this recognition, and he is the first one who broke that myth of actor-based, lyrics-based songs and got the recognition for all music directors that we know from yesteryears till today and any to come in the future. He is also the only reason every tom-dick-and-harry calls himself a composer today. I believe this is a greatest revolution to film music industry by Maestro.

1. First thing to note is IR is a single man army when it comes to composing without anyone's help. He needs musicians only to play the music he composed. With due respect to MSV sir, he was highly dependent on icons like Kannadasan, MGR, NT etc. and he almost lived in their shadows unable to project himself out and show his supremacy. When it comes to background score, it is no brainer, we all know. Coming to ARR, it is a team effort where he unduly takes credit of others' brain onto him. Whenever I refer to ARR, I invariably say it is ARR and Company. So when we are comparing a single human brain with a team, there itself the case is closed.

2. Some might argue (as I have experienced in a bitter way) music composition is like directing a film where the director depends on actors, cinematographers, choreographers, asst. directors, editors, art director and most of all the technology and equate both of them to art. When did this change? Since their icon does it this way (and they want to protect him in every way), it does not mean it is correct. It is the most cheapest form of art I would say, as you make people believe as it was fully composed by you. Film direction and music composition are totally different beasts altogether. Film making starts with a story, writing a script, developing it through discussion among asst. directors and making it live through actors, music directors, editors and so on. May be in olden days, the director (without any asst. directors) was the sole authority in the script, screenplay, since now it changed a lot, they apply the same philosophy to music direction and composing too that a single composer trend will change to a team. How silly that could be! The most funny part is we say film making which comprises of music composing is a team work, and we classify now that music composing is itself a team work. Can't get sillier than this. When Maestro does the whole music composing himself, this itself becomes ridiculing moments rather than appreciating the genius. Second point where Maestro clearly stands away ahead from the rest.

3. There is a large difference in music composing and music direction, which many fail to understand. MSV, ARR and every one you name, they were (are) never music composers. I am astonished to see every music director calls himself as composers. They all are music directors, that's it. I have told this several times, yet again writing it here for clarity. A music composer is the one who write musical notations (this term is equivalent to the composers like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven etc) on his own without even playing, but others tune the melody (just the melody again) through harmonium and rework again and again to perfection. This is not the case with composers. The music just runs through their mind and they immediately write just like a story. This one aspect is enough to take him away from any mortal comparisons. Once it is written even they don't' correct it. Smile When you are comparing a music composer with music directors, we are not comparing fairly, Case does not hold any value.

4. Spontaneity & Versatility. This is only applicable to Maestro. I believe everyone will accept. The sheer volume of films he composed is an ample proof of this. He can score for an outright native subjects (and composing purely based on the subject, not to escape for an easy route), on the other hand he can score for a classical films, college subjects, historical and period subjects, social subjects, crime, horror, thriller, drama, devotional subjects  etc. with the same amount of ease. This is all taken for granted which is very sad, on the other hand, music directors scoring the same method without coming out of their comfort zone are hailed undeservingly. Maestro is THE MOST VERSATILE COMPOSER EVER.

5. Background score. Just this term will put any music director of any comparison to shame. He has produced marvel in this area in each and every film. His musical scores have become anthem even more than the popular melodies of all time. I have never seen people humming the score before Maestro came into musical scene. It is obvious it will never happen again in future too. This is the biggest revolution in film music. He has not just used songs as musical themes, he has used scores which not only served as a life and soul to the film, but also served as a huge prospect of melody if extrapolated. Even some film directors have used his score as songs in their other films.

6. Understanding cinema. Again this has been talked in depth by Plum and others. None other than Maestro understands cinema totally. As writer Jeyamohan mentions, other music directors are part of the film and support the film merely through songs, but they were (are) not a part of film making process, but with Maestro, he studies every film in and out, that's the reason we keep hearing outstanding musical scores even for some horrible films. Other music directors cannot elevate a bad or worst film (script), but Maestro can pull the film from depths and dangers to mountains and heavens with his music and score. The number of films he accomplished this is not just few, it's in 100s. People tend to compare one or two films of other music directors compared to his 100s. This aspect is completely absent in others. More than that, they conveniently hide this aspect of music composing and just rely on songs to prove a point.

7. This is a sub section of #4. Understanding cinema is not just enough. Composing a score true to the film is the most important aspect of all. This is what Plum talked about in the above posts. Thank you plum for highlighting this aspect. Music directors should not skew the film's requirement according to their comfortableness and fool the directors and people.  The music directors skills comes into picture only when he confines the music to the film's boundary.  Within that boundary how much he can go push his boundary (not the film's boundary) according to the film's narrative determines his versatility. Breaking the rules, genres all are valid only if it complies to the film, if not why we we even talking about a film. There are many recent examples where music directors does not even comply to the film's soul, yet just based on their brand they try to sell their product, however worse it is. There is also another underlying factor in this which many don't understand is they don't want to leave their comfort zone. Maestro's music truly reflect the film's soul combined with huge amount of creativity within that boundary. That's why we keep hearing 100s of kalyaani or keeravaani in different shades and flavor, not just one or two to prove a point.

8. Moods and Emotions. This should be taken as the first point. This is mostly lacking in others. In olden days we used to hear few main emotions, pathos, happy, love There can be sub-sections in this but very few. Nowadays, emotions are fully loaned from westerners as they full copy western type singing with the same emotion again and again, what name do we call that emotion? There are many subtle emotions which Maestro brought out unlike others. It's much more than navarasam. Right from various kinds of love and romance (from rural to town to urban to college to old age), marriage (of various religions, tribal, folk, western), festivals, rituals and celebrations (again folk, urban etc), abortion, child's birth, child's play, child labor, handicapped, prostitute, poverty, richness, mother's loneliness, father's loneliness, emotions of a grandfather, grandmother to their child and grand children, friends, betrayal, child coming of age, college years, brave, coward, humor, drunken, hope, despair, mind war, hatred, death, God and many many more. Are we even having 1% of these emotions in today's songs? They keep repeating the same thing again and again, even if the movie demands otherwise.

9. Folk, Indian Classical. First time in film history we got to hear so much marvel which we(will) never hear(d) before and after him. These traditional genres completely became alien now even within our country and state, rather stealing from others which has started as a fashion now became the inevitable and benchmark. Again comparing 1 song in a raagam or 1 song in folk with 1000s of them of Maestro IR is a big blasphemy and biggest sin. We never heard of such authentic folk songs before and will never after him. Folk choir harmony is a big subject to discuss which I wonder any one has covered in depth like Maestro.

10. Western Classical Music. Only from Maestro's era I believe most of us came to know and remember about these yesteryear composers (Bach, Mozart etc). Only through Maestro we came to know about Western Classical music.  The way Maestro sees our music in WCM is unparalleled. No one touched this style at all even now and fearing to touch as this is extremely complex. Only through Maestro's music we came to know about these wonderful western classical idioms like counterpoints, fugue, invertible counterpoints, harmony, et al. Western Choir harmony is again a big subject with no parallels. 

11. Genres. Right from authentic folk (this itself is a very big subject to sub-classify), tribal, carnatic classical (lot of sub elements to it), hindustani classical, ghazals, qawwali, koothu, jazz, blues, hip-hop, rock (lot of sub genres), pop, country, bluegrass, acapella, WCM, mass, oratorio, opera, broadway music, the list is endless. The more pertinent aspect in these genres is he has only used these genres as flavors and completely localized them to suit our film needs. I can dare say any music director we are talking today are not at all localizing the genre and using the same with no stamp of them, yet enjoying the fame.

12. Range of Instruments used and the new sounds introduced. If we are talking about creating new sounds, it can be none other than Maestro. Most music director use new sounds by buying them. Maestro discovered new sounds, that's a drastic difference between him and others. Hear his compositions right from 70s till today, most of the new sounds we hear emanate from live instruments and keyboards. Maestro approach is to combine two or more instruments to get a new sound out of it. Even an acoustic guitar will sound folk because of Maestro's tuning. Even a western violin will sound pure folk only due to Maestro. He has made every instrument to bend to his tune leaving out their true nature.

13. Rhythm innovation. This is one of the most diversified topic to be discussed in detail. The amount of innovation he has done in this field alone should fetch him the most coveted awards and felicitation. There is nothing unturned by Maestro in this aspect.

14. Preludes, Interludes and postludes. Who introduced these terms to us? This is a totally giant beast which clearly differentiate Maestro from his predecessors and successors. Even now this aspect is matchless after so much advance in technology. Why there is scarcity in thinking while we till now would have heard some 10000 glorious interludes (roughly approximating - 5000 songs with two interludes). 1000s of songs we hum the interludes along with the melody which is the biggest musical revolution I would say. Please refer to #365RajaQuiz (365rajaquiz.wordpress.com) to savor those precious moments. His interludes are not just supporting the melody, it is the melody in itself. That's why we cannot separate the melody from ludes. This is the first time in music history that the ludes are also etched in our mind as the main melody. Another unique aspect in Maestro's ludes and melodies is there are 100s of songs hidden inside one song. So much layering, yet sounds so simple and pleasant. Please don't even compare this genius in this aspect with others. It will be a shame to music.

15. Novelty, stamp and signature. As some you already pointed out, it is very difficult to spot the music director for some songs of yesteryear. Same hold true for today's compositions as they don't mostly apply their stamp and merely apply the same western idiom which looses their signature. This is again cheating listeners. On the other hand it is very easy to spot Maestro's songs  in a huge music repository, despite their clones. This is one of Maestro's biggest strength while many lack this. We even talk about this term only post-MSV era. How many such new terms Maestro has given us? When it comes to novelty in tunes, again he is unparalleled as he has hugely gifted to compose tunes in diversified manner in seconds. I hardly find his tunes very bland and uninspiring and underwhelming. Compare this with the tunes of today which does not invoke any surprises. Maestro's music has longest shelf life like no other, because of the roundedness in every area, not just in tune or singing or orchestration, it has everything in it. The structuring of the tune is so tight that there is no chance of vagueness of boredom. It instantly catches us, but it never leaves us.

16. Grooming Singers. When we talk about Maestro, we also talk about the singers he groomed. Even today he does that, just that he is working on few films nowadays. With Maestro, they were (are) in safe hands, unlike we see new singers every day not sure what their fate is going to be the next day. This is very important when defining a musical era. You have to believe in your singers (MSV sir not taken here into account).

17. Private albums. To compose a private album without any story, situation or any inspiration becomes difficult. How many has he composed right from NBW, HTNI, TIS, India 24 hours, Music messiah, huge bunch of devotional albums. Most devotional album he writes lyrics. Breath-taking effort. Whodunnit?

18. Handling live orchestra. Have you seen anyone handling this more efficient than him? It needs thorough study and knowledge about WCM, the orchestra and how they operate and play. That's why he goes places; Hungary, Budapest, London and dictate terms to musicians. That's why he has a huge respect from those musicians. None other than him. Most others operate in a room hiding from the world, yet the cruel world praise the mediocrity. At the same time, if we compare Maestro's usage of synthesizers, it has a special place in music history right from 70s till today without losing out on the soul.

19. Lyricist. He has written numerous songs himself and no way inferior to regular lyricist. Whom do we compare here?

20. Authority on the subject. When it comes to speaking anything technical on the music subject, name anyone from his predecessors or successors who can confidently and comprehensively speak about music for hours together. He is the only authority on the subject. Even in live shows he can compose given a situation. There is nothing to hide for Maestro. He is a living mirror.

21. Backbone for producers, directors, actors. If I start naming the producers, directors, actors, actresses who benefitted fro him, this page will not be enough. Again, please name any other music director who contributed to the growth of these humans. How many films for free?

22. Hits and popularity. Those days when a music becomes hit, it is hit musically too and it is listened by most. Nowadays the definition of hit itself is very lame. The hit is by the brand name and not by the quality of music. So it surges on the day of release and dips down immediately which clearly tells one thing. If the music stands tall, it will never dip. Maestro has the most number of hits compared to anyone in the history. As everyone already explained his music was the main reason we heard music in buses, tea shops, nook and corner. Nowadays hits are reduced to urban centers without even penetrating the towns and villages. Also marketing holds a big value in music compared to music alone in those days. Even today when his music does not sell well, the passion in searching his new music and listening does not compare to even bigger hits, as they remain as hits in charts not in people's mind. Maestro's popularity is much more in people's mind rather than outside, compared to other music directors.

23. Music crossing boundaries. This is a misnomer talked against Maestro frequently. Looks like Maestro's music is confined to roots, so that it cannot cross boundaries, while others could cross, which is often taken as a credit. I would say it the other way. If a music crosses boundaries while confining to it roots, that is the best music and can be termed world music. If the music is composed with a main objective of ignoring its roots, then it is not the original music, leave alone crossing the boundary. Same way if a music does not have any source/origin, it automatically disqualifies to be termed as world music. It can be called non-indian music, but not world music. This is the first time I am invoking an example. kuzhaloodhum kaNnanukku, vizhiyilE mani vizhiyilE, mandram vantha thendralukku were long time believed to have roots only in south, but when was just re-polished, it was accepted beyond vindhyas. How is that even possible? it is just an illusion about world music. When it comes to world music, Maestro is the pioneer who throws away all illusion and brings in a clear picture what actually it is. Only thing matters here is that none have listened to him to even compare this aspect, but blindly succumbed to the familiar notion. Pure politics.

24. Last but not the least, Maestro fans, blogs, researches. I have not seen such a huge fan following in my life discussing various aspects about Maestro's music daily. Most talked about phenomenon.

I can write more and rant more, but let me stop here for you all to add more. Name any one music director who can compete in at-least 1 aspect out of 23 above, then let us start comparing. Maestro does not deserve to fit in any timeline, as he himself is a time machine who can go anywhere. It is a pity that Maestro's music has been equated to mere mortals. Time will tell the truth for sure.


Last edited by V_S on Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:10 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  fring151 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:52 am

applause V_S sir. Kalakiteenga. That was an epic summary. You have not left anything for us to say. I will just share my thoughts on some of your thoughts which are totally fabulous.

12. Range of Instruments used and the new sounds introduced. If we are talking about creating new sounds, it can be none other than Maestro. Most music director use new sounds by buying them. Maestro discovered new sounds, that's a drastic difference between him and others. Hear his compositions right from 70s till today, most of the new sounds we hear emanate from live instruments and keyboards. Maestro approach is to combine two or more instruments to get a new sound out of it. Even an acoustic guitar will sound folk because of Maestro's tuning. Even a western violin will sound pure folk only due to Maestro. He has made every instrument to bend to his tune leaving out their true nature.

Double, triple thumbs up for this the clap . To write music for such a wide range of WCM and ICM instruments requires great imagination, a deep understanding of their frequencies and the techniques involved in playing them. I have to mention here that even WCM greats like Brahms and Stravinsky had to take the assistance of violinists to polish the violin parts in some of their scores (particularly the violin concertos). And our maestro writes it spontaneously and WITHOUT ANY CORRECTIONS. A mind which can write such intricate music for a range of instruments SPONTANEOUSLY and with no correction is not an ordinary mind and the music undoubtedly emanates from the depths of his soul.

There are many subtle emotions which Maestro brought out unlike others. It's much more than navarasam. Right from various kinds of love and romance (from rural to town to urban to college to old age), marriage (of various religions, tribal, folk, western), festivals, rituals and celebrations (again folk, urban etc), abortion, child's birth, child's play, child labor, handicapped, prostitute, poverty, richness, mother's loneliness, father's loneliness, emotions of a grandfather, grandmother to their child and grand children, friends, betrayal, child coming of age, college years, brave, coward, humor, mind war, hatred, death, God and many many more.

What can I say? Though I dd not grow up in Raja's era and haven't even seen 95% of the movies he has composed for, the music touches me deeper than any other music I have ever heard and will ever hear.

Western Classical Music. Only from Maestro's era I believe most of us came to know and remember about these yesteryear composers (Bach, Mozart etc). Only through Maestro we came to know about Western Classical music.  The way Maestro sees our music in WCM is unparalleled. No one touched this style at all even now and fearing to touch as this is extremely complex. Only through Maestro's music we came to know about these wonderful western classical idioms like counterpoints, fugue, invertible counterpoints, harmony, et al. Western Choir harmony is again a big subject with no parallels. 

How true is that. I attended some WCM theory and guitar classes for around 2 years when I was in college, around 2006-2008. I have however learned more (however little) about counterpoint, harmony and chord progressions listening to Raja than in 2 years of music classes. It really is painful to see the great man being compared to mediocre and below-mediocre music directors of today. But to be fair, the fault lies not with the present day music directors but with vested interests, "All music is equal" libtards and musical Nyaana soonyams who get into the comparing business for obvious reasons. Some of them might be good or even very good music directors in their own right, and we shouldn't judge their talent by comparing them to a baffling genius, a man without peers sitting on top of mount improbable, grinning at us mere mortals.


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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  irir123 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:02 am

this might sound a bit offkey in this thread.

last few weeks, I have been trying to understand IR's contribution to the rise of a phenomenon Rajinikanth in the 1980s and early 1990s.

I can vouch for this: noone has customized music to suit Rajini the star the way IR has done - and he did that while giving super-duper tracks for other stars/actors around that time.

Am singling out Rajini's films for the simple reason that most of his films did not offer much in terms of creative challenge for IR - most of the plots were predictable and yet besides Rajini's charisma, I can assert that it was IR's creativity in handling similar situations/plots with some out-of-the-world music, that gave Rajini's films a huge boost.

"Thananthana kummi kotti", "adi ponnathhaa" (I have already posted about this song elsewhere), "Thottathila paathhi katti", "vela illathavanthaan", "oorai therinjikittaen" etc - all bear the unmistakable stamp of IR and yet are typical Rajini songs perfectly in sync with the image he had so carefully cultivated.

this is just about IR's creativity in scoring for repetitive situations from Rajini films - given a slightly different challenge, each time IR has come with a stunner be it "valli vara pora", or "adi rakkamma", "maasi maasam", "amma endrazhaikkadha", "ding dong rappappo" are some of the examples in this regard

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  V_S on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:13 am

Thanks fring151 for your kind words. Thanks to plum for inspiring me to write.

irir123, Nice take on Rajini's career with Maestro's music. I believe that's his authority and ownership in understanding cinema to the core.

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:22 pm

Lots of nice posts by all of you. Let me try and put my thoughts here.

First, for those who feel that Raja is just someone on level with MSV and ARR, I would like to quote from Dave Barry, "I know music is a very subjective thing. I have my opinions and you have yours. And yours is wrong".

Lets start with a bit of background before we come to Raja's music. In the olden days, the three most important aspects for any film music song was tune, tune and tune. This also meant that what was very important to Indian film music was the voice. The music directors concentrated on churning out melodious tunes. That was their main job. The instrumentation came later. It was mostly done by someone else. Someone who had not composed the tune. In some cases it was the Assistant Music Director and in cases of a musical duo being the composer, one half generally did the tune composing, the other half doing the orchestration. And no, I am not going to argue that Raja did everything and hence he was great. Hold on and read further.

To reiterate, all over India, tune was the most important aspect of a song and the voice, which carried the tune, was the most important instrument if them all. That is why the vocalist became such dominating personalities. Lata, Rafi and Kishore in North, Jesudas in Malayalam, TMS / Susheela in Tamil, Ghantasala / Susheela in Telugu could dictate terms with the film folks. The MDs felt that their tune need to be sung by the best and were willing to bend backwards when in came to the demands of the singers. The only exception in those times would be Salil Chowdary but his songs too did depend a lot of the tune.

This dependence on tune was very much the fallout of our cinema music having its roots in Indian Classical Music. ICM is heavily raga based, both Hindustani and Carnatic, and in the initial stages they provided tunes to the films. Naturally the voices and the tune mattered a lot during those times and the orchestration was used to provide some novelty. Music directors like Anil Biswas understood to some extent the harmonizing potential of WCM and started incorporating these elements into their music but the grip of ICM was too great and hence tune and voice ruled supreme. Until Raja came on the scene (or more technically when Raja came behind the screen).

When we argue about Raja doing justice for interlude, prelude, postlude etc, we miss the wood for the trees. What Raja did is beyond giving great interludes etc. What he did was that he changed the whole thinking about the film song. He completely changed how a music director approached a film song. Earlier, as I had pointed out, our MDs composed more in tune with the ICM aesthetic which held the raga and the voice as supreme. Raja changed the aesthetics to the Western Classical aesthetic. Let me explain what it means.

Lets take the case of a symphony or any other western classical piece. Until it is specifically written for an instrument, no instrument dominates the piece. Every instrument is equally important to the piece. All the instruments together work to create a certain mood or effect and each one has a part to play in the larger context. If you take one instrument away from the piece, the piece diminishes. They ensure such a tight coupling between the different instrumental scores. This is possible because the Western Masters saw the whole item as one unifying whole and not as one piece supplementing another. Hence the equal prominence for every instrument. This is exactly what Raja got to Indian film music.

Raja started composing the piece as a 'whole'. We are the ones, with our inability to comprehend his all encompassing view, who talk about prelude, interlude etc. The truth is, unlike the ICM philosophy based Indian film music, where instruments were solely to support the vocals, Raja used the WCM philosophy, wherein the voice was no more important than the instruments. Everything, voice and instruments, were equally important for the song. Take any one away and the impact diminishes. Raja merged them so well that every listener now started singing everything in that piece, not such the vocal portions. To put it more clearly, in earlier days, the main ideas were in the tune whereas instruments rarely carried any major ideas. They merely filled in the gaps. In case of Raja, the orchestra has as many brilliant ideas as the tune. Some would even say that the orchestra had more musical ideas than the tune.

This is did not mean that after Raja came the tune lost its prominence. On the other hand, the tune held its position. It was just that Raja elevated the orchestration to the level of the tune. Now the voice became one more instrument in the complete song. It was no longer the one standing out. This was the best period where great singers were needed but Raja's holistic approach kept them in check, making even the best of them realize what their part was in the grander scheme of things. This the major philosophical change that Raja brought to Indian film music. That is why he is unlike any other music director. (Salil Chaudhary did try this but he was not able to succeed in this to the extent that Raja did but we must also credit him for trying to take this approach in an earlier era.)

I always maintain that if you remove Raja's works from the Tamil film music scene, you will have perfect continuity !!! That is MSV / KVM are continuous with G Ramanathan / Subbiah Naidu and ARR is continuous with MSV. Philosophically, inspite of using new technology and being very pop influence, Rahman took us back to the MSV era. Here the tune (and in many cases now, the hook) was the most important. Everything else added 'color' to it. Orchestration was used more to make the main tune or the hook more interesting. So in more ways than one, we were back in MSV era. The simplicity and catchiness of the tune, aided by nice sounds became the norm ('chinna chinna aasai', 'kannukku mai azhagu', 'poo pookum osai', 'vennilave vennilave', 'margazhi poove' are some examples). So in place of an holistic approach to the tune, a la WCM, Rahman got it back to the simple tune a la ICM. And I argue that it was this facet which helped Rahman's songs becoming major hits in the initial part of his career. 

So in that way, Raja broke away from the conventions of the Indian Film Music. Rahman got us back to the same aesthetic. Raja was and is the discontinuous part of our musical legacy. And that is exactly the reason we celebrate him.

More later.

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  fring151 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:30 pm

V_S ji, I was reflecting on some of the points you listed for IR's greatness. Again, I have to say your thoughts are remarkably profound and shed new perspective. For example, this:

23. Music crossing boundaries. This is a misnomer talked against Maestro frequently. Looks like Maestro's music is confined to roots, so that it cannot cross boundaries, while others could cross, which is often taken as a credit. I would say it the other way. If a music crosses boundaries while confining to it roots, that is the best music and can be termed world music. If the music is composed with a main objective of ignoring its roots, then it is not the original music, leave alone crossing the boundary. Same way if a music does not have any source/origin, it automatically disqualifies to be termed as world music. It can be called non-indian music, but not world music. This is the first time I am invoking an example. kuzhaloodhum kaNnanukku, vizhiyilE mani vizhiyilE, mandram vantha thendralukku were long time believed to have roots only in south, but when was just re-polished, it was accepted beyond vindhyas. How is that even possible? it is just an illusion about world music. When it comes to world music, Maestro is the pioneer who throws away all illusion and brings in a clear picture what actually it is. Only thing matters here is that none have listened to him to even compare this aspect, but blindly succumbed to the familiar notion. Pure politics.

Wow!! the clap  What can I say. I have been thinking along these lines for some time, but have not attempted to put it in words. This is such a profound point and shows how deeply you have thought about this and how close maestro is to your heart.. Numerous people make this absolutely lame and baseless assertion that Raja is great because he took folk music to the masses and ARR is greater because he took Indian music to the world stage. With due respect to ARR, these kind of mindless statements are in fact mischievous and dangerous to society as the masses eventually start believing and perpetuating these ridiculous myths. Going by that logic, would these same smug ARR fans accept that the current hideous western pop singers like Rihanna or Justin Bieber are greater than ARR because their music has an even greater global appeal? It is another matter that they appeal only to pre-pubescent girls, but still they are still more global, no? See where I am going? It is all about advertising, self-promotion, looks, media friendliness and English - savviness in today's commercialized, hollow and vacuous global music industry. 

If a music crosses boundaries while confining to it roots, that is the best music and can be termed world music. If the music is composed with a main objective of ignoring its roots, then it is not the original music, leave alone crossing the boundary. Same way if a music does not have any source/origin, it automatically disqualifies to be termed as world music. It can be called non-indian music, but not world music. 

Nuff said. Take a bow, V_S ji noteworthy .

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  plum on Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:51 pm

V_S and Suresh, idhukku mEla solla oNNum illa. I'll predict what response you'll get (anbar 2040-m adhil oruththar)

- nInga rajakku solRadhellAm engALUkku illaina Spielberg kooppuduvArA? evLo periya isai mEdhai spielberg?
- CD salesla nAnga dhAn toppu so unga point ellAm angEyE reject Agiruchu. Without having everything you are saying, will the CDs of our man sell?
- ungaLukku poRAmai adhAn ipdi ellAm pEsaRinga, pakkuvam irundhA music ellAm analyse paNNAma engALu dhAN bestnu othukittiruppInga. RationalA analyse paNNi ellAm pEsaradhulErundhE theriyudhu - ungaLukku pakkuvam illlainu.

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  plum on Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:51 pm

V_S and Suresh, idhukku mEla solla oNNum illa. I'll predict what response you'll get (anbar 2040-m adhil oruththar)

- nInga rajakku solRadhellAm engALUkku illaina Spielberg kooppuduvArA? evLo periya isai mEdhai spielberg?
- CD salesla nAnga dhAn toppu so unga point ellAm angEyE reject Agiruchu. Without having everything you are saying, will the CDs of our man sell?
- ungaLukku poRAmai adhAn ipdi ellAm pEsaRinga, pakkuvam irundhA music ellAm analyse paNNAma engALu dhAN bestnu othukittiruppInga. RationalA analyse paNNi ellAm pEsaradhulErundhE theriyudhu - ungaLukku pakkuvam illlainu.

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  ravinat on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:04 pm

V_S wrote:
 
8. Moods and Emotions. This should be taken as the first point. This is mostly lacking in others. In olden days we used to hear few main emotions, pathos, happy, love There can be sub-sections in this but very few. Nowadays, emotions are fully loaned from westerners as they full copy western type singing with the same emotion again and again, what name do we call that emotion? There are many subtle emotions which Maestro brought out unlike others. It's much more than navarasam. Right from various kinds of love and romance (from rural to town to urban to college to old age), marriage (of various religions, tribal, folk, western), festivals, rituals and celebrations (again folk, urban etc), abortion, child's birth, child's play, child labor, handicapped, prostitute, poverty, richness, mother's loneliness, father's loneliness, emotions of a grandfather, grandmother to their child and grand children, friends, betrayal, child coming of age, college years, brave, coward, humor, drunken, hope, despair, mind war, hatred, death, God and many many more. Are we even having 1% of these emotions in today's songs? They keep repeating the same thing again and again, even if the movie demands otherwise.

9. Folk, Indian Classical. First time in film history we got to hear so much marvel which we(will) never hear(d) before and after him. These traditional genres completely became alien now even within our country and state, rather stealing from others which has started as a fashion now became the inevitable and benchmark. Again comparing 1 song in a raagam or 1 song in folk with 1000s of them of Maestro IR is a big blasphemy and biggest sin. We never heard of such authentic folk songs before and will never after him. Folk choir harmony is a big subject to discuss which I wonder any one has covered in depth like Maestro.

11. Genres. Right from authentic folk (this itself is a very big subject to sub-classify), tribal, carnatic classical (lot of sub elements to it), hindustani classical, ghazals, qawwali, koothu, jazz, blues, hip-hop, rock (lot of sub genres), pop, country, bluegrass, acapella, WCM, mass, oratorio, opera, broadway music, the list is endless. The more pertinent aspect in these genres is he has only used these genres as flavors and completely localized them to suit our film needs. I can dare say any music director we are talking today are not at all localizing the genre and using the same with no stamp of them, yet enjoying the fame.

12. Range of Instruments used and the new sounds introduced. If we are talking about creating new sounds, it can be none other than Maestro. Most music director use new sounds by buying them. Maestro discovered new sounds, that's a drastic difference between him and others. Hear his compositions right from 70s till today, most of the new sounds we hear emanate from live instruments and keyboards. Maestro approach is to combine two or more instruments to get a new sound out of it. Even an acoustic guitar will sound folk because of Maestro's tuning. Even a western violin will sound pure folk only due to Maestro. He has made every instrument to bend to his tune leaving out their true nature.

13. Rhythm innovation. This is one of the most diversified topic to be discussed in detail. The amount of innovation he has done in this field alone should fetch him the most coveted awards and felicitation. There is nothing unturned by Maestro in this aspect.

14. Preludes, Interludes and postludes. Who introduced these terms to us? This is a totally giant beast which clearly differentiate Maestro from his predecessors and successors. Even now this aspect is matchless after so much advance in technology. Why there is scarcity in thinking while we till now would have heard some 20000 glorious interludes (roughly approximating - 5000 songs with two interludes). 1000s of songs we hum the interludes along with the melody which is the biggest musical revolution I would say. Please refer to #365RajaQuiz (365rajaquiz.wordpress.com) to savor those precious moments. His interludes are not just supporting the melody, it is the melody in itself. That's why we cannot separate the melody from ludes. This is the first time in music history that the ludes are also etched in our mind as the main melody. Another unique aspect in Maestro's ludes and melodies is there are 100s of songs hidden inside one song. So much layering, yet sounds so simple and pleasant. Please don't even compare this genius in this aspect with others. It will be a shame to music.


 v_s

   This is one of the finest posts that I have read in a very long time.

   I think  this post must be broadcasted throughout all social media so that today's younger generation read it. Hats off to you V_S.

   My responses to some areas as well as some that you have not touched may be lengthy. However, this is not to be interpreted as lack of breadth or depth in V_S's post. It is just that no one person is capable of navigating this ocean and it must be a 'team' effort (after all, this only analyzing music composing and not composing music - so team effort is not any blasphemy, I suppose )

   Let me start with moods with musical instruments. Some years back, I took on this topic to analyzing Raja's use of instruments and the various moods it invokes. I used a German research method on moods and colors and their relationship to music, as part of my blog. I was left completely confused as the research methodology hardly worked for Raja's work. I had to create my own colors for things not factored in the German researcher's work as Raja invokes spirituality, or pensiveness which the original research did not factor. Also, very early in the game, I realized one huge revolution that Raja had brought in. To show a countryside, you need not use a flute, to show auspiciousness, you do not have to use the veena and in unexpected places, a solo violin or a shehnai can do the wonders that they never performed till he arrived. In short, he has the ability to create ANY emotion with ANY instrument. In Devar Magan, the song 'manamagale manamagale' uses shehnai in the traditional north Indian way. The same tune in the film's BGM uses the same instrument in a complete sorrow mode when the chieftain dies. The use of solo violins - this is a research that I began and have not finished as he has done wonders with just this one instrument. He has used this instrument in every genre, every emotion and impossible situations that nobody can think of before and after him.

  There is another aspect of Raja that we have to deeply analyze. His ability to adapt his technique over time. While I did some very detailed research on his choir/chorus arrangements, it became apparent that his experimentation progresses continuously from one stage to the next and there is really no end to that. An example, would be the use of chorus in Annakili vs the song 'Halli Lavaniyalli' in Namoora Mandara Hoove. You can see a sea of change in his ability to arrange such choir. A simple folk (kummi) to scat morphed Carnatic morphed western choir - the song is such a fantastic tune, there is no need to slog it the way Raja does. It is not about the main tune anymore - the focus is on the ornamentation. Tracing Raja of the 70s to the 80s to 90s to the 20s is something we need to do a better job. I was hearing recently his song 'Alaigale Vaa Avarudan' - very entry level Raja in the early 80s trying symphonic orchestration and opera type singing. When you hear Satru Munbu Paartha from NEPV, you can see the RAJAMATION (Raja + transformation). Very few composers in the world are capable of that. I have some of the original scores of JW and JG between 1969 and 1999. I cannot see such transformation there.

  Raja and genres. This is a topic that is impossible to dissect as there is a Rajazz (Thangakili kaiyil) , Rajadisco (Vaa Vaa Pakkam Vaa)  , Rajarock (Pazhaiya Vilangu)  and so on. The Rajamation principles will be applied to the source genre that it will lose its identity unless we choose to identify it that way. Though there are exceptions, for the most part, Raja's compositions are hard to classify strictly to a genre.  It is plain futile trying to do this exercise, in my view.

  I did fair amount of research on electronic music technology (EMT) and the way Raja has used it. In my view, nobody has tried to tame this beast as much as Raja has tried. However, he does not have enough opportunities to fine tune this and I think the music world has a big loss if it does not allow him to experiment by providing him more opportunities. In all fairness, his experiments have had a few hits and misses. All other music guys (don't want t call them composers!) do not even make an attempt to domesticate this beast. My latest view on Raja's EMT domestication transformation is that his regular full orchestra based songs (NEPV) have started showing signs of EMT techniques slowly seeping in. After all, everything is written as musical notes. However, I think based on EMT limitations, Raja has downplayed some of his scores and I think the synthetic aspect shows its occasional ugly head in some of his new traditional style work.

  Raja's folk - I call it cleverfolk. All his folk is flavored with all other genres he likes and you can never uncover it easily. This is his greatest success in my view among all experiments. Ask any villager in South India, and 'Rasathi Unnai Kanatha Nenju' is folk to them and I completely disagree. It is such a WCM beauty disguised cleverly.

Again. V_S, great work!

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  V_S on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:12 pm

Thanks a lot fring151 and plum for endorsing my views.

Sureshji
Brilliant! Bang on. noteworthy noteworthy ithavuda clear'aa azhagaa solla mudiyaathu. Superb and in-depth way of writing. Thank you so much for writing this. Everyone should read this.

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:21 pm

Thanks V_S.

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  fring151 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:24 pm

Raja and genres. This is a topic that is impossible to dissect as there is a Rajazz (Thangakili kaiyil) , Rajadisco (Vaa Vaa Pakkam Vaa)  , Rajarock (Pazhaiya Vilangu)  and so on. The Rajamation principles will be applied to the source genre that it will lose its identity unless we choose to identify it that way. Though there are exceptions, for the most part, Raja's compositions are hard to classify strictly to a genre.  It is plain futile trying to do this exercise, in my view.

Ravinat, +1 for this.

I think  this post must be broadcasted throughout all social media so that today's younger generation read it. Hats off to you V_S.

 And ++1 for this. Twitter/FB  folks, please do the needful. Smile

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  V_S on Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:53 pm

Thanks a lot Ravi for your compliments. I just wanted to touch at-least some of this main and core strengths (without deep diving much as each section requires to be analyzed thoroughly) and how he is completely incomparable with others. You have poured in some excellent analysis on the moods, choir arrangements, Raja genres, folk. One thing I just sketched, but thanks for highlighting in detail about his instrument choices and how Maestro brings contrasting moods which was never expected of those instruments. Terrific! the clap thumbsup Rajamation; thanks for coining this new word! Very Happy Please continue to do the honors! Smile

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  fring151 on Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:45 am

This is did not mean that after Raja came the tune lost its prominence. On the other hand, the tune held its position. It was just that Raja elevated the orchestration to the level of the tune. Now the voice became one more instrument in the complete song. It was no longer the one standing out. This was the best period where great singers were needed but Raja's holistic approach kept them in check, making even the best of them realize what their part was in the grander scheme of things.
Terrific, terrific point. This thread has really inspired some brilliant posts! the clap 

On the topic of instrumentation, couple of things..

1) Acoustic guitar for carnatic. The unnal mudiyum bgm in Lalitha raagam can be played by any intermediate western guitarist with no knowledge of carnatic music if he is simply handed the sheet music.

2)Bass guitar for folk music (Naan thedum sevvanthi poovithu). Nobody would have even thought it possible before IR. 
 
3) Trumpet/saxaphone for folk based melody ala Nila athu vaanathu mele. Scarcely imaginable for anyone else.

4) Carnatic flute for wcm style music and western flute for carnatic. There are too many examples to even start listing.

5) The quintessential western instrument, piano harmonizing or playing counterpoint to carnatic vocals. Let's reverse roles for a moment. Can any western composer even imagine inserting a veena or sitar passage in the middle of a cello concerto or flute sonata without it sounding at least out of place or obviously contrived? Has it even been attempted with any success? The answer is a resounding no. 

And so on and on and on

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Re: Why IR is NOT simply someone between MSV-time & ARR-time

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:14 am

A few breathtaking posts here from V_S, Raaga_Suresh and Ravinat noteworthy 

Raaja and genres is a PhD study in itself imho. Not just these singular genres, he can effortlessly pack multiple genres in 1 song without making it look out of colour. Need to go no further than 2 songs. Kavidhai Kelungal where he uses graha bedham with Hindustani and rock with Jog raaga and counterpoints with Chakravagam. A carnatic concept when the genre is different and a western concept when the genre is carnatic. He has been the only composer who has played around with idioms alien to a genre (like graha bedham in rock) and yet made a resounding success out of it. Added to that, the song itself encompasses Hindustani, Rock, Carnatic, folk, pop and funk genres. All inside 5 mins in one organic composition. And he does all this in a few minutes? And our vested interests compare him with GVP? Sigh.

Wrote on Kavidhai Kelungal here: http://raajasongadaykeepsboredomaway.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/43-listen-to-me/ a few of you might have read it from twitter. Sharing it here for those who might not have a twitter account.

The second song is Iniya Gaanam. Trying for some time to get a youtube video without success. What a song! And for what kind of a film! And a time (1995) when people were beginning to write him off. In under 2 mins, the genres move from rock to rap to qawwali to carnatic. Breathtaking composition. Indha reNdu pAttukku badhil sollittu appaala pEsattum Bharathiraja mAdhiri AtkaL mathavangaLa paththi. Raaja genre nu inniki GVM'um Baradwaj Rangan'um pEr vekkarAnga. adha avar 2-3 decades minnaadiyE master paNNittAru. Raaja has grown to becoming a musical genre by himself ya. True Advaitin and a phenomenon hence who deserves all this accolade and more. Smile

Raaga_Suresh brilliantly nailed the growing of a song as a wholesome product with voice, tune, orchestration being organic parts and this way, Raaja is a misnomer in Indian Film Music barring Salil Chowdhry. IMO, the aspect of genres and the development of a Raaja genre also makes him unique in the Indian film music industry. There can be arguments from fans of MSV or ARR that their songs work better for them than Raaja's and there might be merit in those arguments. But what Raaga_Suresh mentioned and the point in genres is a fact exclusive to Raaja which makes a rare phenomenon if not the greatest in other eyes. If they fail acknowledge such a phenomenon, they are the ones in denial. I know of a lot of ARR fans who give Raaja his space and acknowledge his unmatched genius in BGM and genres while retaining their loyalty to ARR w.r.t songs in films. But more than ARR fans, the vested interests from BR and VM ought to be condemned. I can live with ARR fans rubbing shoulders. Not with vested interests.

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