Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

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Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  app_engine on Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:41 pm

Start music Smile

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  Drunkenmunk on Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:37 pm

My assorted thoughts. Music and lyrics are essential in popular medium today as a song. Telling an emotion with just music needs supreme talent and a kernel of rasanai to understand the talent being expressed. That said, is lyrics >= music is an interesting question. If we are to take a Thyagaraja who has given innumerable songs for the current day classical musicians, the songs were his journey to reach his spiritual summit. That way, lyrics played a very important role for him. Of course, music went hand in glove with lyrics. To a pAmaran listening who would not understand Telugu (me, for example), the music reaches and translates a Thyagaraja's emotion. For a pAmara level guy, music > lyrics with lyrics being just another component here, even in a Thyagaraja's case. idhayE dhAn Semmangudi Sreenivasa Iyer emphasizes when he praises Ilayaraja imho. Sangeetham > SAhityam (இத வெடுக்குன்னு சொன்னா நன்னா இருக்காது speech Smile). But I feel he means it for the rasigan. For a singer singing, understanding lyrics is an absolute must for him to be able to transport us to Thyagaraja's psyche. He must understand the lyrics and impart his understanding of the emotion with the music. In films, If the lyricist is a supreme genius like Kannadasan, he can import the weight of emotions in simple words that a singer understands it easily and a pAmaran also gets it easily. That is a rare case when lyrics can be = music. But not everyone is a Kannadasan. So in most cases, it is the limitations of the lyricist that takes music to the forefront. I am not saying this is always the case. An "Unna nenachen paattu padichen" or a "Manidha Manidha" are superb peaks in a Vaali and a Vairamuthu's careers and they have given similar songs. But mostly, a pAmaran takes in the music first, at least the majority from what I've interacted and I certainly process the music only first. If the lyric is excellent with the music, it is a bonus. This is my understanding as far as Tamil goes.

Plum can quote cases of lyrical beauty being hard to ignore in Telugu. I of course don't understand Telugu. So a Lalita Priya Kamalam's lyrics, while sounding very beautiful to the ears does nothing to me. The music translates everything to me Smile

Of course, there is the case of a How To Name It, Nothing But Wind where the lyrics are non-existent and musicians transport the listener to an emotion with the beauty of the music. But a lyricist releasing a set of poems as a books will not find the mass approval that a musical piece might. And there is also the case of a Bharathi and Thiruvasagam where the poems, written songs are already popular and have mass approval and the music merely services the lyrics. To do justice, the composers needs a deep understanding of the poet's psyche and his words and the music doing justice results in magic. There, the onus is on the musician to make the music = lyrics. No way in a Thiruvasagam or a Bharathi can music be said to be > lyrics. It is Raaja's sublime genius imho that he did justice to the deep thoughts and emotions of a Bharathi and a Manickavasagar which is beyond the realms of most other musicians. But for a better part, music > lyrics in popular media but it is not as simple as it might seem imho due to the cases I presented. It may not be absolute and tends to be relative.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  Drunkenmunk on Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:47 pm

Importance of lyrics also tends to vary based on the emotion being conveyed. A thathvArtha/virakthi mikka pAdal will have importance to the lyrics, like an Unna Nenachen. But a matter song like a Sivarathiri Thookam Edhu caters to the carnal senses and the lyrics falls behind the music and visuals which are in the forefront to carry the emotion. This is a deep subject as we get thinking, requiring cases for and against both sides before we come to a conclusion. I am sure the title was to encourage participation and this thread is interesting and needs to be discussed. But there could be people disagreeing with deep arguments for lyrics and it might get interesting Smile

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  app_engine on Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:59 pm

Drunkenmunk wrote: This is a deep subject as we get thinking, requiring cases for and against both sides before we come to a conclusion. I am sure the title was to encourage participation and this thread is interesting and needs to be discussed. But there could be people disagreeing with deep arguments for lyrics and it might get interesting Smile

கரெக்டாப் புடிச்சுட்டீங்க!

Enjoying your thoughts! Let's continue...

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  crimson king on Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:08 am

It actually depends on what kind of music.  In classical music, whether Indian or Western, I don't believe the lyrics are MORE important than the music.  Say a singer who understands the lyrics of Nessun Dorma well but cannot hit those notes, he cannot play the part, as simple. And of course a lot of classical music has no vocals at all so the subject of interest is ultimately musical intrigue.  

When it comes to the popular 'song' format, which DM referred to, the lyrics are important, at least should be.  That they frequently get inane and banal (just as the music too) due to commercial considerations is unfortunate.  However, I don't subscribe to the view that they could be more important than the music.  I know there are many people who think so and to me it reflects more their personal interest in lyrics.  Aesthetically speaking, it is important that the words selected for a tune are phonetically appropriate.  Especially that open sounds, i.e. vowels are used where the singer is required to hit a high note or sustain the note (sometimes sustain a high note!).  If you make a singer sustain a consonant, he will feel uncomfortable (for the simple prosaic reason that his mouth is closed when he pronounces a consonant and he has to now hold on to that closed position instead of exhaling freely) and that will compromise the aesthetic effect of his singing in turn.  The words also should fit the meter, placing them should not be cumbersome for the singer.  It should be intuitive and also with sufficient space than he can choose to extend or cut short some syllables for the sake of variation.  

In other words, the lyrics are meant to support the music, not the other way round.  It does not mean that music is better than poetry but I believe that lyrics are not intended to be poetry.  Again people who are keenly interested in lyrics look for the poetic appeal of the lyrics but to me it is much more important that they integrate with the music and capture its ebbs and flows.  Of course in cases like Bob Dylan it helped that he wrote good lyrics, otherwise Dylan with poor lyrics would be very difficult to listen to, probably even for those who concoct convoluted theories to 'contextualise' his voice.  But people like Dylan are more like folk-poets, incidentally using the medium of music to reach out to the audience.  If you conceive a song as a wholesome entity with melody, harmony and arrangements, lyrics must be secondary otherwise they could hamper the flow of the music.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  fring151 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:47 am

This is a controversial topic, though not necessarily in this forum. I know some people who claim that it is always words that should be set to music and not vice versa. I heartily disagree with that view, but there are those who hold that the "Metukku pAttu" approach is sacrilege...our friend contrA being foremost among them. Elsewhere in his blog he has written that this distorted philosophy of Raja tainted his output and even affected his thinking and approach to music. PenAthal, if you ask me. He clearly has some extreme views on what music is and is not, which again I totally disagree with, but anyway. I was reading about prog rock lyrics, and came across this quote by Robert Fripp:

Robert Fripp wrote:Dismissed prog rock lyrics as "the philosophical meanderings of some English half-wit who is circumnavigating some inessential point of experience in his life."

 Laughing

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  crimson king on Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:48 am

Didn't know of that quote before, very perceptive for the most part. Amazing that he said that as one of the foremost prog rock musicians.
About Mr.contrary, I do believe that if a poem, say a bharthiyar poem, is set to music, capturing the essence of the poem is more important than demonstrating the composer's virtuosity (which I think IR lived up to in Bharathi). I don't think that lyrics deserve the same primacy as poetry. Diamond and his minions may think he deserves special treatment but musically that is putting the cart before the horse. Kannadasan was an exception, maestro himself said he wrote lyrics the way he composes music.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  Drunkenmunk on Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:47 am

2 videos.

1. Raaja felicitating Vaali and speaking of a lyricist and his role and how well Vaali writes for a tune:



2. Raaja and Vaali discussing and writing lyrics for Kaatril Varum Geethame:



Lovely stuff in the lyrics but it is mettukku pAttu. Naysayers can ideally listen to such clips as they offer a convincing counter point that there is absolutely nothing wrong with mettukku pAttu and it boils down to the lyricist's talent (just like how it is Raaja's talent to carve a tune out of Bharathi and Manickavasagar's lines). Had an argument with ARR-VM fan friends sometime back when I pointed how a lot of VM's lines don't fit the tune sonorously, case in point being Kai Thatti Thatti aNaithALE from Jodi. There is a line, "azhagai mozhipeyarthavaLO" which is rendered by Steeni  Razz as "azhagai mozhi peyarthavaLO" mozhipeyarthavaLO means translate. mozhi peyarthavaLO means uprooting the language  LOL The fan argument was it was a Hindi tune and he had to write for the tune, which is no excuse at all imho. Vaali wrote for the tune in "Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera" as "Undhan Desathin Kural" and did a good job (must say one fan friend agreed at this point and was gracious). And though Jodi song was a tune for a Hind song, it was not a dubbed film and VM didn't have to worry about lip sync too. He simply had to write for the tune. Fans making heavy weather of this is funny because Kannadasan did write a lot of songs for the tune of MSV, foremost being Vaan Nila Nila Alla. Now that is stupendous lyrics for a tune (ends with la in every line). Vaan Nila:



It boils down to the genius of the lyricist and however talented VM is, he has not been able to touch the heights of a Kannadasan in writing songs for a tune. IMO, it is because Kannadasan was not formally trained in Tamil (self taught) and responded emotionally rather than using his brain and the words were from his heart. VM is formally trained in Tamil and he uses his brain to write. Nothing wrong, just that Kannadasan appeals better to me.


Last edited by Drunkenmunk on Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  fring151 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:00 pm

crimson king wrote:Didn't know of that quote before, very perceptive for the most part. Amazing that he said that as one of the foremost prog rock musicians.
About Mr.contrary, I do believe that if a poem, say a bharthiyar poem, is set to music, capturing the essence of the poem is more important than demonstrating the composer's virtuosity (which I think IR lived up to in Bharathi). I don't think that lyrics deserve the same primacy as poetry. Diamond and his minions may think he deserves special treatment but musically that is putting the cart before the horse. Kannadasan was an exception, maestro himself said he wrote lyrics the way he composes music.

Contra actually goes beyond that and says the very approach of writing lyrics for music is skewed. If I remember he even produced a Mozart quote which seemed to attest this view. Anyway, he is free to have his opinion.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  crimson king on Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:01 pm

There's lot of legend and little fact when it comes to these quotes of people who lived hundreds of years back, so I'd take it with a pinch of salt.  Even if he did, it's not necessary that what Mozart felt in 18th century should apply even today.  Contra guy quotes either Mozart or Dylan, there's no middle ground, no room for other genres like jazz as if that's not art.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  crimson king on Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:34 pm

*bump*  Incidentally, I am watching an old interview of Shankar of Shankar-Jaikishan where he too said they preferred to compose the song first and then hand over the 'meter' to the lyricist.  He acknowledged that it made the lyricist's job difficult but he said it would be difficult for a lyricist himself to conceive an attractive rhythm.  Hence, those songs where the lyrics were written first did not endure in audience's memory according to Shankar.  As examples of both approaches, he highlighted Geet Gaata Hoon Maan (which was mettuku paatu) and Ja ja ja mere bachpan (which was pattuku mettu).  I doubt people would complain too much about the lyrics of Geet Gaata Hoon Main. Wink  Important point is that they did not work with 'third rate lyricists' to paraphrase Mr.Contrary's claims about Ilayaraja but with Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri whose lyrics are still fondly remembered after all these years.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  plum on Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:04 pm

In terms of consumption, of course, music>>>>> lyrics. This is why we have Raja vs Rahman more often than Kannadasan vs Vairamuthu.

This forum knows my views. 

Anyway, lyrics can be only be the icing on the cake, music can be both the icing and the cake.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  crimson king on Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:12 pm

Lyrics CAN be very handy when the music is boring, though.  It's something I observe in Bollywood a lot these days.  Bolly lyrics have improved quite a bit from the "main toh bhelpuri kaa rahi thi" 90s but the songs haven't.  So if I just try to listen to I Love You (Bodyguard) or Sun Raha Hai (Aashiqui 2), I find them very dull.  But the lyrics are really good, some very nice metaphors.  Even a song that's decent, eminently listenable like Tumse Hi (Jab We Met) is elevated by good lyrics.  You'll often find people who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket or play sa re ga ma correctly on a keyboard are still interested in music and for them, lyrics can be a very good hook. In the case of IR, there is no need for lyrics to play that kind of role a la contemporary Bolly as the music is already good enough.   Very Happy  It doesn't even matter most of the time to me what has been written by the lyricist as long as IR is weaving his magic.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  fring151 on Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:57 am

crimson king wrote:*bump*  Incidentally, I am watching an old interview of Shankar of Shankar-Jaikishan where he too said they preferred to compose the song first and then hand over the 'meter' to the lyricist.  He acknowledged that it made the lyricist's job difficult but he said it would be difficult for a lyricist himself to conceive an attractive rhythm.  Hence, those songs where the lyrics were written first did not endure in audience's memory according to Shankar.  As examples of both approaches, he highlighted Geet Gaata Hoon Maan (which was mettuku paatu) and Ja ja ja mere bachpan (which was pattuku mettu).  I doubt people would complain too much about the lyrics of Geet Gaata Hoon Main. Wink  Important point is that they did not work with 'third rate lyricists' to paraphrase Mr.Contrary's claims about Ilayaraja but with Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri whose lyrics are still fondly remembered after all these years.
 
Interesting. As for my own view, there is no question that Music>>Lyrics. It doesn't help that I don't "get" poetry in general. Much prefer prose, be it English or Tamil. And I simply don't have the patience for a poor tune, no matter how soaring and lofty the ideals encapsulated in the lyrics. And Contra, I actually think has the potential to be a worthy IR critic if only he would stick to facts and be a little more objective and reasonable in his writings. Of all the loonies out there who have made it their full time job to admonish and lecture Raja on humility and social niceties, Contra is one person whose criticisms I can respect even if I disagree with them. If only he was more balanced. Sigh.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  counterpoint on Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:59 am

"Poem" should be replaced by "Lyrics" in the title of this thread I guess. Poetry is a great standalone artform altogether. While lyrics can also be poetic they are'nt poetry all the time. And two different artforms cannot be compared just like that and conclusions drawn as to which is greater. On what basis? They are both different artforms.
But if you are talking about song lyrics and on how important it is to a song's percived merit then I guess we can discuss bout it.
My opinion is that lyrics that are apt(to the given situation), poetic, that fits the meter well etc. can really add a lot of value to the songs. Likewise bad/offensive lyrics can destroy the immediate impact of a song. However, most of the times our film lyrics are somewhere in between these two ends. In the sense, they are functional at best. The music ends up being the savior. The last decade that I can think of in TFM, in which the poetry in lyrics and the music was intertwined so much that you would find it difficult to separate them and appreciate them in isolation as the one factor for success, would be the 60s. The last 30-40 years since the mid-70s, the lyrics have started being mostly fucntional, as just meter-fitting exercises, with occasional exceptions. Iam more of a music connoisseur than a poetry-fan but some of Na. Muthukumar's lines for instance in certain songs have captured my imagination as much if not more than the music in those songs themselves.

Vilayaata padagotti from Dhoni is an  example of how the lines in tandem with the music can elevate a song's impact. Not Kambanesque poetry or anything, just very apt and engaging lines.The first 2 lines itself conveys all that needs to be conveyed for the delicate situation-coming of age. The music is touching, and the song as a whole stands elevated. Assuming the lines were most likely written after the music was composed(which means additional constraints like meter and so on) this is quite commendable.

From the 80s, Manidha Manidha ini un vizhigal, to quote an instance, is a tremendous example of how much value a lyricist can add to an already breathtaking composition.

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Re: Music > Poem (and by extension, MD >> Lyricist)

Post  app_engine on Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:10 pm

When reading about some H1-B reform stuff, I stumbled upon this site that gives the prevailing wage rates :
http://www.flcdatacenter.com/OesQuickResults.aspx?code=27-2041&area=2600002&year=16&source=1

The above link gives the "prevailing wage rates" for MDs / Composers in Detroit area and the amounts are pathetic:


Area Code:2600002
Area Title:Northeast Lower Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area
OES/SOC Code:27-2041
OES/SOC Title:Music Directors and Composers
GeoLevel:1
Level 1 Wage:$11.32 hour - $23,546 year
Level 2 Wage:$16.27 hour - $33,842 year
Level 3 Wage:$21.21 hour - $44,117 year
Level 4 Wage:$26.16 hour - $54,413 year
Mean Wage (H-2B):$21.21 hour - $44,117 year

This wage applies to the following O*Net occupations:

27-2041.00 Music Directors and Composers

Conduct, direct, plan, and lead instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups, such as orchestras, bands, choirs, and glee clubs. Includes arrangers, composers, choral directors, and orchestrators.
O*Net™ JobZone: NA
Education & Training Code: No Level Set

27-2041.01 Music Directors

Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups, such as orchestras or choirs.
O*Net™ JobZone: 4
Education & Training Code: 4-Work experience, plus a bachelor's or higher degree

27-2041.04 Music Composers and Arrangers

Write and transcribe musical scores.
O*Net™ JobZone: 3
Education & Training Code: No Level Set




The same site gives better rates for singers Smile

That way, if IR & SPB apply for jobs (or H1-B) in their respective categories, SPB will get more salary Laughing


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