Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:28 am

Good points V_Sji. That's why I wondered earlier as to who in TMK's opinion, post independence, has advanced Carnatic music. As you rightly say here,

V_S wrote:Most importantly, they are just singing an already composed krithi. Only creation part comes in terms of singers is the way they add ornamentation to the existing krithi (except when they sing RTP where their creativity in that raagam excels), but they still comment on film music directors and composers who really create every composition right from scratch.

performance cannot be conflated with composition.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  SenthilVinu on Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:18 pm

Thanks Kiru. I don't know why Carnatic music isn't wildly taught.. say for examples in schools?

Nice overview V_S. I should go and check out these concert. Haven't found an entry point for me.

Curiously, what are some of the greatest composition of Carnatic-art music while the film music was flourishing? May be even from 1900's onwards?

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  app_engine on Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:42 am

Reg. some who helped the cause of classical music, this is an excellent interview of Madurai Mani that appeared in Thendral magazine:

http://www.tamilonline.com/thendral/article.aspx?aid=9101
(Needs registration / login, let me post some relevant portions below)


இவரது "கர்நாடக இசையும் சினிமாவும்" என்ற ஒலிப்பேழை பலரது பாராட்டுதலைப் பெற்ற ஒன்று.
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கே: பல மொழிகளில் நீங்கள் 350க்கும் மேற்பட்ட சாகித்யங்களை இயற்றியுள்ளீர்கள். அதுபற்றிச் சொல்லுங்களேன்.

ப: எனக்கு 24 வயதாக இருக்கும்போதே நான் இம்முயற்சிகளை ஆரம்பித்துவிட்டேன். அப்போது எனக்குத் தோணுவதை, மனதில் வருவதை ஒரு நோட்புக்கில் எழுதிக் கொண்டிருப்பேன். அதைப் பாடிக் கொண்டிருப்பேன். அதைக் கேட்டுச் சிலபேர் நன்றாக இருக்கிறதே என்று வாங்கிக் கொண்டு போவார்கள். பாடுவார்கள். அப்படிக் கொஞ்சம் கொஞ்சமாக வளர்ந்ததுதான் அது. சொல்லப்போனால் என் கையில் ஒண்ணுமே இல்லை. தெய்வீக அருள்தான் இதற்கெல்லாம் காரணம்.

கே: உங்களுடைய முதல் சாகித்யம் எது என்று நினைவில் இருக்கிறதா?

ப: இருக்கிறது. "கயல் கண்ணியே" என்கிற தமிழ்ப் பாட்டு. ராகம், சக்கரவாகம். இரண்டாவது "ராஜ சுஹாமணி" என்கிற சம்ஸ்கிருதப்பாட்டு.

கே: உங்கள் பாடல்களெல்லாம் புத்தகமாக வந்திருக்கிறதா?

ப: தமிழில் வந்திருக்கிறது. 'தென்னவன் இசை உலா' என்பது பெயர். நேற்றுக்கூட சாயிபாபா கோயிலில் அதை விற்றுக் கொண்டிருந்தார்கள்.

கே: ஆடியோவிலும் வந்திருக்கிறதா?

ப: ஆமாம். அந்தப் புத்தகத்தோடேயே அதன் சி.டி.யும் கிடைக்கும். 41 பாடல்களையும் அதில் நானே பாடி விளக்கியிருக்கிறேன். ஏனென்றால் வெறும் நொடேஷனாகக் கொடுத்தால் சரியாக வராது, பாடுவதற்குக் கஷ்டமாக இருக்கும் என்பதால் நானே சுருதியெல்லாம் விளக்கி அதில் பாடியிருக்கிறேன். அதைக் கேட்டுப் பயிற்சி செய்து பாட முடியும்.

கே: இந்த புக்கை ஆன்லைனில் ஆர்டர் பண்ண முடியுமா?

ப: இல்லை. என்னுடன் தொலைபேசியில் பேசினால் கிடைக்க நான் ஏற்பாடு செய்யமுடியும். என் நம்பர்: 044 24913600; 044 24465697.
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கே: நீங்கள் இசை சொல்லித் தருகிறீர்களா?

ப: ஆமாம். ஸ்கைப்பில் ஆரம்பித்திருக்கிறேன். ஆனால் நான் ரொம்ப தொடக்கநிலை சங்கீதம் சொல்லித் தருவதில்லை. கொஞ்சம் நன்றாகப் பாடுகிறவர்களாக இருந்தால் சொல்லிக் கொடுப்பேன். நான் கத்துக்க வறவாள்ட உங்களுக்கு சங்கீதம் கத்துக்கணுமா, இல்ல பாட்டுக்கள் கத்துக்கணுமான்னு கேட்பேன். ஏன்னா ஸ்கைப்பில் அடிப்படை சொல்லிக் கொடுப்பது கொஞ்சம் கஷ்டம். கேட்கறவாளுக்குப் பொறுமை இருக்காது. ஆனா கீர்த்தனைகள் அப்படி இல்ல. 300, 350 கிருதிகள் என்கிட்டேர்ந்து கத்துக்கலாம். இதற்கு என்னோட gsmani1008@gmail.com என்ற மெயில் முகவரிக்குத் தொடர்பு கொள்ளலாம்.
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கே: இளைய தலைமுறையினருக்கு என்ன சொல்ல விரும்புகிறீர்கள்?

ப: இசையைக் கற்பது குறித்து சந்தோஷம்தான். ஆனால் அதை ரொம்ப எளிமை என்று நினைக்கக் கூடாது. கச்சேரி பண்ணுகிறார்களா, இல்லையா என்பது வேறு விஷயம். வாழ்க்கையின் இறுதிவரையில் என்னுடனே இசை இருக்க வேண்டும் என்ற எண்ணத்துடன் இசையை எடுத்துக் கொள்ள வேண்டும். அதுதான் ரொம்ப முக்கியம். அவசிய தேவையும் கூட. கச்சேரி செய்யும் கலைஞராக வேண்டும் என்றால் அதற்குப் பல காரணிகள் வேண்டும். அதற்கு உழைக்க வேண்டிய தினுசே வேற. பாடறதை எல்லாரும் பாடலாமே. ஆனா கர்நாடக சங்கீதம் பாடினால் அது மனசுக்கு ஒரு இதத்தையும், அமைதியையும், சந்துஷ்டியையும் கொடுக்கக்கூடியது. அது குழந்தைகளுக்கு இப்பப் புரியாது. அவா இப்பப் பாடிட்டு ஒரு பத்து வருஷம் கழிச்சுத்தான் புரியும். அது ஆறுதலும் ஆனந்தமும் தரும். ஆன்மீகமும் தரும்,

நீங்கள் விரும்பினால்.மத்த மொழிக் கீர்த்தனைகள் பாடினாலும் தமிழ்க் கீர்த்தனைகளும் பாடணும். ஏனென்றால் தமிழ்ப் பாட்டைத்தான் நன்னா உணர்ந்து புரிஞ்சு பாட முடியும். ஏன்னா மத்த பாடல்லாம் பாஷை புரிந்தால்தான் புரியும். அவ்வளவு உணர்ந்து பாடமுடியாது. பாவத்துக்கு அங்கே இடமில்லை. "சபாபதிக்கு வேறு தெய்வம் சமானமாகுமா" என்றால் உங்களுக்குப் புரியும். தமிழ்க் கீர்த்தனைகள் நிறையப் பாடணும்.

கர்நாடக சங்கீதம் என்றால் என்ன என்று கேட்டீர்கள் என்றால், தமிழிசைதான் என்பது என் கருத்து. தமிழிசைதான் இன்றைக்கு கர்நாடக சங்கீதமாக ஐக்கியமாகிறது. நான் தமிழ் வெறியன்னு (fanatic) சொல்லலாம்.

கே: உங்களுடைய கிருதிகள் வேற மொழிகளில்ல நிறைய இருக்கு, இல்லையா?

ப: ஆமாம். அதனால்தான் தமிழ்க் கீர்த்தனைகள் எல்லாரும் பாடற மாதிரி வரணுமே ஈஸ்வரான்னு வேண்டிண்டேன். அதுக்கு மீனாக்ஷி அருள் பண்ணினா. அதை வெறும் ஸ்ருதியோட எளிமையாகப் பாடி ரிகார்ட் பண்ணி வச்சிருக்கேன். அதைக் கேட்டு யாரும் கத்துக்கலாம். மத்தபடி எனக்கு பெரிய கூட்டம் வந்துதான் பாடணும்னோ, கச்சேரி பண்ணனும்னோ ஆசைப்படலை. அஞ்சு பேர் உட்கார்ந்தாக்கூட நான் கச்சேரி பண்ணுவேன். என்னை மதிச்சு ஒரு வயலின் வித்வான், ஒரு மிருதங்க வித்வான் என்கூட உட்காறார் அப்படிங்கும்போது அவங்களை கௌரவப்படுத்தணும் இல்லையா.

கே: நேற்றைய கச்சேரியில் 'சிதம்பரனை, திகம்பரனை' பாட்டு ரொம்ப நன்னாக இருந்தது.

ப: ஆமாம். அது "னை, னை"ன்னு முடியும். 'தென்னவன் இசை உலா'வில் இருக்கிறது.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:33 am

SenthilVinu wrote:
Curiously, what are some of the greatest composition of Carnatic-art music while the film music was flourishing? May be even from 1900's onwards?

One I can immediately recall is Madurai Mani Iyer's English Note. Used in Thillana Mohanambal and more recently by Bharadwaj in Vasool Raja MBBS:



And then there is GN Balasubramaniam who was a superstar who has discovered new ragas and composed kritis. So has Balamuralikrishna whose raga find, Mahathi (raga of only 4 swaras, normally a raga is known to have a minimum of 5 swaras. 4 swaras is a BMK novelty), which was used by MSV in Adhisaya Ragam (Aboorva Raagangal).

But you're right. IR's experiments in the rare ragas and thaala patterns within the compulsions of film music where he has to first satisfy the director and the situation at hand and only then look at inventive stuff have quite rightly earned him a lot of admirers in the Carnatic music world, right from legends/geniuses Semmangudi and Balamuralikrishna to the crowd favorites Sudha Raghunathan and Bombay Jayashree. TMK is a freak even inside the Carnatic circles.


Last edited by Drunkenmunk on Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:41 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:37 am

All else aside, I am rather tempted to question a performer's criticism of a composer. I can understand a critics's (however two bit the criitic might be) criticism, but am tempted to question what locus standi a performer has to pass judgement on a composer...

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:40 am

fring151 wrote:All else aside, I am rather tempted to question a performer's criticism of a composer. I can understand a critics's (however two bit the criitic might be) criticism, but am tempted to question what locus standi a performer has to pass judgement on a composer...

I agree. A performer/composer inside the classical circle like a Balamuralikrishna or a GNB would have more credibility imo (even there, konjam suspect only because they are bound by their classical format whereas film music is ad lib). But hey, someone like a BMK professes unbridled admiration for IR.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:46 am

Yup as I already said, far be it for me to raise eyebrows about TMK's mastery of CCM, but seriously, calling IR's pure Carnatic ventures "unfortunate"?? Duh, dude, at least he tried composing, unlike....errrr..YOU. Sorry to be so blunt and punch so heavily above my weight, but I do find it equally patronising on TMK's part to pass judgement on a composer of far superior abilities than what he has ever possessed - all with due respect to TMK's performance and improvisation skills.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  crimson king on Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:58 pm

Hmmm, having read all the recent comments on this thread, the only thing that TMK said that I found unfortunate was his use of the word.  But I have to note that he applied that specifically to Ilayaraja inventing scales and writing songs in the kirtana format.  My guess is he is referring to the kirtanas that Raja wrote and probably also performed in his brief sojourn in the Carnatic world.  I agree with TMK that a raga is not just a scale, every raga has its own flavour also.  Firstly, whether that is what TMK referred to in saying Raja's Carnatic compositions did not hold up as such I cannot tell from these excerpts.  Secondly, whether that is a criticism that I would agree with in connection to those songs I cannot say either as I have not heard them.  I would also like to say that the use of the word unfortunate does not imply an attempt to ban an artist's right of expression.  At worst, it is a rather pompous turn of expression and nothing more (but that is not surprising coming from a high art person).  

Apart from that, he also seems to have said that: 

"What makes Ilayaraja an interesting personality from the position of Karnatik music is the way he composed many tines based on Karnatik ragas and juxtaposed them with complex harmonies. Examples of such melodies include 'Poonkadhave' (Nizhalgal, 1980), 'Kundhalile' (Balanagamma, 1982) and 'Anandaragam' (Panneer Pushpangal, 1981). This was something that had  never been tried at this level in Indian film music. Though composers like M.SViswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthi had used Karnatik ragas as the basis for melodeis in the new film music context of the 1960s, their instrumentation did not have this Western classical approach. Ilayaraja was largely successful in this bringing together of unconnected elements from different musical traditions."



You have to concede that is a very accurate summary of IR's work, one that hits the nail on the head unlike Balki's rather dubious compliment in the IBN episode on Raja: "he composed foot tapping tunes for several generations to keep listening to".  I mean, really, writing catchy tunes is all there is to IR's work?  At least TMK has grasped the musical substance of IR's achievements and articulated it quite well.  

I cannot say he is off the mark about his comments on the evolution of Carnatic vocals due to possibly the singers being influenced by film music.  Unnikrishnan is a prime example of this.  The singing of stalwarts like Madurai Somu or Maharajapuram Santhanam on my grandpa's old tapes is so passionate and soulful. Not only Unni's vocals lack that, he has got a whole new audience over to Carnatic who dislike the Somu kind of singing.  That is, indeed, unfortunate.  This kind of dilution has taken place in the art of opera singing also.  From the day the Three Tenors got together to sing amp-ed versions of arias at football stadiums, opera as a skillful art was replaced with opera as a genre, a sound.  

It is also to be noted that he has not criticised film music composers for utilising Carnatic as source material.  He has criticised Carnatic musicians for using examples from film music to highlight the characteristics of ragas.  Again, that is at worst a rather puritanical stance but it's ok, it's his opinion.  

As I already said, his criticisms of Carnatic music are pretty sharp and at least some of them resonate with me.  What are his solutions to these issues, that is what I would like to know.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:29 am

TMK wrote:Ilayaraja did something more. He consciously ventured into another territory; Karnatic music itself. Taking on the role of a vaggeyakara, no less, he invented scales and composed in the kirtana format. This, in my opinion, was an unfortunate venture by the great film musician - unfortunate for him and Karnatic music.

Translation: Ungalukku edhukku saar indha velai laam, Neengalaachu cinema paattachu nu irundhurkalaam illa. Anaavasiyamaa "enga" area kuLLa kaala vechikkittu...Also, unfortunate for Karnatik music?? How is that even possible? A composer writing a "poor" symphony is not "unfortunate" for WCM. Basically, the hidden subtext is that he is after all only a film musician. How could he possibly handle complex art music.

Throughout these excerpts there is a very fine condescension towards film music in general. I mean, leaving Ilayaraja aside, as this is a chapter on film music, has he acknowledged anywhere the role that film music played in introducing laymen and women to so many different "raagams" (even if only superficially, as he alleges) and how basically if film-carnatic didn't exist, most people outside the chosen community would know squat about carnatic music today, and worse, would have little interest too. Has he considered how it has kindled interest in more serious carnatic music among many film music buffs? I mean, a song like 'Chinna kannan azhaikkiran popularized Reeti gowlai among the masses overnight. 

TMK wrote:But it would be wrong to critique only Ilayaraja, as he merely reflected the superficial understanding of Karnatik music that the music community itself had by then accepted. A raga was only a scale, which could be manipulated. A composition was a mix of lyrics, tala and raga. This rather immature and simplistic understanding of Karnatik music led to all musicians feeling that it could be easily handled, as Ilayaraja did.



Like V_S said, IR has composed songs in so many rare raagams in which there previously existed no or very few classical compositions. When I hear "Paartha vizhi" or "Idhazhil kadhai ezhudhum", I don't feel like the composer is merely manipulating notes of the scale. It's quite insulting that he would think this is IR's (and other senior Carnatic and film musicians) understanding of raagam when even I find it too "simplistic and immature".


Finally,



TMK wrote:But we can and must ask: what does this transposition of a composition from its parent rage onto another actually do to the kirtana? A great deal, actually. The essence of its being disintegrates. This is not to say that the film version of the kirtana was not beautiful. I am examining what the film version did to the integrity of the kirtana. As I said, the film song destroyed it. To me, the film version was unacceptable.




HOW?? Essence disintegrating, integrity lost and all flowery language. But what does it even mean? Why didn't he care to elaborate? Here again, he talks like it was sacrilege and should have never been attempted. Nalla irundhudhu, nalla illa nu soldradhoda niruthikkalaam. Edhukku theva illaama unfortunate, unacceptable idha madhiri laam vaarthaigala payan paduthanum?

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:42 am

crimson king wrote:I cannot say he is off the mark about his comments on the evolution of Carnatic vocals due to possibly the singers being influenced by film music.  Unnikrishnan is a prime example of this.  The singing of stalwarts like Madurai Somu or Maharajapuram Santhanam on my grandpa's old tapes is so passionate and soulful. Not only Unni's vocals lack that, he has got a whole new audience over to Carnatic who dislike the Somu kind of singing.  That is, indeed, unfortunate.  This kind of dilution has taken place in the art of opera singing also.  From the day the Three Tenors got together to sing amp-ed versions of arias at football stadiums, opera as a skillful art was replaced with opera as a genre, a sound.  

It is also to be noted that he has not criticised film music composers for utilising Carnatic as source material.  He has criticised Carnatic musicians for using examples from film music to highlight the characteristics of ragas.  Again, that is at worst a rather puritanical stance but it's ok, it's his opinion.  

Don't disagree with any of this.

unlike Balki's rather dubious compliment in the IBN episode on Raja: "he composed foot tapping tunes for several generations to keep listening to".

Hahaha. That's what he said? Lol

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  crimson king on Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:40 am

I do not know that he did not elaborate on it - the sindhu bhairavi transposition business - and I will not make that assumption without reading the entire book.  

As for IR's use of rare ragams in film music, I don't see where TMK has objected to that in any excerpts.  My interpretation was that he was referring to the carnatic compositions Raja came up with for his own kutcheri.  As an established Carnatic artist, TMK is entitled to his views.  He can choose to be condescending about it too though it says more about him as a person than it does about Raja.  Even Raja sometimes says condescending things about new composers relying too much on loops.  I could turn the argument the other way and ask where does it say you cannot depend on loops or autotune for film music.  Just as Raja has some ideal viewpoint of what film music should be, TMK probably has one about Carnatic too.


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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  crimson king on Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:47 am

His views on Mari mari are pretty straightforward to understand anyway.  If you showed a supposed novice singing nessun dorma in una furtiva lagrima's tune, it would not be too presumptuous to suppose ignorance on said novice's part of classical music.  But in the film, Suhasini receives applause for what appears to be a sabha audience for doing so.  As if she did something that was 'right'.  My guess is THAT is what TMK objects to, that the transposition is sought to be validated in the film situation.  I would not go along with that argument but I can understand a Carnatic musician objecting to that because he is bound to take it much more seriously than the casual audience.  And in all the excerpts of Ilayaraja reproduced here, his main target seems to be the Carnatic community as a whole and not Ilayaraja in particular.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:03 am

crimson king wrote:As for IR's use of rare ragams in film music, I don't see where TMK has objected to that in any excerpts.

My point is that in such a sharp critical essay on film-carnatic music, he must also acknowledge the positives - which he hasn't. IR's use of dormant raagams, the role of film music in making carnatic based material more popular among the masses etc need to be acknowledged. (I am assuming V_S has copied all relevant excerpts relating to film music in the book). Film music itself might "fail the test and, hence not be part of Karnatik music's development process.", but it has also had some positive influence on CCM as a whole besides the negatives. I am disappointed that he neglects to mention that (again assuming he hasn't said anything much on the subject beyond these excerpts)

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  crimson king on Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:08 am

Again, my response would be that I would like to read the full book (and since I keep saying it, I need to do it as soon as budget permits) to place his observations in context.  If you already feel disappointed by what he has said in these excerpts, it's fine, it's your choice.  As I said before, he has in fact acknowledged Raja's contribution in very precise language of the sort that's unfortunately rarely used.  And not only the words but the song exhibits he cited to illustrate his point.  Not that I am surprised given his stature as a musician.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:18 am

To be sure, I am disappointed only with his choice of words (unfortunate, unacceptable) and reluctance to acknowledge the positives. Maybe reading the book will give a clearer picture - it was staring at me at Giri traders and I almost picked it up, but the price (Rs 700+) discouraged me.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  crimson king on Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:20 am

lol, price is what discouraged me initially. I am still willing to go for it because it seems like it would at least be a very weighty work.  But not this month or the next, too much outgoing already.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  SenthilVinu on Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:45 am

Crimson_King,    

My discussion focus is T.M.K and not to pick on you  Before I go into this long post! Yes, his summation of Raja's works are much more accurate than usual superlatives and I am not really concerned that he is criticizing Raja. I am criticizing his whole attitude towards film Carnatic and his attitude towards Carnatic music itself.  I listened to interview, his ideas seems half-baked. It is him who is having superficial understanding of the films and songs he is using to illustrate the point.  I sincerely think he wrote the book too early. He seems to be on some journey but wrote a book before he completed that journey.

T.M.K Excerpts wrote:"But we can and must ask: what does this transposition of a composition from its parent rage onto another actually do to the kirtana? A great deal, actually. The essence of its being disintegrates. This is not to say that the film version of the kirtana was not beautiful. I am examining what the film version did to the integrity of the kirtana. As I said, the film song destroyed it. To me, the film version was unacceptable.

What was more interesting was the lack of reaction from the Karnatik music community. This lethargy was evidence of both a fear of the popular and, more significantly, a certain lack of confidence in the music itself. I for one wish questions had been raised, not because a particular film's use of a Tyagaraja kirtana would have been brought under the scanner, but because it could have led to a serious questioning of the veracity of changes that are made to compositions - not by film music directors, but by Karnatik musicians themselves. Essentially, Illayaraja was not doing something that Karnatik musicians had not done themselves"

He is implying a ban and huge repercussions that should have followed by the usage of mari mari ninne. He is also saying such a repercussion should be orchestrated against Carnatic musicians who deviate in such a way. To call a expression of music as unacceptable, he is calling for a ban. He didn't say tasteless, not good, bad but unacceptable. He would ban it if he had the authority. Real supporter of artist and believer in freedom of expression is someone who defends the right of the artist to exist and to be practice the art you despise.   I despise most auto-tuned songs but I would never support a ban of any such music. I can't get past 10 second of dubstep music but I respect the right of others to explore such a territory. So many simple looking human being in ordinary walks of life display tremendous understanding compassion toward the people and things they dislike. It is unfortunate an artist and intellectual like T.M.K should use such words. This is not an offhand interview, this is from his book that he had time to deeply reflect up on, put the words to paper, print and proof it. 

Crimson_king wrote:His views on Mari mari are pretty straightforward to understand anyway.  If you showed a supposed novice singing nessun dorma in una furtiva lagrima's tune, it would not be too presumptuous to suppose ignorance on said novice's part of classical music.  But in the film, Suhasini receives applause for what appears to be a sabha audience for doing so.  As if she did something that was 'right'.  My guess is THAT is what TMK objects to, that the transposition is sought to be validated in the film situation. 

Audience don't applaud because she transposed mari mari but because she sang in Tamil and they could understand it.  I read from a different critic that Suhasini version doesn't live to the sabha standard. Of course, it should not top G.K.B (Sivakumar) by classical standards. Suhasini's character is an amateur and her take needs to have a bit of rawness in it without destroying the raga. Her character is trying to stir and show G.K.B what is possible, she is certainly not as capable as him, that is clear in the movie!  And Crimson_king, if you are concerned about validation by sabha audience, I have to refer to my earlier post. It is just a fictional film trying to get good point across.  

Coming to T.M.K. He talks abouts nuances and aesthetic of Carnatic music but he cannot grasp a simple nuance and a brilliant narrative idea used by K.B & Raja. Let me quote T.M.K before going into my explanation.
T.M.K Quote wrote:"The second film in this discussion is Sindhu Bhairavi (Tamil, 1985). This hugely successful film used predominantly Karnatik music elements - once again, the story was about a Karnatik musician. The composer, the inimitable Ilayaraja, used a Tyagaraja composition, 'Mari mari ninne', in raga saramati. This was an interesting situation, as Tyagaraja had composed it in raga khambhoji and, more importantly there was an oral version of the song available. So, if Ilayaraja had wanted to, he could have used 'Mari mari ninne' as rendered in Karnatik music. Why he did not do so, I do not know. May be he felt that the meaning of the lyrics and the context of the film demanded another raga and melody? Only he knows and only he can tell."

Only he knows and only he can tell. No most audience 'felt' Raja's decision and one can explain it if you just look bit closely(like any deeper work).

In the film, Suhasini is totally enjoying transposed "'Mari mari ninne" in raga saramati instead of khambhoji but quite a few in the sabha audience, especially the lay people, are simply not paying any attention to Sivakumar. For Sivakumar's character, his transposition is innovative & proud, suhasini gets the innovation but the innovation is lost on the lay people. 


Then Suhasini character challenges him, sings "Padariyen Padippariyen" in same raga but in Tamil. Classically, She may not be as perfect as G.K.B but still gets more applause from the audience. The movie drives home the point that if Sivakumar had sung in the Tamil he would have reached wider audience. The point the movie is making, if you have problem that, that's a separate discussion. T.M.K fails to understands this difference.

One can ask, why the transposition? Why not simply use a regular kriti by G.K.B and followed by a Tamil kriti by Suhasini to make the point?  Because it more ironic when artist innovates and it does not reach the audience. Not even an criticism! On top of this, it busts Sivakumar character's ego big time because his innovation falls flat and Suhasini receives more applause. This is the necessary character event to start the stories journey. Without it there is no story to begin with.

If some community finds fault in this innovative narration by K.B/Raja, I just have to pity that community. And in case of T.M.K, either he watched the film defensively with Carnatic tradition hat on or has not watched the film at all or he just watched the song clip. His befuddlement in Raja's transposition of mari mari is super funny to me. And as an author he has not researched well and hence his words and criticisms do not lend credibility. 

By the way, these things are not an accident, especially by a filmmaker like K.B. Simillar to this, Balachander has used Carnatic and sabha aesthetic to make the climatic point in Apoorva Ragangal with the song "Kelviyin nayagane". All elements in the song work in unison -- the journey of the song, its usage of Carnatic elements, the position of characters in screen (eg: Rajni in the balcony), camera angles (Kamal in high angle in the later part of the son, like he is in a mountain akin to Lord Muruga) etc... etc.. Please give filmmakers & film musician like M.S.V, K.V.M and Raja some credit Smile   They know exactly what they are doing. They are not doing without a deep understanding. 

T.M.K excerpts wrote:This film also brought up another debate, again based on the same kirtana. In the movie, a member of the singer's audience asks him why he sings only in languages that the Tamil people do not understand. She comes up on stage and, in fact, renders a Tamil song in the same raga, complete with kalpanasvaras. This leads, in the film, to the musician going onto include a number of Tamil compositions in his recitals. That scene brought back the debate of the early twentieth century on the issue of language in music. It was clear also that no one had understood the role of language in art music beyond the confines of lyrical understanding. The fact that those beyond the Karnatik environment were discussing the issue of language in Karnatik music was most fascinating. It was a rare opportunity to understand the general perception of a complex issue. It emerged that even within the world of Karnatik music, language and its lyrical import was a strongly held idea, and this had been communicated to the world outside. As a community, we believed and still believe that when a musician renders a Tyagaraja kirtana, he must emote the word meanings of the compositions. This lack of a larger perspective - a matter I have delved into at length in a separate chapter - persists both within and outside the Karnatik music world and will probably never die.

The fact that those beyond the Karnatik environment were discussing the issue of language in Karnatik music was most fascinating.   Fascinating to me too! He seems to have no idea about films. What does he mean those beyound karntic environment? Is there some sort of exclusive club he is running? Does he mean only people inside that environment are eligible to talk, practice and criticize it? Raja has professed his love for carnatic and is deep practitioner of Carnatic music in a different format. And K.B has touched very broad subjects and made a broad range of films. Has he seen any K.B movies??  

 As a community, we believed and still believe that when a musician renders a Tyagaraja kirtana, he must emote the word meanings of the compositions. Fantastic! That is not the point of the movie or criticisms in general. The real criticism is even when a musician emote the meaning of the compositions people do not understand the meaning because they don't know the language! 

It was a rare opportunity to understand the general perception of a complex issue.  No. Not complex. The film is saying please sing in Tamil lyrics too so lay people can understand. T.M.K implies language to Carnatic is important and hence using Tamil is a complex subject. When we say but we don't undertstand it, he is implying language is not so important! 

He is also saying please don't listen to composition just by its lyrical meaning but there is musicality, a compositional play behind the lyrics and asking us to latch on to it. ( I am referring to his interview not text) This is much closer to Raja's position on lyrics and something I also agree. But this is secondary and if audience have no understanding of language it does not apply.

Anyway, his criticism have no locus standi and his ideas are half-baked. He needs to understand cinema before criticizing people part of it.


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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  crimson king on Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:23 am

Sorry, but I do not think the word 'unacceptable' automatically implies a ban.  It is just a strong English expression and, again, given TMK's fondness for using unnecessarily heavy English, that is not surprising. All it means is he finds it unacceptable from his viewpoint and he felt Carnatic musicians could have used the opportunity to criticise it had they not already been indulging in the same.  

And I think it is quite clear what he means when he refers to people beyond the Carnatic environment.  He has simply acknowledged that people who are not Carnatic musicians or hardcore Carnatic listeners would have a different viewpoint.  To cut a long story short, this whole debate we are having is simply a matter of where you supply emphasis when you read and how you thereafter derive interpretations of what TMK said.  For example, on the language issue, he would only seem to be saying that Carnatic musicians were wrong to tightly hold on to Tyagaraja texts as sacrosanct and somehow consider it beneath their dignity to sing in Tamil (which is also what the film depicts).  The words "This lack of a larger perspective persists both within and outside the Carnatic world" would suggest as much.   

Actually, apart from his objection to transposition, I don't see any criticism of the film in that excerpt at all.  If you choose to infer some criticism and in turn form impressions about TMK on that basis, that is your choice.  I do find it amusing, however, that in your last sentence, you say "He needs to understand cinema before criticizing people part of it."  in the same breath that you infer his mere usage of the word "unacceptable" as tantamount to seeking a ban.  The problem with freedom in expression in India is people would like it to apply to everything but their own sacred cows.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  SenthilVinu on Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:27 am

His comments on the song are pretty harsh and doesn't explain how the transposition of mari mari disintegrates the essence of the song in great deal. My conclusions are based his full excerpts, interview and overall point he is making and I have backed up with clear explanation. If he is not asking for a ban, what kind of reaction does he suggest carnatic music community do? He doesn't elaborate that either. That and more. So I said..."Anyway, his criticism have no locus standi and his ideas are half-baked. He needs to understand cinema before criticizing people part of it".  

Anyway, I meant his criticism has no value without proper understanding and would gain weight with proper criticism. Sure amuse all you want if you think I meant banning his expression itself. 

I have made my point by point refutation of his excerpts until contrary excerpts or evidence arises I will stand by every word of it.

PS: Why take unnecessary jab at the people of India?

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:11 am

Just one point - I also don't agree "unacceptable" = intention to ban. I would roughly translate it as "Would have been better if he hadn't done that", "appdi paNNAma irundhurkalAm" etc..language which I likewise find "unacceptable".

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  crimson king on Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:51 am

SenthilVinu wrote:His comments on the song are pretty harsh and doesn't explain how the transposition of mari mari disintegrates the essence of the song in great deal. My conclusions are based his full excerpts, interview and overall point he is making and I have backed up with clear explanation. If he is not asking for a ban, what kind of reaction does he suggest carnatic music community do? He doesn't elaborate that either. That and more. So I said..."Anyway, his criticism have no locus standi and his ideas are half-baked. He needs to understand cinema before criticizing people part of it".  

Anyway, I meant his criticism has no value without proper understanding and would gain weight with proper criticism. Sure amuse all you want if you think I meant banning his expression itself. 

I have made my point by point refutation of his excerpts until contrary excerpts or evidence arises I will stand by every word of it.

PS: Why take unnecessary jab at the people of India?
er, thank you for proving my point. Since the words "he needs to understand cinema before criticizing it" does not imply a ban, it follows that merely calling something unacceptable doesn't equate to demanding a ban. Your conclusion in that aspect is baseless. Since you accept he has also not specified what reaction there should have been from the Carnatic community, it means there is not enough evidence to conclude he wanted a ban. In a nutshell, use the same language you would like others to use. You could have phrased your last statement as "he lacks awareness of cinema and his criticisms lack weight" but you went further. I am not interested in engaging you on your criticisms, all I would like to see is some consistency. One either has the freedom to offend or one doesn't, it's not selective. But in this country, we cherry pick, taking umbrage but feeling dismayed if others do. Hence my jab at India's notorious double standards, which as an indian i find necessary to express.

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  Usha on Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:34 pm

TMK.. sollatum....  avar GKB madhirii Egovil solrar........IR.. Suhasini madhiiri.. kashtamana
Caratic ai.. simple aga.. cinema padal moolam.. puriya vaithu irukirar. adhai maruka mudiyadhae.

Semmangudi pugazhndhu irukarae.. IR ai.........  avar enna sadharanamana Carnatic singera...
avaruku theriyadhadha...........


IR's compositiions.. about WCM... Western community --  ingayum acceptance irukadhu. because of the Carnatic portion.. avargaluku adhu theriyadhu.. adhanal....  so thavaru  IR idam ilai.. puriyadhavar idam dhan..........

adhu pola than. Carnatic communityilayum... Western portion.. ivargaluku puriyadhu....so.. thavaru
IR idam ilai.. puriyadhavarlidam dhan............

idhu dhan. IR.... idhu dhan ivarudaiya Special... Western and Carnatic  theridha oruvar
IR ai pugazha than mudiyum......

Ilaiyaraja oru Galileo vai pola............. purindhu kolla romba varusham agum........ipo irukaravangaluku puriyadhu............

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  Drunkenmunk on Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:39 pm

Only valid that we hear what Raaja has to say on this after reading TMK and discussing our own points (ideally TMK ezhudhinadhoda idha pAthurukkaNum). How/Why did this happen for Raaja?:



As we can see, this happened spontaneously for Raaja and his words takes me to what Thyagaraja himself might have felt if he were there today. Raaja says Thyagaraja Swamigal's complete blessings reflected in that song, in a typically IR way. idhukku mEla enakku solla enna irukku? Smile

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  fring151 on Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:54 pm

Have Thala and thalapathy fans disowned Raja after this?  lol!

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Re: Criticisms on Maestro's music by music experts

Post  Drunkenmunk on Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:57 pm

fring151 wrote:Have Thala and thalapathy fans disowned Raja after this?  lol!

Hahaha  lol! remember seeing one typical YT video (inga share seyya mudiyAdhu. thEdaravan YT'la pOi thEdikkO Razz) that fanned fan flames with the title "IR criticizes Thala Ajith" with comments typically abusive asking the "arrogant" IR to introspect. Basically, evan kitta ellAm humility lessons kEkka vENdi irukku? Like Winston Churchill said on Clement Atlee, "It is amusing to hear on humility from people who have a lot to be humble about."

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