Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

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Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:23 pm

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I have been researching Raja's instrumental work for the past 10 years and recently I took on an ambitious project to uncover some very complex harmony based work that Raja has done without much effort. He keeps saying doing music means no great effort for him - something that baffles me to this date.

As part of scanning my select database of songs, background scores and interludes, I noticed that Raja has done some very intricate harmonies in totally obscure movies. More importantly, one would expect him not to venture into any WCM when he does his folk and he casually adds a harmony passage as though this is like taking a walk in the park.

Let me start with an example, 'Samakozhi koovudhamma' from Ponnu Oorukku Pudhusu (Tamil 1979). Hear the third interlude and it is a beautiful harmony (a counterpoint as well) thrown in as a walk in the park. My pet theory is that he is a western classical musician first and everything else after that.




Hear the track from 2:47 to 2:59 and you will see that 'walk in the park'.


The park is bigger than central park in NYC and Stanley Park in Vancouver combined. (I would call it as the Algonquin Park in Canada, as it is almost the size of Kerala State). I will take a nibble at it as I find more time. I thought this being a general harmony topic, does not qualify to be part of the 'Unusual observations' - it is part of the 'Usual observations' we all forgot to observe and record!


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:54 pm

Though not strictly an obscure movie, Vinodayatra (Malayalam 1997) never somehow makes it to the top of Raja's good work. His guitar chords on Kaiyatha needs no introduction to Raja fans. It is a usual 'feel good' film of Sathyan and the background score in this movie has some simple harmonies (on the surface) that makes you wonder about the intricacies of the 'walk in the park' - something I hope all budding composers must listen and internalize. The melodies are purely Indian and the piano and the guitar arrangements take care of the other S,A,T,B parts. Again, something, nobody would care to do, as you already have a bunch of good melodies that you can beat it to death in an Indian movie. After hearing this score, you need to go back to the songs in the movie and you will quickly realize that the melody is reused (sometimes on a different time) but the harmonies are rewritten...

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:15 pm

It is famous and obscure at the same time. Raajapaarvai (Tamil 1981), had its great songs and also its famous violin concerto in Panthuvarali.

However, the solo violin play with harmonies intricately weaved with the piano, stands out as part of the background score, which continues to stay obscure even till this date. Dilip, who used to do the BGM work in the early 2000s, used to call a few BGMs as 'Thats Ilayaraja!'. This is one such track.

It is natural to get carried away by VSN's play of the solo violin - it deserves all kudos. Hear it again, ignoring VSN and you will see the clear harmony weaved with a piano. I will demonstrate in this series, that genius is still intact in 2016.


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:43 pm

Idhu Namma Bhoomi (Tamil 1992) was definitely an obscure movie and the only relatively known aspect of this movie's music is the KYJ song 'Vaana Mazhai Pole'.

There is a great solo violin score in this obscure movie, which appears initially as a simple Carnatic melody. If you hear the first 100 seconds of this clip, you will notice that it is a typical Raja solo violin score. The fun begins at 1:50 and goes on for the next 55 seconds.

The score switches to Western from Carnatic and slowly the harmony layers get added (based on the quality of this recording, it is not so obvious if Raja used cellos and double basses, which typically dominate the bass part of a harmony). Three solo violins competing for the listener in counter and also Raja plays with the time if you notice closely - this is tight nylon (rope is too broad) dancing (walking is steady) that a Carnatic trained ear will find it as abaswaram. A western trained ear will tell you that Raja is doing a modulation.


(Here is what modulation in WCM means: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modulation_(music))


That's the classical Raja on violin...


https://soundcloud.com/navin-mozart/illayaraja-ithu-namma-bhoomi1992soundtrack-voilan


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:03 am

One of my all time basslines favorite is the song 'Poonkaatinodum kilikalodum' from Poomuggapadiyil Nineyum Kaathu (80s Malayalam) sang brilliantly by Yesudas and Janaki. Basslines is only one part of the story. Listen to the harmony in both the interludes. Harmony so beautifully written can be turned into a music school lesson.



The first interlude is one of the perfect harmonies in 80s Malayalam where the first part is done by background and foreground violins and the second part is done between violins and flute.

The second interlude is completely different. While the instrumentation is the same, the harmonies are different. The last part is a fantastic dialog in harmony between two synthesizers.

I chose the above clip without any picturization as I do not want any distractions visually from the music.  A solid WCM music school lesson material.

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:27 am

Kanavu Ondru Thondruthe from Oru Odai Nadhiyagirathu (Tamil 1983) - the picturization was horrible but I found a youtube video that shows only Janaki as the covers. 



The second interlude is the harmony journey of Raja. Hear the song from 2:43 to 3:18 and this part does not look anything like the rest of the song. 

First harmony passage between 2:43 and 2:55 - Three parts of violins carefully arranged with one of the background violins playing the notes rapidly (sautille?) and the other two sets of violins playing the other two harmony parts in a nice dialog. 

Second harmony passage between 3:11 to 3:18 - three synthesizer tones in harmony playing the three parts beautifully and a the end before it turns over to the charanam play the three parts as discrete notes. You need good headphones to see the harmony at play for the synthesizer tones.

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:55 pm

Pooncholai (Tamil 199x) perfectly qualifies for being obscure as the film never released.

Gaana Kuyile has multiple versions, one sang by Raja and another by Balu and Bhava.

Hear the second interlude of this song between 2:34 and 2:55 - this is a very modern harmony arrangement done with a mix of traditional and non-traditional instruments.

Between 2:34 and  2:46   : the bass guitar is used as the constant melody line and it goes on a repeat mode (the simple of Raja's counter melodies) and the violins get into a dialog with the synthesizers finishing the dialog each time. Somewhere after 2:46, the piano joins the fray and now you have the bass guitar, the piano and the violins playing at the same time their parts. Such a fine arrangement, we think is wasted on an obscure movie song that never got released. He would say, that's a small walk in the park.


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:38 pm

This song is very popular in Kerala but few Tamils or Telugus know about it. I would like to categorize this as still obscure (Malayalees, please pardon me).

'Thai Maavin Thanalil' from Oru Yaatra Mozhi (Malayalam 1997). The song's prelude and the pallavi are decorated with plucked strings, known as pizzicato in WCM.  There are several other songs where Raja has used Pizzicato strings (example, Maalayil Yaaro's interludes).

Hear the second interlude alone in this song to see some brilliant harmony of Raja from 3:16 to 3:30. Granted, that the picturization takes your mind off the violins, cellos, double basses and the violas. This is Raja at his best and you do not get to hear this type of harmony in Indian films from anyone else. This stands as tall as the work by JW, JG, HZ or EM or any other great composers of the West.


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:50 pm

There should be no debate about 'Mathiya Chennai (Tamil 2009)' being an obscure film and there was one brilliant song by Rita that goes 'Unnai Patri Sonnal'. While the song is great, the harmonies in this song's interlude is so freaking modern, that I do not understand why people have difficulty in accepting Raja's modernity. When Raja does something really good and modern, it is dismissed as 'synth', even by Raja fans. 

Do not get me wrong. The wiring of this man is intact. The interludes will stand any harmony test. 

Listen to the harmony passage from 1:10  to 1:34

Three synthesizer tones play the SATB in this - a bass tone on the synth, a normal piano and sharp bells. I love the recording of this song as you can hear the hi hats so clearly from the drummer. Harmony does not get any more modern.

Next listen to the harmony passage between 3:08 and 

The passage between 3:08 and 3:20 is not very impressive as it is a repetitive melody without much ornamentation. 

The passage between 3:20 and 3:30 is 10 seconds of outstanding harmony done with bass , flutes, guitar and bells. Cut this out and make it your ring tone and you can see the quality of this harmony.

Another walk in the park...


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:44 am

When Raja does his highly acclaimed Carnatic compositions, he throws in some western harmonies into it and I latch on to such songs as it sort of proves my pet theory that he is first a WC musician. You can hear that in Poo maalai vaangi vandhaan in Sindhu Bhairavi (Tamil 1986).

Here is another song that was not so known film Avarampoo (Tamil 1992) - this film's BGM is a fine one as well as its several songs.

Hear this Carnatic raga driven song  and focus on a few minutes of beautiful harmonies with just strings - my guess is at least there are 3 parts to this harmony. Focus on 3:48 to 4:23 and see the harmonies arranged in a dialog with tabla. Raja ensures that the lead violin plays carnatic even in this harmony so that it does not screw up the overall composition. This is a special walk in the park that only he is capable of.  CCM and WCM coexist in total peace and an average listener will never notice!


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:23 am

Unless, you are a die hard Raja fan, there is little chance of knowing 'Kanavil Midhakkum' song from Eera Vizhi Kaaviyangal fromt he 80s. 

This film had great songs, but this song sang by Yesudas has special significance from a harmony and WCM perspective. Personally, this song's second interlude helped me understand modulation of scales, that Raja did in his usual 'walk int he park'. Raja's use of Yesudas as a Carnatic singer is nothing great in my view - it is like somebody using Hariharan as a ghazal singer. These singers are trained to perform that well. It is so hard to get Yesudas sing Western phrases and this was the time Raja succeeded in taking the 'Apoorva Ragam' guy and turning him into a Western singing powerhouse. Starting from Uravugal Thodargathai to En Iniya Pon Nilave to Kanavil Midhakkum, it was total transformation for Yesudas under Raja. Little is documented about Raja's role in helping Yesudas navigate through these strange paths - listen to the song Kalkandam chundil and see him glide with Janaki - the training was complete!

Back to Kanavil midhakkum, it is almost a complete lesson on harmony and you can cover all your western harmony lessons with just this song. I will touch on the interludes without running too deep as it can get boring as you get deeper with harmony.

Passage 1 : 1:07 to 1:48

A pretty long passage (21 seconds - around 12 bars) with just violins playing harmony in all four parts. The first use of flute is at 1:28 and it lasts only till 1:36 (4 bars). The violins play another harmony between 1:36 and 1:48 (another 6 bars). Marathon effort that nobody can dismiss as a walk int he park. Yet he does,

Passage 2 : 2:42 to 

From 2:42 to 3:03, it is all piano and violins based harmony passages nicely arranged. 

From 3:03 to 3:14, is where the modulation of the scales take place. We already saw the definition of what this is. 

We can keep describing these harmony passages in greater detail technically, but can get theoretical. 

For those interested in harmony lessons, please read CSR's blog. 


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  V_S on Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:01 pm

Wonderful thread Ravi. Excellent detail analysis! cheers Reading one by one with goosebumps. Maestro's magic.

Well said about Yesudas and how Maestro explored his untraveled territory which no other music director explored.

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:36 pm

If I say 'Bharathi' (Tamil 2001) is an obscure film, I run the risk of being shot at or stoned to death. But 'Bharathi' and harmony, you must be kidding! The film had some of Raja's very fine Carnatic work that brought him close to a National award that eluded him.

Yes, Bharathi, harmony and Raja - that's the obscure combination that I will discuss here.

If you listen to the BGM, where Bharathi learns and speaks fluently in English, for the Tamil, audience, Bharathi's words are faded and you can hear Raja's violin harmony take over. Hear from 6:18 to 6:54 in the clip below (courtesy Navin):



If that obscure WCM part was not good enough, you need to hear this masterpiece - Bharatha Samudhayam Vazhgave by Yesudas. The song has only one interlude and Raja hits the ball out of several parks. This is the unappreciated but one of the grandest harmony parts he has written in films.  Between 1:24 and 1:50, hear the harmony that the maestro (I do not use this word lightly) delivers. I missed it initially till one of my friends told me. Has Raja ever spoken about this score? That's another walk in the park...


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  kamalaakarsh on Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:47 pm

Super thread. I am thoroughly enjoying every post here.

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:19 pm

Nothing can get more obscure than the song I will discuss in this post. Not a youtube video, not on soundcloud.



The tune is average, but the harmonies are done so brilliantly. This is the song - Yaarkku Yaarendru from Ajanthaa (Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam 2007). This movie perhaps beats 'Megha' in the obscurity race :-) Fortunately, I found a clip on raaga.com.



For whatever reasons, Ajanthaa did not deserve such intricate harmonies. But, how do you argue with a guy who says, it's not a big deal Let's get back to the song.



http://play.raaga.com/carnatic/song/album/Ajantha-T0003751/Yarukku-Yarendru-398317



Listen to the prelude - a combination of violins with keys and flute. Nicely done.



Next, hear the first interlude from 1:20 to 1:30 - the violins play the melody that imitates the flow of water on a slope and an ascent. The flute does the final ascent playing its part. This is a regular harmony theme of Raja and he has done in many songs and I would like to use this track to highlight this technique of him. It's all about the gushing violins and cellos and double basses  taking care of the initial ebbs and troughs and the finishing is normally done by the flute. That's top bread.



Between 1:31 and 1:40 on the same interlude, this is harmony arranged with the flutes and only pizzicato violins.  This is the meat in the sandwich.



The bottom bread is the 1:41 to 1:44 done with the same ebbs and troughs with the flutes and gushing violins. One hellua harmony sandwich Very Happy



The second interlude has some stunning harmonies which I will not discuss in detail here as it will be part of a future blog post. Simply put, this interlude has something, only Raja is capable of. Hint: in several parts of this interlude, there are three interrelated, but different melodies doing different things at the same time.  All these posts are part of my work in trying to uncover such arrangements!

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:34 am

Oh Nenjame Idhu Un Raagame from Enakkaaga Kaathiru (Tamil 198x) is from a forgettable film obscure enough to qualify to be in this topic. Not just a great tune, the harmonies in this song are equally good. 

In the first interlude between 1:49 to 1: 55 - starts off as a pure violin harmony and effortlessly switches the violins to synthesizers. Following this is the typical 80s C&R between the flute and synthesizer. 

Between 2:06 and 2:30  , it is some outstanding harmony work that definitely deserves elaboration. The play between the synthesizer and the flute with one ascending and another descending is just bewitching. Initially the violin takes the place of the flute every 4 bars once. It then is arranged every other bar till it is time for a simple bunch of C & Rs based transition to the charanam. 24 seconds of beautiful harmony. 

In the second interlude, my favorite is between 3:51 and 4:08. As expected, the simple violin strokes start off and a few seconds later all other harmony parts are added with violins, cellos and double basses. This is one of my favorite harmony arrangements by Raja, which he has rarely repeated in the last 40 years. This is a rare walk in the park. 
 

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  V_S on Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:19 am

ravinat wrote:Second harmony passage between 3:11 to 3:18 - three synthesizer tones in harmony playing the three parts beautifully and a the end before it turns over to the charanam play the three parts as discrete notes.

I have been listening to all the intricate pieces you highlighted. As I listen each one of them, I am in tears, on how Maestro would have conceived with ease. It is even more interesting with the way you highlight and present these pieces, which shows, with how utmost sincerity you would have listened to his music not even leaving a second of his music. The above quoted part is one of the finest example. Hats off to you Ravi. applause

There are already brilliant examples in vinodayathra, mathiya chennai, ajantha as you highlighted from the last decade. Every malayalam song right from 78 to 2014 has been a huge favorite of mine and I don't have a heart to skip a single one, if I do so, it is like I am skipping the heart beat myself. How one can ask to pick a single malayalam soundtrack in the last decade when I cannot skip a single song. I am not sure, if they really turned/tuned their ears honestly? Are they expecting symphony score in every outing? How hard it is to understand that every song is different and it is composed considering various other parameters confined to the film. I am very tired.

I am very tired of hearing these statements right from 92. In 96-97 they said nothing like IR of early 90s. In 2004-5 they said, nothing like IR of 90s. In 2010s then said nothing like IR of 2000s when Sethu, Hey Ram, Barathi, Azhagi, Virumandi, Pithamagan and so on came. In 2016, they say nothing like last decade. What to answer, except to say, நாங்கெல்லாம் முன்னாடி போறோம் நீங்கெல்லாம் மெதுவா வந்து சேருங்க.

Why Maestro has such a bad recognition (even among IR fans) despite being incomparable? What better others are doing than him now to deserve even a place in film music industry? I don't know. There are people who keep mum when a treasure thread like this highlights Maestro's ingenuity for various decades, but does not fail to comeback when they hear someone talks bad about him or his music, as it makes them very happy that they have an immense opportunity to defend/justify others letting down Maestro. If a person who lists just less than 10 songs of Maestro in the last decade and claiming as a music lover or an IR fan, I would like to understand what other music they listen to understand and appreciate? Or if do they not listen to any music after 90s, they just come hear to look for some fun to waste our time and their time? I don't understand.

Sorry to spam your thread, but I feel the hard work you are doing to bring out Maestro's works should not go unnoticed.


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:04 am

ravinat wrote:Oh Nenjame Idhu Un Raagame from Enakkaaga Kaathiru (Tamil 198x) is from a forgettable film obscure enough to qualify to be in this topic. Not just a great tune, the harmonies in this song are equally good. 

In the first interlude between 1:49 to 1: 55 - starts off as a pure violin harmony and effortlessly switches the violins to synthesizers. Following this is the typical 80s C&R between the flute and synthesizer. 

Between 2:06 and 2:30  , it is some outstanding harmony work that definitely deserves elaboration. The play between the synthesizer and the flute with one ascending and another descending is just bewitching. Initially the violin takes the place of the flute every 4 bars once. It then is arranged every other bar till it is time for a simple bunch of C & Rs based transition to the charanam. 24 seconds of beautiful harmony. 

In the second interlude, my favorite is between 3:51 and 4:08. As expected, the simple violin strokes start off and a few seconds later all other harmony parts are added with violins, cellos and double basses. This is one of my favorite harmony arrangements by Raja, which he has rarely repeated in the last 40 years. This is a rare walk in the park. 

Lovely tread Ravi. Greatly enjoying this. btw, Raaja himself has revealed that his favorite 50s song by MSV (which he had thought was by CR Subburaman), Vaan Meedhile, which he requested MSV to reuse (or rather, MSV imitated) in Mella Thirandhadhu Kadhavu (as Vaa Vennilaa) is the inspiration for Oh Nenjame! Smile Vaa Vennilaa is an imitation but Oh Nenjame is suitably a more complex derivative and Raaja has shared in Ulavacharu Biryani's audio launch (and later in Ennullil MSV which I had the good fortune to attend live) that he took effort to create an inspiration of his favorite melody. It clearly shows in the orchestration.

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:16 am

According to Wikipedia, 'Mugam' is a film released in 1999 in Tamil and Telugu. I have no idea about this film and I am sure many others are in the same boat. Obscure for sure.

Thanks to Kamesh for posting the title score in soundcloud. I was listening to this score today and it is a short one of about 2 minutes laden with harmony. 

Between 1:14 and 1:45, harmony does not get any better. The bass is played with cellos and double bases and the the violins play the other parts - this is a string quartet. Very few composers can even write something like this.  VSN has been doing great work in this area as part of his MSQ. A solo violin does the S part of the harmony - this is no different from hearing a classical Western concert that goes back to the baroque days. Between 1:46 and 1:55, the composer changes the harmony completely and returns back to the original baroque style harmony back from 1:56 all the way to 2:18. He repeats it again between 3:15 and 3:35.

https://soundcloud.com/kameshratnam/mugam-title-ilayaraaja

Here is a comparable video that shows you how a string quartet works...



The point of sharing VSNs video along with Raja's obscure movie work of 'Mugam' is that, it comes easy for these artists. Harmony is not something they have to sweat it out like other Indian composers who brag about it. It also proves my pet theory that Raja is first a WC musician and everything else after that. For a useless movie like 'Mugam', if he has to write a title score, he would like to do something where he does not have to sweat it out. Harmony is in his DNA and there is nothing that he needs to do to write a small 3 minute score!

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:43 am

Kanavarisu from Shikari (Kannada 1981) is a fantastic duet by Balu and Janaki. However, very few Raja fans know this song. In my view, this song is the ver 1.0 of the Chinna Veedu song Ada Macham Ulla. Raja did a number of his initial orchestration experiments in Kannada in the early 80s. This is a faced paced duet and the song was a super hit in Kannada and not however known outside Karnataka. Suresh, correct me if I am wrong. This song is known for its beautiful bass lines. 

Listen to the second interlude where harmony is thrown in without impacting the pace of this song.  Between 2:22 and 2:32, the harmony between the violins, cellos, double basses and the flute is done with utmost finesse. Between 2:51 and 2:55, the harmony with violins returns back turning this over to the horns after that which land it right to the charanam. Thanks DM for uploading a good version of this song.


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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Sun Apr 24, 2016 4:41 pm

Nilavu Suduvathillai (Tamil 1984) was never a film that I have heard of, till Navin posted the BGM of this film. If I recall correctly, he had posted the title score of this movie. 

The score is horns dominated. There is more electric guitar and horns (trumpets, trombones) int he initial part and is also pretty fast faced. Perhaps the film called for such a score. Our focus is on the harmony that is nicely interlaced with these horns and its fast pace. This is not easy as violins, used improperly just with a classical mindset with slow things down making it into a boring score overall. Raja has a few of those to be fair. However, in this case, the arrangement works very well. The recording quality (no criticism of Navin) is average as the source quality may be suspect.

Hear the arrangement from :38 to 1:00 in the clip, where the harmony is handed down by the guitar play prior to it. This is a nice harmony with violins, synthesizer and flute not reducing the pace of the score. The horns take over after 1:01. Between 1:44 and the end of the track, (1:53) the harmony takes over the score again. I wish the recording quality is better to showcase such work...

https://soundcloud.com/navinmozart/illayaraja-nilavusuduvathillai

You need a decent headphones to hear the work over the scratches...

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:23 pm

ravinat wrote:According to Wikipedia, 'Mugam' is a film released in 1999 in Tamil and Telugu. I have no idea about this film and I am sure many others are in the same boat. Obscure for sure.
Yeah. If my memory serves me right, Sun TV, the then premier TV channel, premiered the film on TV barely a week after the film released (and was on its way out of the theater almost immediately). The film was written by Sujatha methinks and was about a man with a horribly disfigured face who gets a chance to act, which fails miserably. He gets his face redone through surgery and becomes a superstar and tries hiding his past till it comes back to haunt him. I was too young to evaluate the film then and I think the film is now lost for good (heard from Navin on FB that the film's reels have been lost). But the film's premise is different. But even then, this score is wayyyy over the top for any mainstream Indian film. Your description captures it precisely. This is beyond Indian cinema. This belongs to Symphony Halls.

Good writeup on Nilavu Suduvadhillai too. Violinvicky did a great piece on an even more obscure part of the film's BGM.



His description perfectly captures the essence of Raaja's genius.

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  Usha on Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:51 am

Ilaiyaraja songs.. sila samayam..Videovil Audio quality nalla irukum..........

kanavariso

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCudKKXd7Rk

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  ravinat on Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:31 pm

‘Poovarasan’ was a 199x Tamil movie in the twilight years of Karthik as a hero. Needless to say, the film was an obscure one. There are two songs in the movie that are worth discussing from a harmony perspective.

‘Indha Poovukkoru Arasan’ is a duet by Balu and Chithra. Nice melody that Balu carries on his broad shoulders. The youtube video is so bad that I decided not to elaborate the harmony arrangements of this song. I searched all the usual sources and could not find a decent sounding version. If someone can point me to a good audio source, I will update this post and point it to that source.

‘Rasathi Rasathi’ is a nice duet by Balu and Chithra again. I could not find a source at all for this song. However, I have used this song to demonstrate how Raja is traditional and modern at the same time in my Techno baroque series and so I decided to point to my blog’s source instead of giving up on this obscure film.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vg64jlzhcrhl2sp/Rasathi%20Rasathi.mp3?dl=0

Harmony passage 1 : 0:01 to 0:10 – A synthesized violin starts off only to be joined by real ones playing a nice harmony for the first 10 seconds.

Harmony passage 2 : 0:11 to 0:27 – The violins continue and two more parts get added – piano (played with a synthesizer) and the bass. Pay attention to the singing bass lines. I get so annoyed with some Raja fans who would quote a 80s song with the singing bass and praise it sky high and dismiss this as ‘synth’. It does not matter which voices fill a harmony; it is still a good one technically, and in this case, melodically too. The entire 16 seconds of harmony that you hear has all the four parts ('painstakingly' would be a mistake for the guy who considers everything as a walk in the park) written carefully.

Harmony passage 3: 0:56 to 1:01 – The bass lines are intact, and Raja adds three more flavors to it – tremolo violins (yes, you read it correct), synthesized tone and a real flute. BTW, there are several other compositions where Raja throws short tremolo strings as another walk in the park. Example, Kadha Pola Thonum from Veera Thaalaatu, or Kaatula Kamban kaatula from Raajakumaran.  Show me one composer who would take so much care for 5 seconds of harmony – I will sign up today!

There are other passages within these interludes that are repeatedly used, but I do not want to keep repeating. This was a time that Raja was criticized for not getting his experiments with synthesizers right. If only folks paid attention to the harmony passages written with the modern synthesizer in mind, they would not make such fleeting comments. Raja went on to use his ideas more successfully in Malayalam as a result. His work in ‘Oru Yathra Mozhi’ was spectacular that was appreciated in Kerala, unlike his Tamil listeners.

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Re: Intricate harmonies in obscure films/songs

Post  Usha on Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:49 pm

ravinat,

intricate harmonies.... idhae theriyadhae yarukum.. apo edhuku Obsure nu solli limit panreenga..........

poovukoru arasan poovarasan.. indha youtube il sound nalla iruku enaku...........

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH3Luy0dzoI

rasathi rasathi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os3IgGkSE-k

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