Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:18 am

fring151 wrote:I will admit I am not really familiar with many of the names he throws around, but hey!, being an Indian, all you need to do to lend credence to your opinion while bashing Ilayaraja is to bring up posh or exotic sounding names like Sir Neville Mariner or Rafal Blechcz (who are not even composers btw according to their wiki pages) or Gustavo Dudamel (who I have heard of) and compare him unfavourably with said personality. The less pseudo-intellectual ones bring up Hans Zimmer, Michael Jackson or ABBA, the more elitist invoke Beethoven and the most high class snobs have a penchant for name quoting the most obscure personalities, probably not held in such high regard even by their own fans and in their own countries.

Forget IR, I consider ARR, the 90s creator to be far superior to any of the above names except Beethoven.
I did not like Hans Zimmer's BGM in Lion King or Dark Knight/Dark Knight Rises.  But I did like his work in Sherlock Holmes.  He seems to have a penchant for bombast, esp DKR was thalavali for me.  I am sure he is a well trained musician and won't knock his credentials but I prefer John Williams.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:35 am

fring151 wrote:And reading some of his other rants on Ilayaraja and Indian music in general, it is clear his belief seems to be that a knowledge of music alone does not make one a great musician and one must be well read in philosophy and literature, besides being articulate. Fair argument, and an interesting perspective I concede. And he tries to extrapolate this to other fields by giving the example of Leibniz and Newton, who he claims were well read in philosophy and literature (also gives references), but there have been so many great mathematicians who were completely and utterly dedicated to science and did little else (Gauss, Ramanujan, Paul Erdos, for example). I am sorry, selective examples to bolster one's argument and glossing over counter-examples is not very scientific.

P.S: Let me also stress that people like him are much much better than the Kaarigans and Amudhavans (KA) of the world and worth engaging in debate with as they genuinely have an interesting contrarian perspective to offer. While extreme and snobbish, it definitely has more intellectual merit than the idiotic posts of KA or the oscar grammy arguments of ARRtards.
It is an interesting argument which he made but it does not acknowledge that a person may have a philosophical worldview without delving deeply into empirical philosophical sources like our Upanishads or Aristotle, Bacon or Kant in the West.  I believe a patient reading of Mahabharatha can also provide a rich philosophical outlook to a person.  I do not know if Ilayaraja has read it but I would be very surprised if he hasn't because he is well versed in literature and religious scriptures. In another article, the writer has talked about Bob Dylan.  I am not aware of any direct philosophical influence in Dylan's work, he seems to have been more influenced by folk songwriters generally.  And I am not sure there has been a more thought provoking lyricist in the last 40 or so years of Western music.   I am sure Roger Waters knows his Orwell well but if he wanted to hand down the work of Nietzsche, it is not evident in his lyrics.  Rather, only a very British outlook informs his thoughts.  My point is a philosophical outlook might be developed from one's own observations about life and couching it in academic terms is not an essential condition to call it art.   

Another thing:  the last time a philosophy influenced a political ideology was communism/progressivism and we know how it ended.  The writer himself has paid tribute to Thatcher and Reagan and condemned the damage progressivism brought to UK and USA.  But progressivism was driven by ideology and based on a philosophical outlook that upheld equality and dignity for another man's life.  If the govt was going to say every man to himself and condemn the impoverished to beg on the streets, that was already happening in pre-French Revolution days, nothing new.  So what is the practical feasibility of a philosophical ideology is itself questionable.  

I do feel that Indian arts need to discuss social issues rather than fuelling an escapist mindset.  But that is not Ilayaraja's fault.  He can only compose music for the films he is commissioned as per the director's requirements.  When he tries to provide an empirical, academic framework for his breakthrough work in fusion, people like this writer claim that fusion is not an original idea and was invented by Ravi Shankar without grasping the significance of blending Carnatic ragas with counterpoint. If it is only within 'the boundaries of Tamil music', it is THE Tamil music that IR shaped of his own without precedent.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:23 am

CK,

Read your comment. Well argued. Also, the first point on Bharathi. He did use the lyrics of Pulamaipithan for Edhilum Ingu Irupaan Avan Yaaro (excellent lyrics) and Mu Metha for Mayil Pola Ponnu Onnu. Other songs were Bharathi's. He may miss your point on the excellent music for other songs and bring up these. But what he is missing is (and completely at that) films are a creative medium and who is stop a creator from using what he feels will service the narrative? They were faithful to Bharathi's life in a film on him and that is all that counts, unless they were going for an artistic interpretation of his life (like GV Iyer tried with Adi Sankaracharya). To say he was arrogant because he used someone's else's lyrics is pure bullshit. And Pulamaipithan and Mu Metha aren't exactly third rate film lyricists. In his eagerness to paint an arrogance to IR, he trashes these gentlemen and I'm sure he wouldn't know who they are or what their work is.


Last edited by Drunkenmunk on Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:52 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:29 am

Yeah...I know that he used two other lyricists but the title credits prominently list Mahakavi Subramaniam Bharathi's name first among the lyricists.  Razz A plain reading of the author's sentence by someone who does not know about Bharathiyar's work might assume that Nallathor Veenai is by a third rate lyricist.  If he does want to argue that using Pithan's lyrics was a crassy choice, he needs to be specific.   The implication that Ilayaraja has not bothered to immerse himself in Bharathiyar's work is absurd but I am not touching matters of opinion.  I just want people who argue loftily about philosophy to remain somewhat connected to facts.  Notwithstanding Einstein's theory of relativity, the mundane, everyday world still relies on facts and logic to a large extent and dispensing with them would make the whole point of writing and responding to an argument null and void.

P.S:  So he has finally accepted the comment.  Good, now let me see what he has to say by way of justification.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:46 am

The one about Ravi Shankar got my goat, to use the English expression.   It is like saying that since Joseph Haydn is the father of the symphony, Beethoven or Mahler's symphonies are not particularly original.  Ravi Shankar is also only the grand daddy of Indo-Western fusion.  Fusion as an idiom wherein Western and ethnic music are combined dates back at least to Dvorak.  Stravinsky's Rite of Spring could also be said to be fusion.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  fring151 on Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:25 am

crimson king wrote:The one about Ravi Shankar got my goat, to use the English expression.   It is like saying that since Joseph Haydn is the father of the symphony, Beethoven or Mahler's symphonies are not particularly original.  Ravi Shankar is also only the grand daddy of Indo-Western fusion.  Fusion as an idiom wherein Western and ethnic music are combined dates back at least to Dvorak.  Stravinsky's Rite of Spring could also be said to be fusion.
Lol. Good point. He will have particular difficulty evading or answering that question. Razz , though I am pretty sure he will manage to come up with something for the 1st and 3rd points.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:31 am

I have further questions ready for all three points, depending on his answers, if any.  IR has so many non-tabla based, chord based songs which rank among his classics that that generalisation is just a piece of rubbish.  As ostensibly a much bigger fan of IR than him, I have not heard all of IR's songs so I am sure he hasn't either (it probably isn't humanly possible).  So it is just a lazy and poorly phrased opinion.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  fring151 on Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:50 am

Ya, there are literally dozens and dozens of classic drums-chords based classics like Mandram vandha (which also has an absolutely brilliant trumpet accompanying the vocals in harmony) etc etc, so many mridangam based ones like Poo malarnthida, kalaivaaniye, conga/bongos based like En iniya pon nilaave. And more often than not, even in the vocal stanzas, the string section and flute are playing in harmony or call-response or even counterpoint at times etc etc..and of course the ubiquitous rhythm and bass guitar (at least in the 80s phase). Very lazy generalization simply thrown in to convince himself (it seems like).

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:56 am

Kaatrai Konjam as I mentioned in the other thread is so 'busy' in that sense, the instruments interjecting and interacting with the vocal melody all the time.  But in another article of his, he has already decided that Raja is a has been so he has probably never bothered to hear that song.  Razz  NEP is a great 'counterpoint' to his statement:  every song is non tabla based and chord based.

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Tabla holding the melody

Post  MH on Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:50 am

I think the blogger could have made this statement of only tabla holding the melody because his ears has filtered the amazing basslines and strings.:)Atleast i cant think of a IR song without the harmonies.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:01 pm

Easwar wrote:I think the blogger could have made this statement of only tabla holding the melody because his ears has filtered the amazing basslines and strings.:)Atleast i cant think of a IR song without the harmonies.
Ditto, though I think IR can often underplay harmony in the more rural or Carnatic based tracks.  But that is just one side of his aspect and if the blogger really thinks that is "most IR songs" then he is falling for the gramathu Raja myth.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  fring151 on Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:50 am

crimson king wrote:
Easwar wrote:I think the blogger could have made this statement of only tabla holding the melody because his ears has filtered the amazing basslines and strings.:)Atleast i cant think of a IR song without the harmonies.
Ditto, though I think IR can often underplay harmony in the more rural or Carnatic based tracks.  But that is just one side of his aspect and if the blogger really thinks that is "most IR songs" then he is falling for the gramathu Raja myth.
Precisely. I was just listening to "Vetti veru vAsam' today. Granted, it is a tabla based song with almost no harmony when the verses are sung, but what a beauty it is nonetheless - hardly a case of "wonderful music for just the prelude and interlude with the tabla holding up the melody for the most part when verses are sung."

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  ravinat on Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:58 pm

I happen to read some of the comments in this thread and I think, collectively we are not seeing the elephant in the room. Here is my line in the sand after several years of Raja analysis, as the Raja legacy:

1.  He is a guitarist, which is an instrument that drives discipline in music work due to its very nature - discrete notes.
2.  He is a Western Classical Musician first and everything else only after that
3.  He does not do fusion as he never mixes two things. As he said once, he sees one system of music inside another

Apply these first principles and every part of his (hundreds of) experiment(s) will come alive. Let's not get carried away by triviality such as tabla based rhythm or folk (he never does pure folk anyway). BTW, tabla offers much more complex rhythm patterns than all those modern drum machines and synthpads (ten fingers can work wonders faster than two hands and two legs). I started researching tabla rhythm patterns and it sent my head spinning!

If only anybody can figure out how to seamlessly harmonize ICM like Raja, (because he sees one inside another), he/she will be his true successor. I do not see anybody till date who can even try to pretend that they can.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:07 pm

ravinat wrote:1.  He is a guitarist, which is an instrument that drives discipline in music work due to its very nature - discrete notes.
2.  He is a Western Classical Musician first and everything else only after that
3.  He does not do fusion as he never mixes two things. As he said once, he sees one system of music inside another

Apply these first principles and every part of his (hundreds of) experiment(s) will come alive. Let's not get carried away by triviality such as tabla based rhythm or folk (he never does pure folk anyway). BTW, tabla offers much more complex rhythm patterns than all those modern drum machines and synthpads (ten fingers can work wonders faster than two hands and two legs). I started researching tabla rhythm patterns and it sent my head spinning!

If only anybody can figure out how to seamlessly harmonize ICM like Raja, (because he sees one inside another), he/she will be his true successor. I do not see anybody till date who can even try to pretend that they can.
Could you please elaborate on point 1?  I am curious as to how, musically, a guitar drives discipline.  I have seen many guitarists resort to shred for shred's sake Razz , so all the more reason I want to hear more about your perspective.

I completely agree on point 3 with regard to the way IR sees it (based on what he has said in interviews).  However for classification purposes, I can see why IR's work, esp How to Name It and Nothing But Wind, are often classified as fusion.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  ravinat on Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:42 pm

crimson king wrote:
ravinat wrote:1.  He is a guitarist, which is an instrument that drives discipline in music work due to its very nature - discrete notes.
2.  He is a Western Classical Musician first and everything else only after that
3.  He does not do fusion as he never mixes two things. As he said once, he sees one system of music inside another

Apply these first principles and every part of his (hundreds of) experiment(s) will come alive. Let's not get carried away by triviality such as tabla based rhythm or folk (he never does pure folk anyway). BTW, tabla offers much more complex rhythm patterns than all those modern drum machines and synthpads (ten fingers can work wonders faster than two hands and two legs). I started researching tabla rhythm patterns and it sent my head spinning!

If only anybody can figure out how to seamlessly harmonize ICM like Raja, (because he sees one inside another), he/she will be his true successor. I do not see anybody till date who can even try to pretend that they can.
Could you please elaborate on point 1?  I am curious as to how, musically, a guitar drives discipline.  I have seen many guitarists resort to shred for shred's sake Razz , so all the more reason I want to hear more about your perspective.

I completely agree on point 3 with regard to the way IR sees it (based on what he has said in interviews).  However for classification purposes, I can see why IR's work, esp How to Name It and Nothing But Wind, are often classified as fusion.
CK

   Good question. On reflection, you are right, discipline has nothing to do with any instrument, but with the man.

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Re: Ilayaraja's How To Name It.

Post  crimson king on Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:47 pm

Yeah...in Western terms, Ilayaraja combines the discipline and depth of song writing of a George Gershwin with the frightening creativity and flair of a Jimi Hendrix.  That IS a rare combination because extremely talented/virtuosic musicians often get carried away.

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