Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  kiru on Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:44 am

Yes, good example .. actually my software player started playing kamagni songs after the OA tracks. I could see the same kind of contrapuntal arrangements. But my feeling is, these days, IR's orchestration 'sounds'  more 'westernized" than it was earlier. Maybe it is the instrumentalists or recording to be credited for. @Ravi - what is your take on this ?

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  crimson king on Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:14 pm

The BGM tracks sound great but I really want to watch the film just for the whole BGM now.  It would obviously give me a better idea of what IR was trying to convey in these tracks.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  ravinat on Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:32 pm

kiru wrote:Yes, good example .. actually my software player started playing kamagni songs after the OA tracks. I could see the same kind of contrapuntal arrangements. But my feeling is, these days, IR's orchestration 'sounds'  more 'westernized" than it was earlier. Maybe it is the instrumentalists or recording to be credited for. @Ravi - what is your take on this ?
Kiru

  There is a distinct violin sound when the BSO plays for Raja - it was clear from the days of 'Guru' and you will also notice it in 'Hey Ram'. It is hard for me to put my finger on where the difference is. While recording techniques can help, there are certain ways in which the violin itself is played (I wish I were a violinist to describe this in greater detail) that makes the lasting impact. I am surprised at the JW level quality of OA. This is noticeable with the glides and the volume levels (you need to play with these two factors among a few dozen violins to get to perfection). This is what you have termed as 'westernized'. Either Raja has trained his crew or he has used BSO, I am not so sure.

  I normally do not jump into the fray when a new album is released. However, I could clearly hear a very major advance in the sound and the musicality in the album that drove me to do a detailed review. This advance is not trivial and it takes either a super trained orchestra or a super conductor to make this happen. Sadly, such things do not get noticed in Raja's land Crying or Very sad

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  kiru on Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:24 pm

Thanks Ravi, I have been posting in tfmpage and here for more than 15 years. I have never been this prolific in my posts and excited about IR's music as much. As they say, we are living in "interesting times". 
One more thing for you to expound on - IR vis-a-vis JW from % of counterpoint POV. I have a feeling that writing counterpoints is not easy even for people born/trained in the West. It is like a "programming" skill that a programmer in India can excel in a language/technology invented in the US. Eager to hear your take.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  ravinat on Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:47 pm

kiru wrote:Thanks Ravi, I have been posting in tfmpage and here for more than 15 years. I have never been this prolific in my posts and excited about IR's music as much. As they say, we are living in "interesting times". 
One more thing for you to expound on - IR vis-a-vis JW from % of counterpoint POV. I have a feeling that writing counterpoints is not easy even for people born/trained in the West. It is like a "programming" skill that a programmer in India can excel in a language/technology invented in the US. Eager to hear your take.
Kiru

   If you look at all the films that I initially said were top Raja BGMs that I like, they were all after 1994. This is supposed to be the widely believed 'post golden' era of Raja. Nothing can be more stupid than the golden era definition. When I heard 'Guru' in 2008, I cursed myself for not hearing it when it was created. While I can fully understand people getting tired of a composer's songs, I am still not convinced why his BGM also went unnoticed. Why did it take till 2011 to award him for his BGM work?

  I have followed JW closely and he is more of a harmony composer than a contrapuntal composer. However, I will try and do a comparison after hearing one more time some of his top work in Jaws, Ashes of Angela, Seven Years in Tibet, ET, Jurassic Park, War Horse, Raiders of the Last Ark, Adventures of Tin Tin, Jaws etc. He also has a lot of Wagner influence especially in his scores of ROTLA. ET, Close Encounters.

  My interest in orchestration and even hearing Western composers emerged from one person: Raja. Otherwise, I may be listening to some electronic junk motivated by the copycat composers of India. This is why I got very upset with the AR comment about 'picking up' WCM. Picking up a score such as OA - your fingers will hurt and break if someone tries. This has come through 5 decades of focused improvement not withstanding the genius that Raja is.

  My next series of posts I plan to write in my blog is what I call - 'Connection of the decades'. How Raja, takes a particular musical idea and enhances it over the decades. For example, from 'Alaigale Vaa Avarudan' to 'Satru Munbu'. The first one was a crude attempt, but the last one is a super fine refinement. He has gone through several steps in between. Unfortunately, none of the composers have the luxury of this long journey, nor the genius and perseverance.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  jaiganesh on Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:05 pm

Superb ravi!! superb!!
This music literally drowned my entire weekend and I am in no mood to come out of this music.
In WCM, it is not all about symphonic score for 100 piece orchestra, most of the pieces are 
movements written for specific sections. So you are more likely to find scores written for strings, woodwinds
, brass etc., Maestro understands that Mysskin's story is a single toned story - tone of redemption - evil walking over 
to the human side, and what better to reflect this tone than strings and woodwinds? so we have rarest of rare  -a 
movement written for strings by the one and only Indian MAESTRO - IlaiyaRaaja. And what a mood these movements create?
The single violin represents the soul which is awash in the growls and anger of the cello in the darker pieces and as the movements play 
on, the solo violin cries its hearts out - The piano keys establish the melodic line and a rudimentary rhythm.
When the woodwinds play (i could hear two of them playing with a discernible time lag to create an effect) in bass - the redemption is 
total - ears are cleaned of all the synthetic muck that clog them in the non-stop cheap assault that we suffer in this day and age in the name of 'trend'.
This is a cathartic sountrack - a throwback to Nothing but wind and Howto name it (minus a fusion) - pure music.. As Ravi says - if the recent soundtracks 
filled a Raaja fan with vigour and zest, this one is bound to make us all (raaja fans or not) PROUD.. RAAJAADaa.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  kiru on Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:03 pm

Thanks for the reply, Ravi. Good to hear your learned and serious corroborations versus my arm chair conjectures. 
I am sure you are busy at work, but I am eagerly looking forward to your "Connections" article/concept.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  jaiganesh on Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:05 pm

The counter melody that cellos drive in the pieces are equally enchanting in this score..

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  fring151 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:10 am

kiru wrote:One more thing for you to expound on - IR vis-a-vis JW from % of counterpoint POV. I have a feeling that writing counterpoints is not easy even for people born/trained in the West. It is like a "programming" skill that a programmer in India can excel in a language/technology invented in the US. Eager to hear your take.
I am not sure about John Williams as I have not heard his works as extensively as Ravinat, but in general, contrapuntal music is not something that finds favour with today's western audience either. It is not common in 20th century western music and not widely prevalent in the classical and romantic eras either. 

I am no expert, but my understanding is this - While any reasonably good and trained  composer might be able to write counterpoint (at least species counterpoint) that is technically correct, it is easy to get lost in the technicalities. The challenge really is in composing independent lines that are equally interesting and also click in the emotional appeal department for the wider audience. Now, it is all well for us to only look at the artistic side of things, but this commercial/popularity aspect is equally important, particularly in today's context. So in that sense it is a risk for the composer and it is not a surprise that most don't usually attempt polyphonic music.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  kiru on Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:35 am

@fring - you may be right. I think it is probably a dilution of the heights classical music reached one point in time in Europe. I dont know. But let me give you an analogy. Imagine, somebody singing a indian classical composition with out much gamakams. How will that sound ? Sort of "empty" or "hollow". That is they way a WCM sounds to me my ears without any counterpoints. Maybe all that I am referring to is not really counterpoints, but some sort of "complexity" (Hoping Ravi will understand my predicament).  When I listened to JW and IR back to back for just a few minutes, the OA tracks sounded "more complex". That is why I asked Ravi.
It is true olden days they used an orchestra,just to create more "volume" of sound. But I think, that is from where they evolved into using parts of the orchestra to play different things. Anyways, many of you guys listen to and know more music than I do. It is better I dont conjecture anymore :-)
@Jai - I am beginning to get into the tracks with more cello. I understand now why Ravi likened it to Omen. The cellos do sound ominous.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  fring151 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:54 am

@kiru: Hmmm I understand what you mean. You are probably speaking of harmony and counterpoint in the same breadth. The different parts of the orchestra do not usually play different melodies, it is mostly three or four part harmony arranged in interesting ways. For counterpoint, there must exist distinct, independent melodic lines - there are rules to be followed for composing in this way - No parallel fifths and no parallel octaves, for example are the most basic requirements for maintaining independence..invertible counterpoint is the most difficult because there are more restrictions. 

Anyway, my point is that most of western classical music of the classical period onwards is pre-occupied with harmony and melodic development rather than counterpoint. So the baroque wcm IR does is by no means common place today in the west.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  kiru on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:11 am

fring151 wrote:@kiru: Hmmm I understand what you mean. You are probably speaking of harmony and counterpoint in the same breadth. The different parts of the orchestra do not usually play different melodies, it is mostly three or four part harmony arranged in interesting ways. For counterpoint, there must exist distinct, independent melodic lines - there are rules to be followed for composing in this way - No parallel fifths and no parallel octaves, for example are the most basic requirements for maintaining independence..invertible counterpoint is the most difficult because there are more restrictions. 

Anyway, my point is that most of western classical music of the classical period onwards is pre-occupied with harmony and melodic development rather than counterpoint. So the baroque wcm IR does is by no means common place today in the west.
Fring - I do know the differences at a high level. (Actually, I think counterpoint itself is considered a kind of harmony) .. that is why Ravi promptly mentioned JW is a more harmony oriented  composer, which was my suspicion but I wanted to hear from more technical person. I perceive harmony as "straight" where as "counterpoints" as "criss-cross".  Just plain harmony does not seem to excite me. OA tracks are pretty  contrapuntal, I think. Maybe, we can post it in soundcloud and annotate it there.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  kiru on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:35 am

Just one more thing, I dont know why you say IR is doing baroque music. ( I dont think IR's intention is that. He probably will say, I am doing "film" music Smile-)  Maybe because Bach's time is called Baroque period and that is when counterpoints flourished. I think IR does not care, who or when that technique was used. He just likes it. He just wants to use it to amuse us, that is all. He has been writing "linear" tunes a lot, he can even harmonize it. That is what note will be in harmony with the other, but to create a harmony with "disharmony" (counterpoints) would be a challenge isn't it. Yes, at a conceptual level, I am completely bought into IR's paradigm/format. Even though I hang out here to know the details, I am able to pretty much enjoy all his stuff. I still miss the time change, grahabedham, etc. or if it is a rare raagam.
Note, IR himself does not do these sort of stuff all the time. Actually, in the context of TIS, he quipped in private conversations, he could write more complex WCM, if he wanted to show off. Looks like it was not just bluster. In OA, he proves it. I think more such pieces are coming from him. He has pulled out all the stops.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  ravinat on Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:49 pm

Lots of good discussions here. Let me respond to a number of points here.

1.  Fring is correct in his definition of counterpoints. However, as he says, the issue is one of risk for most Western composers. Counter points have the inherent risk of turning a harmony into a cacophony if it is not in the right hands. Most Western composers tend to avoid it. It is also not considered 'modern' in the West other than in 'philharmonic' circles. When you hear Classical radios in the West, in a baritone voice, they announce how an orchestra is performing a minuet or a Adagio movement in a particular scale such as E Minor. Only after the piece is played, they announce, at times, how the composition was packed with several counter melodies (most times, they move on to a commercial!). Even the Westerners like the Hans Zimmer type pounding scores (Da Vinci Code, Inception). JW has fewer films and War Horse was a film he did after 7 years with Spielberg.  When I heard the scores of Tin Tin by JW, you can see his playful side. Raja did a film called 'Inimael Naangathaan', an animation film, for which some organization rewarded him. I was the lone guy, who shouted at the roof top on this achievement in the yahoo groups and went on to explain the challenges of scoring music for animation. Speaking of animation, Michael Giacchino did some fantastic music for 'Up', which I reviewed in 'Solvanam', a few years ago (http://solvanam.com/?p=7087). Randy Newman is also another fantastic animation composer. 'Up' has some fantastic harmony parts.

2. Counterpoint is part of Baroque music but baroque music is more than that. For instance, fugue is a baroque idea of Bach and it is even more rare in today's Western film music. It's easy to look for fugue within Raja's music than any contemporary Western composer. Raja has done a number of flute sonatas honoring Bach in his film music. I think Vicky did a post on that. Baroque music is a number of things and most of them are centered on melody and its ornamentation

3. Harmony is several voices being played at the same time; counter point is several melodies playing at the same time

4. On my way to work, today I heard two JW tracks - 1) Star Wars title track. This is a heavily Wagner style composition filled with horns. However, there are three movements within the 5 minutes and some parts are contrapuntal. This is not very common with JW's music. 2) I was alone in America - Angela's Ashes. This is pure harmony and when you hear this, you can see parallel to Raja's OA. You can get JW's top BGMs on Amazon or iTunes.

5. I also have my own pet theories on Raja's counter melodies. I have trained my ears to the point that I can predict to almost 80% of the time that Raja is going to follow something with a CP. He keeps one of the melodies very simple and repetitive. When you hear such a simple melody played with any instrument, chances are 80% to be followed by a counter melody. Raja's trick is that 80% of the times, they work. Our janta also like his counter melodies when one of his melodies is ICM. He has the knack of harmonizing that ICM melody somehow.  He has got to a point that he does it unconsciously.

6. You do not need complexity always to make a score good; mostly, it works against you. Most of today's composers tend to avoid complexity as they do not know how to manage it in both orchestration and main melody. However, harmony itself is very powerful, when used right. Almost every composer today is trained on harmony and as GA said once, somehow they sound out of the world when his brother does it.

7. Very rarely harmony alone succeeds in the Indian context; it's almost like pure Indian/African music succeeding in American films. The harmony arrangement needs to be camouflaged cleverly under something 'Indian'. That's the only chance of acceptance by Indian janta. Raja used heavy doses of ICM, C&R, harmonies, choir, folk in the right mixture and that's how he succeeded in the 80s. More on this, in my concluding blog posts on C&R that I am doing with some real data to support my theories. I will post some of my final analysis results here for critical review

8. Lastly, OA has some pure Western harmony that I have not heard from Raja in a very long time. No percussion, no synthesizers, no kettle drums. This is background music at its best. It does not get any better, anywhere. The crown jewel is that this has been composed in 3 days, according to Rajiv. We have to seriously check how this guy is wired Very Happy

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  crimson king on Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:33 pm

Wrt the discussion on counterpoint, if you really like counterpoint/baroque, you might want to check out the music of Gentle Giant. IIRC guitarist Prasanna is fond of that band. Sadly not a whole lot of people are, as they are British and never had a hit single.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  fring151 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:32 pm

ravinat wrote:
5. I also have my own pet theories on Raja's counter melodies. I have trained my ears to the point that I can predict to almost 80% of the time that Raja is going to follow something with a CP. He keeps one of the melodies very simple and repetitive. When you hear such a simple melody played with any instrument, chances are 80% to be followed by a counter melody. Raja's trick is that 80% of the times, they work. Our janta also like his counter melodies when one of his melodies is ICM. He has the knack of harmonizing that ICM melody somehow.  He has got to a point that he does it unconsciously.

8. Lastly, OA has some pure Western harmony that I have not heard from Raja in a very long time. No percussion, no synthesizers, no kettle drums. This is background music at its best. It does not get any better, anywhere. The crown jewel is that this has been composed in 3 days, according to Rajiv. We have to seriously check how this guy is wired Very Happy
On 8 - Excellent point. That was what struck me instantly.

On 5 - Again, good observation. Drunkenmunk and I discussed this is in another thread too - How he progressively adds layers, one on top of another. But I do believe his approach to counterpoint in the BGMs is different. There they often just seem to jump at you from nowhere and catch you complete unprepared like that idhu namma bhumi bgm I linked here and even parts of OA.


Last edited by fring151 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:26 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  Drunkenmunk on Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:15 pm

ravinat wrote:Raja did a film called 'Inimael Naangathaan', an animation film, for which some organization rewarded him. I was the lone guy, who shouted at the roof top on this achievement in the yahoo groups and went on to explain the challenges of scoring music for animation. 
He also did another score for Pandavas, an animation flick on Mahabharatha, produced by Dream Media IIRC. It had some outstanding score too. I love the BGM that plays when Arjuna, as a villager, hits the fish's eye and wins Draupadi. It is pure contrapuntal WCM-Tamil folk. Gives life to a doll-like animation just like that.


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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  fring151 on Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:11 am

crimson king wrote:Wrt the discussion on counterpoint, if you really like counterpoint/baroque, you might want to check out the music of Gentle Giant. IIRC guitarist Prasanna is fond of that band. Sadly not a whole lot of people are, as they are British and never had a hit single.
Checked out their fugue and a couple of other songs. Pretty cool. The fugue is very interesting, the starting clearly inspired by one of Bach's fugues. Sad that many such bands don't make it big. It is quite a tricky balance, the one between musical complexity and mainstream popularity. In my opinion, a gift for melody gives an artist more leeway to experiment.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  crimson king on Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:28 am

Yes, they were probably a bit too dissonant for mainstream tastes.  And the vocals probably didn't help either.  Even in the West, immediate impressions of music with vocals are informed first by the quality of the vocals and can be a deal breaker.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  kiru on Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:26 am

Ravi, Awesome.. thanks for the refresher course. I guess, for me, it is now a matter of practice, in the sense, can I identify a counterpoint from a straight harmony in an actual track. I think 'Walk thru' starts with harmony till 50s, then it seems to contrapuntal till 1:06 .. then the stacccato violins/violas back the main melody .. this must be harmony .. then close to 2.00 sec it gets contrapuntal. Not sure, what the cello does .. just adding "body" ..from 3.00 it gets totally awesome..
Maybe it is just not the coutnerpoints, it is the "westernized harmony" that Ravi is referring to I am reacting to .. 
Also, in SomebodyLovesUsAll.. is the cello in counterpoint with the solo violin till 1:55 ?
@Drunkenmunk  - 2:20-2:30 ..Amen brotha   .. (you can hear that style in OA too)

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  ravinat on Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:36 pm

kiru wrote:Ravi, Awesome.. thanks for the refresher course. I guess, for me, it is now a matter of practice, in the sense, can I identify a counterpoint from a straight harmony in an actual track. I think 'Walk thru' starts with harmony till 50s, then it seems to contrapuntal till 1:06 .. then the stacccato violins/violas back the main melody .. this must be harmony .. then close to 2.00 sec it gets contrapuntal. Not sure, what the cello does .. just adding "body" ..from 3.00 it gets totally awesome..
Maybe it is just not the coutnerpoints, it is the "westernized harmony" that Ravi is referring to I am reacting to .. 
Also, in SomebodyLovesUsAll.. is the cello in counterpoint with the solo violin till 1:55 ?
@Drunkenmunk  - 2:20-2:30 ..Amen brotha   .. (you can hear that style in OA too)
Kiru

Walking through Life & Death - Technical walkthrough harmony & melody
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0:01 to 0:46 secs - The solo violin in the lead instrument with background violins playing in harmony
0:47 to 1:06 secs - An Oboe joins the party and plays its own melody and the background harmony continues - traditional contrapuntal arrangement
1:07 to 2:05 secs - There are multiple melodies going on. Melody 1 - The cello/double bass joins the composition, with the Oboe continuing its counter melody (melody2) . Pay attention to the designed 'silences' in between the Oboe parts. The composer has designed it that way. This could be a character that Raja saw while the visuals were played to him, that came and went. The backing harmony violins play the third melody. The foreground violins play the fourth melody. The only constant melody is the one from the harmony violins.
2:05 to 2:42 secs - Three melodies play here - A foreground high pitch violin group and a bunch of background harmony violins. The Oboe responds to the call from the foreground violins (the base melody is repeated twice by the violins for which the response is single from the Oboe). The background harmony continues in this foreground C&R. Beautiful!
2:43 to 3:15 secs - This is an extremely difficult arrangement with violins, double bass and cello. This is one of the finest pieces of work that I have seen from Raja in this whole album. The way the notes are written for these instruments gives you the impression of a rising and falling wave. This is the JW style that I have not noticed anyone doing. It is almost the ability to control the amplitude of sound as a wave by introducing low frequency instruments such as cello and double bass. Brilliant!
3:16 to 3:50 secs - These are slow harmony parts done with just violins that can be used for a narration that gives you the 'bird's eye view'. This is a common technique of many western film composers
3:51 to 4:28 secs - Fantastic counterpoint in piano. This is very effective as the tone selection makes it easy to follow both the melodies

I will do the others as I get time.

<Let the other composers go hide behind the heavy bass guitar and crazy drumming>

Nothing gets purer than this.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  V_S on Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:33 pm

Hats off Ravi for your valuable posts and analysis. kiru, I have never seen so frequent posts from you, thanks to Raja and NEPV, Megha and OAK. I've always liked your perspectives.
So nice to read all your posts, but I'd defer to comment until I see the movie, even though I have started listening to the score and amazed by the magnitude of quality.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  Drunkenmunk on Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:04 am

ravinat wrote:3:51 to 4:28 secs - Fantastic counterpoint in piano. This is very effective as the tone selection makes it easy to follow both the melodies
This part somehow leads me to Kadhal Oviyam Paadum Kaaviyam and does something to the insides.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  rajkumarc on Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:31 am

Ravi - Thanks a ton for your enlightening posts on the WCM techniques used cheers . Eagerly looking forward to your posts on the other tracks discussing them in detail.

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Re: Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (The wolf and the lamb) - Mysskin

Post  kiru on Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:45 am

Ravi.. thanks so much .. you dont know how much we appreciate your posts !!! We are all eyes and ears.. For a sangeetha gnana soonyam like me to get sucked into music like this .. tells so much about the power of this man's skill. Its No wonder, serious music is dedicated to the gods.. God not only gave us food to survive but gave us music to thrive on this planet...

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