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Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration

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Post  ravinat on Wed May 16, 2018 7:35 pm

Vizhiyil Oru Pudhiya Kavidhai Padithaen (Theertha Karaiyinile - Tamil 1987)

I heard this song this song again and noticed that something I missed earlier. This track has a number of instrument substitutions ( written for one instrument and replaced with another).



Substitution #1: 00:13 to 00:17 - A synthesizer replaces the Carnatic bit written for the veena
Substitution #2: 1:02 to 1:08 - Voices replace the melodic lines written for a bass guitar
Substitution #3: 2:36 to 2:41 - A synthesizer replaces the Carnatic bit written for the veena

When you hear the song in full, you will notice that Substitution #2 continues further into interlude 1. That's pretty innovative and experimental.

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Post  Drunkenmunk on Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:33 pm

https://twitter.com/_Drunkenmunk/status/1086681230710530048

Ravinat, has there ever been another song like this from him, or for that matter from anyone else?

I can remember an Aalapana song that starts with a swara and jadhi vocal counterpoint

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Post  ravinat on Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:13 am

I did cover this song as part of his ability to experiment  if I remember correctly in my blog. This song always blows me away...

http://geniusraja.blogspot.com/2008/11/isai-vignani-music-scientist.html

This is one my earlier posts when I started the blog in 2008.


The song Keeravani does use the same technique


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Post  ravinat on Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:51 pm

<Self plug>
Most of us relate music to classical forms, film music and so on. Never to advertisements or video games. Music has a greater reach with video games as the number of video game users repeatedly hear the music that is composed with the game more than the other forms. Also, most video gamers are young and they will grow up with this music.
In the last 40 years, electronics and software has invaded the instrument space and we have seen in the last two generations how traditional musicians have been replaced by synthesized sounds. In those technological developments, there was one type of musician who was spared - the composer.
With technology such as 'Deep Bach' or Google's Project Majenta, even the life of composers can come under sharp focus. Simple tasks done by composers have the potential of moving to an AI powered software. In this two part video, we will see how such AI impacts play out.
Project Majenta today has a plug in with Ableton, the AWS software. It is undergoing tests with several volunteers teaching the software how to compose music. At this time, it is at its infancy. However, AI based solutions require a lot of training data and a number of volunteers are willing to contribute to this training. Budding composers of today can have a huge challenge in front of them.

இசை என்றவுடன் நம்முடைய கர்னாடக இசை, அல்லது நாட்டுப்புற இசை மற்றும் திரை இசை நம் மனதில் தோன்றி மறைவது இயற்கை. இசையை நாம் விடியோ விளையாட்டுடனோ, விளம்பரத்துடனோ சேர்ந்து சிந்திப்பதில்லை. ஆனால், உலகில் விடியோ விளையாட்டுக்கள், சினிமா, பாரம்பரிய இசையை விட அதிகமாகப் பயன்படுத்துகிறது. $1 –க்கு நாம் வாங்கும் சைனா பொமையும் வாசிப்பது பீத்தோவன். 

ஸிந்தஸைசர்கள், சினிமா இசையில் 40 ஆண்டுகளாக பயன்படுத்தப் படுகிறது. AWS  கடந்த 25 ஆண்டுகளாக பல இசையமைப்பாளர்களாலும் பயன்படுத்தப்படுகிறது. இந்த எந்திரப் புரட்சி, பல இசைக் கலைஞர்களின் வாழ்வாதாரத்தையும் குலைத்ததை நாம் பார்த்டு வந்துள்ளோம்.

கடந்த 40 வருட தொழில்நுட்பத் தாக்கத்தில், தப்பித்தவர்கள் இசையமைப்பாளர்கள். இன்றைய Deep Bach மற்றும் Project Majenta, இசையமைப்பாளர்களின் நிலையையும் கேள்விக்குறியாகி விடுமோ?



மேலும் இந்தத் தொழில்நுட்பத்தைப் பற்றி அறிந்து கொள்ள:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU2ieu5o5DQ

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

https://magenta.tensorflow.org/

https://youtu.be/iTXU9Z0NYoU

</Self plug>

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Post  BC on Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:33 am

ravinat sir, A fan and a silent reader of your blog here.  Thank you for all your wonderful insights on IR's compositions.

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Post  ravinat on Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:48 am

<Another self plug>
திரைப்படப் பின்னணி இசையை ஒரு ரோபோவால் உருவாக்க முடியுமா? ரோபோ இளையராஜா சாத்தியமா? மனித உணர்வுகள் எந்திரங்களுக்கு எவ்வளவு புரியும்? மகிழ்ச்சி, சோகம், விரக்தி, கோபம், போன்ற உணர்வுகளுக்கு தனித்தனியாக ஒரு லைப்ரரி இருந்தால், இசையமைப்பாளர் தேவையா?

எதிர்கால சிறு படங்கள், சின்ன பட்ஜட் விளம்பரங்கள், மற்றும் ஆவணப்படங்களுக்கு இசையமைப்பாளர் தேவையா? ரோபோக்கள் இவ்வகை வாய்ப்புகளை பறித்துக் கொள்ளுமா?

இன்றைய திறன்பேசிகள் (smartphones) காமிராக்களை தோற்கடித்தது போல இசையையும் தோற்கடித்து விடுமா?

The key question that needs to be answered is this: 'Can AI replace a composer for small films, advertisements, or other small budget endeavors?' Music composition is a huge cost factor of a movie, only next to the star actors and directors. While animation has been the answer to star actors (and also star cinematographers) , the aspect of film direction is entirely human. This leaves only one aspect of films in the top budget tier - music composition.

However, the key aspect of music in films is background music that is human emotion, culture and region dependent. A typical sad sequence background score differs significantly between an American, Chinese or Indian film. While it is easy to think that we may have cheap alternatives to background scores using AI, it definitely cannot replace a John Williams or Ilayaraja or Michael Giachino or AR Rahman or Hans Zimmer. However, this means trouble for tier 2 or tier 3 composers of background scores as in low budget productions, one can easily fill the scene from a library of sound sequences that a AI based system can generate based on training data from thousands of human masters.

Think of it like Snapseed on a smartphone that makes your pictures look slightly better than the original shot. Snapseed does not replace Lightroom or Affinity, but has a role with millions of smartphone photographers. Lightroom/Affinity will remain with specialized photographers who know the art intimately. The equivalent of Snapseed int he AI music world is the scary part of this development. After all, there are a lot more Snapseed users than Lightroom users.




</End self plug>

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Post  ravinat on Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:58 pm

<Self plug>
எந்திரங்களைக் கண்டு அஞ்சுவது மனிதர்களுக்கு அழகல்ல. நாம் உருவாக்கும் எந்திரங்கள் நமக்கே தீங்கு விளைவிக்காமல் இருக்க நாம் தான் பொறுப்பு. எந்திரங்களோடு இன்றும் வாழ்கிறோம். என்ன, எதிர்காலத்தில், இன்னும் சற்று கூடுதலாக நம் வாழ்க்கையில் பங்களிப்போம். அவ்வளவுதான்.
இந்தப் பகுதியில், மூன்று புதிய செயற்கை நுண்ணறிவுப் பயன்பாடுகளை முன்வைக்கிறேன். இவை கல்வித்துறை,செய்தித் துறை மற்றும் இந்திய இசைத்துறையாகும்.
குறிப்பாக, என் பார்வையில் மனிதர்களால் அதிகம் புரிந்து கொள்ள முடியாத ஒரு இசை மேதை இளையராஜா. இவருடைய முக்கிய பங்களிப்புகளில் ஒன்று, இந்திய பண்ணிசையையும் , மேற்கத்திய பண்ணிசையையும் திறமையாக ஒன்றிணைப்பது. இதைச் சிலர் ஓரளவிற்கு செய்தாலும், இவரின் வல்லமை எவரிடமும் இல்லை. நல்ல வேளையாக ராஜா தன்னுடைய இசையை முழுவதும் மேற்கத்திய குறிப்புகளாய் எழுதுகிறார். ஒரு எந்திரத்தை, ராக வாரியாக ராஜாவின் harmony முறைகளைக் கற்பிக்க நாம் முயற்சிக்க வேண்டும். இதை நான் Deep Raja என்ற ஒரு ப்ராஜக்டாக செய்தால், இந்திய பண்ணிசை பரவ ஒரு பெரிய வாய்ப்பாக எதிர்காலத்தில் அமையும். அதாவது ஒரு மேற்கத்திய இசைக் கலைஞருக்கு ஒரு முக்கிய நுழைவாயிலாக Deep Raja உருவாக வேண்டும்.
This is the last video in this series on AI controversies. Fearing machines, though not very good, has been the way humans have reacted to new technology. Think of it, we do our day to day jobs with machines even today. The only difference is that machines will start playing a more meaningful role in the future and we need find ways to coexist with them successfully. That's all there is to it.
I have also proposed three applications of AI that needs to be fast forwarded as the benefits are huge. It is in the areas of education, news and Indian music.
There is no writing of mine that is complete without Ilayaraja. He is a living genius whose body of work has been analyzed, but not fully understood. It has been copied and with little success. His work on how he has beautifully amalgamated Western and Carnatic music will be a subject of several PhD thesis' on music from now on. However, we need a project such as 'Deep Raja' to get machines to figure out the multitude ways by which he has done this amalgamation. It is so seamless that when some other musician attempts such things, it always comes short. Why Ilayaraja for this type of work? The secret of AI is always how rich your training data set is. Machines learn faster with variations presented to it with a number of hyper parameters to tune the model. With Raja, volume is not an issue. Just like the Western world used Bach's chorales, we can attempt taking Raja's work on Indian ragas such as Keeravani, Natabhairavi , Hamsadhwani or Shankarabharanam as these have close Western cousin scales. As Raja has written sheet music for all his work, it is all the better as we can (theoretically. I know there are ownership, copyright issues in this) present his harmony variations by Raga to get the machines to understand how he harmonizes these ragas. While humans have failed to replicate this genius, who knows what the machines can decipher from the data? This will be the greatest service to Ilayaraja and carrying his legacy forward.

If you know TensorFlow, Theano or Keras, please come forward as that will be a requirement after the training dataset is created
.
</self plug>

ravinat

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Post  ravinat on Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:56 pm

I did not catch this earlier. The Hindu article on Raja's recent concert quotes my blog...

https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/music-and-memories-with-the-maverick-genius/article27749446.ece

<Quote>
The climax came when a team of music college girls came on stage to run the unusual composition, “Na Porandvandadu” from Maya Bazaar. Ravin, in his essay, “Raja The Genius” observes that the song is an orchestration nightmare. “You need the right voices, the right pitch, the right intervals and total coordination between the chorus singers. This is not something where you can mask errors under a heavy bass guitar or strings – there is only one option – perfection! Raja has not compromised in any way because of his use of just voices – the song has its interludes and the interludes are different from each other. In the charanam, the voices back the main melody. Raja uses laughter at the end of the track. The pitch of the laughter keeps swinging – goes a notch below and then a notch high and then a notch below. Those who understand conducting will know that getting these three phrases to perfection is a nightmare.” What they achieved on stage was immaculate, a stunning rendition.

<End Quote>

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Post  panniapurathar on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:35 am

Ravinat!  Congratulations!  A well deserved recognition of your hard work analyzing our Maestro!!

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Post  Usha on Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:58 pm

ravinat,
   
 indha post naanum padichen.. anal ravin nu sonnadhala. .. yarunu yosichen... 

unga blog padikaradhu vishayam ilai.. Endha paatuku enna solli irukeenga nu gavanichu., andha
pattai kaetkum podhu unga post nyabagam vandhadhu endral.. avarlgal dhan unga blogin unmaiyana
readers.. ivar andha type ..

Really Super.

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Post  ravinat on Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:41 am

This post must go into the 'Connectors' thread. I searched for it and could not locate it. I may have discussed this song in that thread. Please point out if I did and I will remove this post.


Araicha Santhanam - Chinna Thambi - 1989 - Tamil


This is one of the tracks that has complete focus on the singing and not much on the orchestration. You can see that the charanam has absolutely no strings backing. Looks like one of those quickly created tunes of Raja. 

However, observe the two connectors between the 1st and 2nd interlude to the charanam 1 and charanam 2. Raja takes a typical Indian track and uses harmony of violins and flute as the connector.

Connector 1: 1:18 to 1:23
Connector 2 : 2:52 to 2:57

Both these 5 second connectors are similar and uses full 4 part harmony as connectors. Very unusual usage within a folk melody.

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Post  Usha on Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:43 pm

ravinat,
indha link dhane neenga kaekaradhu?

idhil aracha sandhanam sollavillai. indha link.. idhil post pannunga...

https://ilayaraja.forumms.net/t297-incredible-connectors-of-ilayaraja

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Post  ravinat on Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:46 pm

Paakirappo Paakirappo – Tamizharasan 2020

While there are many staple western classical music techniques, it is the arrangement and the tonal color of a composition that makes a composition stands out. Raja has used this to his advantage for the past 5 decades and at this stage of his career he should not surprise anybody as he has a huge body of work. However, this is where he proves us all wrong and completely surprises us with a fantastic arrangement.
Before I start describing this brilliant track, I want you to go back to some of the brilliant Western chorus arrangements in the following songs:


  • 1.      Halli Lavaniyalli Laali (just the choir alone)
  • 2.      Alai Meedhu (Kadhal Kavidhai)
  • 3.      Kalalo Choosinadhi – Shambu (ignore the drumming)
  • 4.      Kalaiya Nizama – Coolie No. 1









Let's analyze this unique song in detail.

Harmony part 1 – 0:00 to 1:28

The way this chorus is arranged is very unique as it is setup as one part of the harmony. Listen to the charanam and the prelude:


  • 1.     The S part is the flute part
  • 2.     The A part is played by the female choir
  • 3.     The T part is the guitar part
  • 4.     The B is the bass part played by either the keyboard or the bass guitar






When the charanam is sang, it is filling the A part of the harmony. The way the melody is built is outstanding as a simple melody phrase is repeated by the choir with the flute responding to it. Here, the dialog between the choir and the flute happens between two harmony parts. I have rarely seen this type of arrangement. When the charanam is sung, the harmony parts contin8ue exactly the way it was arranged on the prelude. However, the flute part is replaced by Raja and the female voice. This seamless transition between a musical instrument to a male and then female voice all in the same harmony part is entirely novel in this musical experiment. I know a number of Raja fans who have written about him using voices as though they are musical instruments in his orchestra. While that is true, it has never been so seamless. Even the four songs that I have listed do not come close to this.

Harmony part 2 – 1:29 to 1:59

The first interlude carries forward the harmony that preceded it. However, Raja makes one difference. The S part alone is converted into a call and response between the choir and the flute (appears synthesized). The rest of the harmony stack remains exactly the same.

Harmony part 3 – 2:00 to 2:04

This is a simple violin harmony with base that makes the transition to the charanam (this is staple Raja connector stuff).

Harmony part 4 – 2:05 to 2:40 (Pallavi 1)

While the same harmony arrangement continues, there are a few parts that get replaced – the female choir is replaced with a synthesizer. The bass is embellished with brush strokes on a drum. The harmony is still the exact same one you heard from 0:00.

Harmony part 4: (2:41 to 2:52) Pallavi 2

The female choir now joins instead of the synthesizer and the drums with brushes turn to claves (tapping of the drum sticks). The base part still stays with the guitar arrangement. The final connector to the charanam has a beautiful drumming arrangement to land it right.

Of the Raja songs I have heard, I have rarely heard a single harmony arrangement for the entire first 3 minutes. Hats off Raja! This is a kickass composition at 76! All kiddo composers, please take some harmony lessons!

I was not impressed by the second interlude and the rest of the parts resemble the earlier parts  (Pallavi 2 like Pallavi 1).

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Post  ravinat on Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:51 pm

While the tune is different from Paakurappo from Tamizharasan, Raaja has done such orchestral choreography in the past too. The song did not come to my mind when I first wrote the post.  

It is VandhaaL VandhaaL Rajakumari from Oru Oorula Oru Rajakumari in the 90s, completely choreographed in waltz.


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Post  crimson king on Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:10 pm

I have Raja to thank for finally actually understanding major and minor scales, lol!

So...it started with me trying to understand what's going on in the second interlude of Perai Sollava (starts around 2:08):



So I started to read up on scales to figure out what he's done.  And I finally understood that when you say F# major scale, it simply means a note sequence that starts with F# and has a 'major' quality (i.e. Kalyani) rather than 'minor'  (Madhamavati).  When I had briefly taken keyboard lessons, the instructor taught me to play scales in a very mechanical way without explaining what the concept actually means.  No wonder I dropped out pretty soon because I don't learn well that way and have to understand what it means first.  

Anyhow, coming to the interesting part here, the interlude starts off in F# (F sharp) major.  And then when the trumpet-saxophone trade off starts, he switches to Bb (or B flat if you will).  How he does this is to rely on a quirk of F# major scale - the E# in F# major is really an F natural.

Unusual observations on Raja's orchestration - Page 11 F-sharp-major-scale-on-piano-keyboard

Since Bb major has an F natural, he simply flips to Bb major and switches back.  There is a point where he repeats the A# instead of continuing further down the descending sequence.  You don't notice in the original track because a violin section is making the transition seamless, but when you play it on keyboard, it is actually pretty uncomfortable.  He is a master of creating dissonance and then disguising it to deceive us.

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Post  ravinat on Thu May 28, 2020 9:59 pm

I once wrote in this topic that 'Sorgathin Vasarpadi' from Unnai Solli Kutramillai has 12 interludes in its pallavi and is pretty unusual. I stand by it, but heard another song that came pretty close. Sengamalam Sirikudhu from Dhavani Kanavugal has 11 interludes. I still consider the execution of Sorgathin Vasarpadi as tight and elegant than Sengamalam. However, this is a close contender.

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Post  crimson king on Sun May 31, 2020 3:58 pm

A question on Raja counterpoint.  Does he use 1st species/2nd species or which species?  I thought baroque counterpoint was above species counterpoint in complexity.

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