Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Counterpoint with voices



Poomalaye Thol SeravaPagal Nilavu (1986). This is a masterpiece of sorts on counterpoints. You can observe that Raja and Janaki sing two different melodies at the same time. There are at least 6 voice phrases in this song that demonstrate voice based counterpoint.

Dhaas Dhaas Chinappa Dhaas Dhaas – Kadalora Kavidhaigal (1986) – You can observe the chorus and Raja’s voice overlap with different melodies (this is strictly not a counterpoint as it uses a phase shift of the same melody between Raja and the chorus – polyphony nevertheless). If you research Raja’s work, you can find another hundred easily.

Raja’s famous Rakamma Kaiya Thattu from Dhalapathi (1991) is another case in point. If you observe the last pallavi of this song, which is fully scale based, the Aberi based Carnatic chorus continues when SPB gets back to his Pallavi. This song has so many other spectacular musical elements, but we will stick to counterpoint for the moment.

Thendral Vandhu Theendum Podhu from Avadharam (1995) uses the counterpoint technique between Raja and the chorus voices during the interludes. This track also has spectacular violin counterpoints and is a musically rich track. Pay attention to the below clip between 0:29 to 0:39 secs and also 0:44 to 1:18 secs to appreciate the counterpoint technique used with voices. Hear the track....



The song Pudhu Mappilaikku from Apoorva Sagodarargal (1989) has very rich counterpoints when the Ra Pa Pa humming goes on between the singer and the chorus background. In this track, pay attention to 0:33 to 0:52 seconds to appreciate the usage of vocal counterpoint. Hear the track...



One more unusual candidate for this category – the prelude of Metti Oli Kaatrodu from Metti (1982) – pay attention to the initial humming of both Raja and Janaki – a wonderful counterpoint. Pay attention to 0:01 to 0:22 seconds in the clip below to appreciate the usage of vocal counterpoint in a complete Indian melody. Hear the track...

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If you trace Raja's early work, he did some amazing vocal counterpoints as early as 1981 that was not appreciated much at that time. The track Pon Oviyam from Kazhugu (1981) has some amazing vocal counterpoint work. Both Raja and Janaki take turns, sing with the chorus as well as overlap with completely different melodies. This is far ahead of its times. Perhaps, Raja repeated his vocal experiment again in 1986 (Poo Maalaye in Pagal Nilavu -1985) and got noticed at that time. In the clip below, there are several vocal counterpoints between Raja, Janaki and the choir. Specifically focus on the usage of vocal counterpoints in the following segments: a) 0:06 to 0:28 secs b) 1:01 to 1:17 secs c) 1:25 to 1:49 secs d) 1:51 to 2:06 secs. Some segments have all the three sources and others have two. Let's hear the early Pon Oviyam...



These are some examples from Raja's wide body of work. He continues to do this till today - Nandhalala (2009), as it comes very naturally to him.

3 comments:

New kenny on de block ;) said...

"The song Pudhu Mappilaikku from Apoorva Sagodarargal (1989) has very rich counterpoints when the Ra Pa Pa humming goes on between the singer and the chorus background. Hear the track..."

Your blog is too gud! Vocal counterpoint topic has interesting information.

I would like to add some more information to this song. Actually, this song does have scat singing {Ra Pa Pa...in this song}, which we could find in disco, r&b, roll n rock, bepop, jazz and many.

However, when scat singing is interlocked with the lead melody and has rock 'n' roll or r&b rhythm then its genre is called "Doo wop". Thus, this song falls under "Doo wop". Also, songs like Puthu cheri from singaravelan, even folk song - Ooru vittu from Karagattakaran {based on 56th melakartha ragam} also follows the rule of doo-wop. HIS attempt of Doo wop could be found in Germaniyil senthein - Ullasa paravaigal itself.

always

~~Raaja rules!

vv said...

Counterpoint in Metty Oli initial humming ! Great !

M said...

Hello,

Thank you for the wonderful posts...
can you please tell me the raagam of Poo malaiye thol serava (pagal nilavu)