Friday, March 2, 2012

Using chorus voices in a C&R arrangement – White and Purple Tulips

This requires two sets of voices. One set of voices sing a melody and the second set responds with another melody. This is not very common an arrangement with voices as it is with instruments. Sometimes, the call or the response is by the main voice and the second part is done by the chorus. Rarely, we have tracks where one set of chorus voices makes the call and another set responds.

Let’s start with tracks that have two sets of chorus voices in a C&R arrangement.

The song thamtha theemtha from Pagalil oru Iravu (1979) uses this technique very well. Raja uses two sets of female chorus voices and demonstrates how he can arrange it like he arranges instruments. This is a rare example of two sets of chorus voices used for a call and response arrangement. 

Let's hear Thamtha Theemtha...

The landmark song Eriyile Elantha Maram from Karayellam Shenbagapoo (Tamil 1981) has several choir innovations. Several parts of the choir in this song are arranged in a C&R fashion. Raja uses one set of voices for ‘Pee Pee Pee’ and another for ‘Dum Dum Dum’ in another pitch. More on this song in detail in another category.

Keladi Nemageega from Geetha (1980 Kannada) has the first interlude where the chorus arrangement is a C&R between the female and male voices in folk mode. Several parts of the second interlude are also arranged as a C&R between the male and female voices. At times, Raja uses one in Western and other gender in folk.

Megam Karukkaiyile from Vaidegi Kaathitunthaal (Tamil 1984) has the initial prelude arranged as a C&R between the male and female voices. 

Let’s now explore a few more tracks that have either the call or the response only by the chorus. The other part is arranged with instruments.

Kadhal Mayakkam from Pudhumai Penn (Tamil 1983). Brilliantly executed with chorus in the 80s. The second interlude is arranged very intelligently as a C&R between Jayachandran and the female chorus.

Unarumee Gaanam from Moonam Pakkam (Malayalam 1988). The first interlude uses the female chorus extensively. The second interlude uses the female chorus initially in a C&R with the flute and switches to a beautiful counter melody between two sets of female voices.

Let's hear Unarumee Gaanam...

Vandhadhe Kunkumum from Kizhakku Vaasal (Tamil 1990). Parts of the first interlude have some brilliant parts between the female chorus and the violins. The second interlude is a C&R arrangement between the female chorus and the flutes with violins backing both parts in full waltz.

Full chorus track - Red and yellow tulips

The track has no main singers (or, the majority of the track is sang by the chorus). Raja has done quite a few tracks. These type of tracks are getting rare in the 21st century. Even with Raja’s wide body of work, there is not one full chorus track that he has done in this century that bubbled up during the analysis.

Manamagale Manamagale from Devar Magan (Tamil 1993). Set to MMG ragam, this song is sang completely by the female chorus. Also, the shehnai is used in the conventional North Indian sense – auspicious usage.

Let's hear the enchanting Manamagale Manamagale...

Marangal Tharum from Dhruva Natchathiram (Tamil 1993). This song is sang by children. The orchestration of this song is truly mind boggling. Several initial bars have no orchestra at all. Following this, there is some percussion and some brief violin strokes. Following this is some 2 minutes of one of the grandest and finest violin and woodwind arrangements by Raja.

Mottamaadi Mottamaadi from Anjali (Tamil 1990). This song is fully sang by a group of children.

Tham thananam from Puthiya Vaarpugal (Tamil 1979). Though the song has two main singers, the majority of the song is sang by the chorus as well. This can be considered as a chorus song for all practical purposes. Even the main lines have more than one voice in several places.

Let's hear tham thananam...

Tharai varamal from Chandralekha (Tamil 1995). Though Unnikrishnan is the main singer, the song is executed in a bhajan format with the chorus backing Unnikrishnan throughout the song.

Vanam Namakku Veedhi from Anjali (Tamil 1990) This song is fully sang by a group of children.

Kadalora Kavidhaiye from Chinnavar (Tamil 1992) is a full chorus track that has both male and female chorus parts.(courtesy Suresh)

I am sure, there are other tracks that readers can surface and report...