Friday, June 2, 2017

Blog trivia

If you are visiting this site for the first time, it is important to read this post. The intention of this blog is to present arguments in a pre-determined sequence. OLDER posts are actually NEWER posts within a month. As I keep adding new posts I change the time stamp to an earlier time so that you can read the posts in sequence. If you notice, all the posts within a month have the same date. Only the time stamp varies. Newer posts have earlier time to help you read in sequence.

If this site interests you and you want to read the earlier months (I would recommend starting from month 1 before reading month 2) start from the earliest month. I have ensured that within a month the posts are sequenced properly.



Tech Notes

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For those who read this blog regularly, please treat this as a little nuisance and continue reading.

Thanks

Ravi Natarajan

Pizzicato Strings based PolyCaRe arrangements in 198x - interludes

Pizzicato is a technique of playing violin not with a bow but plucking its strings with a finger. There are several songs where Raja has used this technique. Popular songs such as Maalaiyil Yaaro use this technique in its interludes.

We will continue the journey on PolyCaRe arrangements of Raja, with his compositions based on pizzicato strings as the background melody instrument. In this post, we will particularly focus on his interlude compositions in the 198x. As we made it very clear in the definition, the PolyCaRe arrangement not only requires a background pizzicato strings  melody, it also requires two call and response melodies in the foreground played according to our rules of CaRe arrangements.

Let’s begin with the song ‘Neela Kuyile’  from Magudi  (Tamil 1984). This segment, has pizzicato strings as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:


Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Neela Kuyile
Magudi 
1984
Pizzicato String
Solo Violin
Synthesizer


  1. The first 4 seconds is a dialog between the plucked strings and the short violin strokes. This is the background melody that plays throughout the clip
  2. Between 4 and 15 seconds, there are two CaRe arrangements, between the solo violin and the synthesizer. While this is going on, the background dialog continues.
  3. This is more than a PolyCaRe arrangement – it is a PolyCaReCaRe arrangement. Even the background melody is a CaRe! Only Raja can think of such crazy yet melodious arrangements for 15 seconds.

The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background pizzicato strings and violin melody in these 11 seconds.

Let’s hear the PolyCaRe CaRe arrangement in the song Neela Kuyile …

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Veena based PolyCaRe arrangements in 198x – interludes

Veena is an unusual instrument to do the background for a polyphonic arrangement. However, we have seen Raja use this instrument in every possible situation that no longer it is possible to typecast this instrument with any genre.  We have also seen Raja use veena extensively as a part of his CaRe arrangements. In this post, we will discuss Raja compositions that have veena as the background instrument to his PolyCaRe arrangements.

In this post, we will particularly focus on his interlude compositions in the 198x. As we made it very clear in the definition, the PolyCaRe arrangement not only requires a background synthesizer  melody, it also requires two call and response melodies in the foreground played according to our rules of CaRe arrangements.

Let’s begin with the song ‘Kalise Prati Sandhyalo’  from Aalapana (Telugu 1985). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Kalise Prati Sandhyalo’ 
Aalapana
1985
Veena
Sitar
Flute


This is one of the most unusual PolyCaRe arrangements you will hear of Raja.

  1. The first 2 seconds is a Indian melody played with the veena. This is the melody that continues throughout the clip as the background melody
  2. Between 3 and 10 seconds, the sitar joins in the foreground playing a counter melody, again and Indian one. Two Indian instruments playing Indian melody in counter. Please show me a composer who can do this!
  3. While all this is going on, between 5 and 10 seconds, if you pay close attention, the flute and the sitar is having a CaRe play while the veena continues in the background. Genius!
  4. The remaining parts of the clip have conventional CaRe in play between the veena and the flute


The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 7  seconds.

Let’s hear the stroke of PolyCare arrangement genius of Raja in the song Kalise Prati …


Let’s next focus on the interlude of the song ‘Unnai Kaanum Neram’ from Unnai Naan Sandhithaen (Tamil 1986).

This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Unnai Kaanum Neram
Unnai Naan Sandhithaen
1986
Veena
Violins
Flute


  1. The first three seconds are a veena play to set the background melody that plays throughout the clip
  2. Between 4 and 19 seconds, the violins and the flute do the CaRe play while the veena continues in the background


The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 3 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 19  seconds.

Let’s hear the  PolyCare arrangement in the song Unnai Kaanum Neram …

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Synthesizer based PolyCaRe arrangements in 198x – interludes

We will continue the journey on PolyCaRe arrangements of Raja, with his compositions based on synthesizer as the background melody instrument. In this post, we will particularly focus on his interlude compositions in the 198x. As we made it very clear in the definition, the PolyCaRe arrangement not only requires a background synthesizer  melody, it also requires two call and response melodies in the foreground played according to our rules of CaRe arrangements.

Let’s begin with the song ‘Agaaya Venilaave’  from Arangetra Velai  (Tamil 1989). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:


Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Agaya vennilave
Arangetra Velai 
1989
Synthesizer
Guitar
Synthesizer


  1. The first 5 seconds is the synthesizer background only melody. This plays throughout the clip
  2. Between 6 and 18 seconds, there are 4 calls made by the guitar for which the synthesizer (not the background one) responds. The background synthesizer keeps playing its melody


The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 18 seconds.

Let’s hear the PolyCare arrangement of the near similar instrument choice in Agaya Vennilaave song…


We will next move interlude of the song  ‘Chinna Chinna’   from  ‘Mouna Ragam  (Tamil 1986). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Chinna Chinna
Mouna Ragam
1986
Synthesizer
Chorus
Violins

The clip has two CaRe arrangements riding on a synthesizer in the background. It is very easy to identify the background synthesizer melody which repeats itself for the duration of the clip

  1. The foreground call is by the chorus for which the response is by the violins
  2. One of the beautiful arrangements in PolyCaRe by Raja, both the foreground and the background melodies can stand on their own based on their individual merit.


Let’s hear the creative PolyCare arrangement  in the song Chinna Chinna…



We will next move interlude of the song  ‘Enna Saththam’   from  ‘Punnagai Mannan’  (Tamil 1986). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Enna Saththam
Punnagai Mannan
1986
Synthesizer
Guitar
Synthesizer

This is another beautiful PolyCaRe arrangement by Raja in the 80s and one needs to pay close attention as the way the composition works is as though Raja interleaves two counterpoints.

  1. For the first 3 seconds, the countermelody between the synthesizer and the guitar happens. If you do not continue , you will not understand the PolyCaRe in play
  2. Ignore the drumming. Between 3 and 9 seconds, the guitar makes the call and the synthesizer responds twice. The synthesizer melody continues in the background


This is an extremely clever arrangement, where interleaving two countermelodies creates a PolyCaRe arrangement. This is very special and the clip is worth a PhD in music as it is rare to find such composer’s work in the 21st century!

Let’s hear the  PolyCare stroke of genius  in the song Enna Saththam…


We will next move interlude of the song  ‘KanniL Enna Kaarkaalam’   from  ‘Un KanniL Neer Vazhindhaal’  (Tamil 1982). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
KanniL Enna Kaarkaalam  
Un KanniL Neer Vazhindhaal
1985
Synthesizer
Synthesizer
Violins

  1. The first second is the background synthesizer melody that plays throughout the clip
  2. Between 2 and 17 seconds, there are 4 calls made by the synthesizer (foreground) for which the violins respond. The background synthesizer melody continues  as these foreground CaRe is in progress


The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 17 seconds.

Let’s hear the PolyCare arrangement of the near similar instrument choice in KanniL Enna Kaarkaalam   song…


We will next move interlude of the song  ‘Poon kaatrinodum ‘  from  ‘Poomukhappadiyil ninneyum kaathu ‘ (Malayalam 1985). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Poon kaatrinodum
Un KanniL Neer Vazhindhaal
1985
Synthesizer
Violins
Synthesizer

‘Poon Kaatrinodum’ is a song that is more known for its brilliant bass lines.  However, there is segment in its interlude, where Raja does a synthesizer based PolyCaRe blast.

  1. Almost the first full second, you can hear the rapid fire synthesizer melody that continues throughout the clip as the background melody
  2. Between 2 and 12 seconds, the synthesizer makes the call and the violins respond. The background rapid synthesizer melody continues while the 4 CaRe parts perform in the foreground


The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 12 seconds.

Let’s hear the PolyCare arrangement of the near similar instrument choice in Poon Kaatrinodum’ song…


Lastly, in this section, we will analyze the  interlude of the song  ‘Vaanam Keezhe ‘  from  ‘Thoongathe Thambhi Thoongathe ‘ (Tamil  1985). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Vaanam Keezhe
Thoongathe Thambhi Thoongathe
1985
Synthesizer
Sax
Synthesizer

This is an extremely complex composition that is hard to break apart and understand.

  1. You can easily separate the saxophone parts in this composition. The next part is the foreground synthesizer. The last part once you anchor your attention to the two parts, will be the constant synthesizer melody that repeats itself throughout the clip in the background
  2. There are three CaRe parts that happen in the foreground while the synthesizer plays its melody in the background.


Let’s hear the complex PolyCare arrangement of the near similar instrument choice in Vaanam Keezhe song…

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Synthesizer based PolyCaRe arrangements in 199x – interludes

We will continue the journey on PolyCaRe arrangements of Raja, with his compositions based on synthesizer as the background melody instrument. In this post, we will particularly focus on his interlude compositions in the 199x. As we made it very clear in the definition, the PolyCaRe arrangement not only requires a background synthesizer  melody, it also requires two call and response melodies in the foreground played according to our rules of CaRe arrangements.

Let’s begin with the song ‘Kaadhal Kavidhaigal’ from Gopura Vasalile (Tamil 1990). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Kaadhal Kavidhaigal
Gopura Vaasalile
1990
Synthesizer
Flute
Guitar


  1. In the first one second, you can clearly hear the background synthesizer tone (sounds like flute – synthesized flute) that plays as the background melody throughout this clip
  2. Between 1 and 10 seconds, there are two CaRe arrangements, where the call of the Flute is responded by the guitar while the background synthesizer tone continues

The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 10 seconds.

Let’s hear the different PolyCare arrangement of the Kadhal Kavidhaigal song…




We will next move prelude of the song  ‘Maha rajanodu from ‘Sathi Leelavathi’  (Tamil 1995). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Maha rajanodu
Sathi Leelavathi
1995
Synthesizer
Guitar
Synthesizer


While the synthesizer is the background and the foreground instrument, the composer is careful with tone separation, so that one can clearly tell the difference.



  1. The first 2 seconds, you hear only the background synthesizer melody which continues throughout the clip
  2. The CaRe parts are complex parts compared to normal compositions – performed brilliantly by the late Viji Manuel. Every CaRe part has a guitar part for which the Synthesizer (flute tone) responds, for which there is one more response by the guitar. It is sort of CaReCa. Theere are two such combinations making it into 6 foreground melodies. This is outstanding creativity within PolyCaRe. All this happens, when the background synthesizer continues


It is rare to hear such complex parts in Indian film music. It requires not just a genius like Raja, but also, very able keyboard artists such as Viji.

The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 6 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 13 seconds.


Let’s hear the complex, yet melodious PolyCare arrangement of the Maharajanodu song…




We will next move prelude of the song  ‘Maniye Manikuyile’  from  ’Nadodi Thendral’  (Tamil 1992). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Maniye Manikuyile
Nadodi Thendral
1992
Synthesizer
Voice
Flute

This song is unique in this section, as Raja uses Janaki’s voice as one of the instruments. It is a perfect PolyCaRe arrangement and here are some details:

  1. The first 8 seconds of the clip has three things happening, The first is the synthesizer melody which loops throughout the clip (well beyond 8 seconds) and the second is Janaki singing her melody parts. The flute responds to Janaki’s voice
  2. The next 7 seconds has a repeat of the C&R with the background melody, with both the call and response slightly varied from #1. This is a staple Raja technique not to bore the listener
  3. Finally, the last few seconds is the violins taking over the interlude after Janaki finishes her humming for the third time

The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 19 seconds.

Let’s hear the unique and melodious PolyCare arrangement of the Maniye Manikuyile song…



We will next move prelude of the song  ‘Putham Pudhu Poo’  from  ‘Dhalapathi’  (Tamil 1991). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Putham Pudhu
Dhalapathi
1991
Synthesizer
Violins
Flute

  1. The first 3 seconds of this clip has the synthesizer melody which will stay as the background melody for the clip
  2. Between 3 and 8 seconds, the Violins make the call for which the flute responds. The background synthesizer melody continues
  3. Between 8 and 12 seconds, the violins make a slightly different call for which the flute responds also differently. The background synthesizer melody continues


The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 12 seconds.


Let’s hear the PolyCare arrangement of the Putham Pudhu Poo song…



We will next move prelude of the song  ‘Therke Veesum’   from  ‘Kolangal  (Tamil 1995). This segment, has synthesizer as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

Song
Film
Year
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Therke Veesum
Kolangal
1995
Synthesizer
Guitar
Piano

Please notice that only Raja tries out such almost impossible combinations – the string sound of all the three instruments, synthesizer, guitar and piano are very close – it is easy to suppress one when the other is playing. Raja, however is very careful about the tones he selects in this composition, that clearly helps identify he PolyCaRe arrangement.

  1. The first second has the background synthesizer melody which is repeated for the entire duration of the clip
  2. Between 1 and 5 seconds, the guitar makes a call for which the piano responds. The background synthesizer melody keeps going
  3. Between 5 and 10 seconds, the guitar makes one more call for which the piano responds


The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background synthesizer melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 4 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background synthesizer melody in these 11 seconds.


Let’s hear the PolyCare arrangement of the near similar instrument choice in Therke Veesum song…


Raja has done quite a bit of experimentation with PolyCaRe with synthesizer during the 90s as it should be obvious from all these clips. It is unfortunate, that the popular perception of his work has been one where he did not figure out how to use the synthesizer. Nothing can be farther from the truth.