Thursday, March 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

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.