Monday, April 2, 2018

PolyCaRe – Concluding notes

In the past year or so, we enjoyed analyzing the PolyCaRe arrangements of Raja over 24 posts, not counting the introductory posts. This research took about a year looking for such arrangements over an extensive set of songs and background scores. Polyphony is hard and it is not easy to master. 

Many composers have used simple harmony to get through their careers as simple western harmony is rich enough.  While Call and Response is a staple Indian musical technique , very few Indian popular music composers are using this today.  Polyphony is something that very few Indian popular music composers have a solid understanding on.

To not just compose polyphonic music but to go beyond that is not something you get to experience every day. You need to have such a solid grounding on musical techniques, for you to venture into such unsafe territory. Fortunately, the level of complexity of a PolyCaRe composition does not challenge Raja at all. We saw close to 80 such compositions by Raja considering his songs and background scores.  This requires a level of sophistication with orchestration that few composers around the world can match.

The posts on symmetry showcased Raja’s ability to effortlessly compose CaRe based music. The detailed posts on counterpoints, fugue showcased his mastery over polyphony. PolyCaRe is where the former meets the later and they coexist. These 24 posts and about 80 compositions show that he is not just a master of the components but also a very savvy integrator of two sophisticated techniques.

While a number of listeners do celebrate his music due to its emotional connect to their lives, there is also a technical dimension to celebrate his work. While there can be more popular musicians than him in the near future, I have no doubt that there will be none of his level of musical technical sophistication, which goes unnoticed due to the simplicity that overlays  the sophistication.


Chitra said...

Hi Ravi, this is Chitra, an IR follower! Could you shed some light if IR has done anything in a capella style before MayaBazaar? Also, has a capella been used in Tamil film music before the 90's? How would you classify "Vizhiyil vizhundhu" from the movie Alaigal Oivadhillai? It seems to have been rendered a capella style in the first 30 seconds of the song?

ravinat said...

Thanks Chitra for your comment. I did cover the Maya Bazaar acapela song earlier:

I do not think TFM had any acapela before the Maya Bazaar song. Vizhil Vizhundhu is not acapela as the first 30 seconds is voice based though not as a harmony.

Chitra said...

Thanks for getting back, Ravi. As a silent reader of this blog, I must say you have explored IR's music very well. Please keep at it while and whenever you could. Coming back to my question, back in the 90's, "Raasathi en usuru" from "Thiruda thiruda" from ARR was touted to be the country's first a capella. What is your take on it? Yes, I did read your article on the Maya bazaar song before I posted those questions.

ravinat said...

Chitra, you are correct pointing out the 'Rasathi En Usuru' from Thiruda Thiruda (1993) as the film was released 4 years before Maya Bazaar (1997). The first acapela in film music was not from Raja, as a result. Besides, the picturization of the ARR song is spectacular compared to the Maya Bazaar song.

irfan said...

Hi Ravinat,
Thanks for all your great work, I think the definition of Acapella includes no use of any instrument, I am very positive the vocal harmony has either guitar or synthesizer generated monotonal backing for most parts of the " rasathi en usuru" song from TT, so it should not really qualify as an Acapella, not that ARR is not capable of creating one. So I think Maya Bazaar dong still remains as the Acapella first in tamil