Saturday, April 15, 2023
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Strumming is a staple technique with guitar and several Raja compositions use this technique. However, there is one song, where Raja uses this technique along with SJ’s voice instead of a guitar. It is true that Raja also used MV’s voice also in the same mode in this song.
The track is from the prelude of the song, ‘Paruvakaalagalil’ from ‘Moodu Pani’ (Tamil 1980). This is a rare 13 second clip, where he uses SJ’s voice in this mode backed by the bass and lead guitar. He uses her voice in this mode to convey the sense of the liberated young celebrating it. It begins as a simple melody and towards the 5th second or so, shifts into the strumming mode. Very creative use of the female voice. I did not hear any other track, where he repeated this experiment.
Let’s hear ‘Paruvakaalangalil’ strumming with SJ’s orchestral vocal instrument…
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
PolyCaRe is a Raja specialty, and we covered this in a number of posts a few years ago. This is basically a Call and Response arrangement within a polyphonic arrangement. In other words, it has a background melody and a foreground melody like every polyphonic composition, but the foreground itself has two or more melodies operating in a C&R format.
You can see more on the definition and the exploration of PolyCaRe here…
Though I did cover SJ being used in a PolyCaRe orchestration by Raja on a few occasion in this analysis
1. Pagalile Oru Nilavinai (Ninaive Sangeetham)
2. Ennathial Edho Jillendradhu (Kallukkul Eeram)
3. Maniye Manikuyile (Nadodi Thendral)
However, one composition that is reserved for a beautifully orchestrated PolyCaRe with SJ’s voice in the 90s is what we will analyze in this post.
The track is from the song ‘Mannavane Mannavane’ from ‘Thandhu Vittaen Ennai’ (1991 Tamil). This 32 second clip is a gem that has no parallel in Indian film music. It begins with a simple melody with a santoor. This continues throughout the 32 seconds as the background melody – no change at all. Now, we need to focus on the foreground arrangement. The foreground is a bewitching melody arrangement where the call is made by SJ and the response is from the flute followed by the violins. The santoor continues its background melody. SJ sings her second melody and the flute and violins respond one after the other to complete the masterpiece. You can clearly see that SJ is used as an instrument in this sophisticated PolyCaRe arrangement and the major role here is for the santoor, flute and the violins. Such arrangements were never attempted before and after this song. It is easy to think of an orchestral arrangement such as harmony. However, to think of a polyphonic arrangement is much harder. The next level of sophistication is to think of a PolyCaRe arrangement as you must have an endless supply of melodies that fit in. The ultimate sophistication in my view for a composer is to create such compositions, where he can think outside the box – within a PolyCare arrangement, why can’t I replace one of the instrumental piece with a human voice? That’s Raja!
Let’s hear Mannavane Mannavane, PolyCaRe with SJ’s orchestral vocal instrument…
Sunday, January 15, 2023
Thursday, December 15, 2022
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
The technique was not used by Raja is a big way in the 90s with SJ’s voice. However, I found one example of him continuing this in the 90s too.
The track we will hear is from the song,’ ‘Thanneer Kudam’ from the film ‘Sarkarai Devan’ (1993 Tamil). The harmony is buried inside the charanam and it is used in both the charanams in the same format. The harmony is between the synthesizer, flute, bass guitar and SJ and it is a three part harmony. Focus on the parts that SJ hums along with these instruments.
Let’s hear, ‘thanneer kudam’, harmony with SJ’s orchestral vocal instrument…
Sunday, October 16, 2022
In the 80s, Raja expanded the use of SJ in several of his harmonies. There are several dozens of examples and I have chosen a few to analyze how he integrated her into his harmonies in this decade.
The first track we will hear is ‘Azhagu Aayiram’ from ‘Ullasa Paravaigal’ (1980 Tamil). This is such a beautiful use of her voice inside a harmony that it requires elaboration a little before and after her harmony parts. The first few seconds is a harmony that is arranged between the synthesizer, flute and the bass guitar. This follows a long harmony part between the electric guitar, SJ, bass guitar, synthesizer and another guitar with a wah wah pedal. Absolutely staggering piece of orchestration. Following this are harmony parts with the violin, synthesizer and flute serving as a bridge to the charanam. Such harmonies are impossible to hear with today’s music. Worth every second in gold!
Let’s hear ‘Azhagu Aayiram’, harmony with SJ’s orchestral vocal instrument…
The next track is from the song ‘Raja Magal’ from the film, ‘Pillai Nila’ (1985 Tamil). This track can easily be argued as a C&R track as it has two back to back C&R between SJ and the recorder. However, I chose to categorize it as a harmony to illustrate the final harmony that follows these two C&R arrangements, where SJ is just one part of an otherwise violin harmony. A simple synthesizer bridge connects these parts back to the charanam (this is the part almost every composer today struggles, but Raja has a few thousand ideas that today’s composers fail to study).
Let’s hear ‘Raaja Magal’, harmony with SJ’s orchestral vocal instrument…
The next track is from the song, ‘Rojavai thaalaattum thendral’ from ‘Ninaivellam Nitya’ (1983 Tamil). This is a nice violin harmony that SJ is a part of.
Let’s hear ‘Rojavai thaalaatum’, harmony with SJ’s orchestral vocal instrument…
The next track is from the song, ‘Vaa Vennila’ from the film ‘Mella thirandhadhu Kadhavu’ (1986 Tamil). This is a dense 4 part harmony between the violins(T), flute(S), bells(S), bass guitar (B), and SJ(A), each taking the respective parts and delivering a beautiful hearing experience.
Let’s hear ‘Vaa Vennila’, harmony with SJ’s orchestral vocal instrument…
The next track is from the prelude of the iconic song, ‘Vaan Engum Thanga Vinmeengal’ from the film 'Moondram Pirai’ (1981 Tamil). SJ shares her part with a female choir in turn. The harmony has the lead guitar, bass guitar, piano, flute, SJ/choir playing their parts.
Let’s hear, ‘Vaan Engum’, harmony with SJ’s orchestral vocal instrument…
I am sure there are a few more examples of SJ being used as part of a C&R arrangement in the 1980s. Feel free to include your picks in the comments…