Friday, February 2, 2018

Sax based PolyCaRe arrangements in 198x – background scores

This is one of the unique Raja experiments that deserves a separate post. A very unusual PolyCaRe arrangement for a background score that involves a sax in the background (typically the foreground instrument) with the guitar and the synthesizer doing the Call and Response foreground part.

Let’s analyze a short clip from the background score of the 1989 Tamil film Varusham 16. This is a short clip of slightly over a minute. This segment, which is part of the background score,  which uses sax as its background instrument. Here is how the segment is structured:

BGM Film
Background instrument
CaRe - Instrument1
CaRe - Instrument2
Varusham 16

  1. The first 10 seconds introduces the listener to the instrument choices of the composer for this clip. The background instrument, sax, is introduced first, followed by the guitar and the synthesizer. They play separately and not in a PolyCaRe arrangement in this segment
  2. Between 11 and 26 second, the sax plays its melody 4 times in the background, with the Guitar and synthesizer doing their CaRe 4 times and the repetition does not bore you as this is not just innovative use of the instruments, but also created to elevate a comic scene in the movie
  3. Between 27 and 34 seconds, the sax plays a different melody 2 times in the background, with the Guitar and synthesizer doing their CaRe 2 times
  4. Between 25 and 42 seconds, the configuration is changed by the composer. He now introduces the CaRe arrangement first followed by the background Sax. This is the opposite of #1
  5. Between 42 and 65 seconds, the sax plays its melody 6 times in the background, with the Guitar and synthesizer doing their CaRe 6 times. The last two plays have a slightly changed melody for the sax

The foreground melodies can stand on their own feet as simple CaRe arrangement. The background violin melody makes them polyphonic and hence PolyCaRe. There are 12 foreground melodies playing on top of the constant background CaRe melody play between the guitar and the synthesizer  in these 65 seconds.  Just the PolyCaRe arrangement alone in these 65 seconds involves 36 small melodies.

Let’s hear the PolyCaRe  arrangement in the BGM of the film Varusham 16 …