My old compositions

In this post, I am going to share some of my initial compositions. These compositions are all instrumental and most of these are around 10 years old. This was done in my early days when I was learning music through books and fiddling with a small keyboard. I knew very little about things like bass and chords. In fact if you notice, some songs won't contain any bass or contain very little bass, same goes for chords. So the compositions will be quite immature.

My interest in music started during the college (13 years ago). My first computer based tool to sequence music was a qbasic program using the Play command. Then I got interested in keyboard seeing my college mate Ranjesh play the keyboard. During the 2nd year of college, I got myself my first keyboard - a small one - Casio SA 21. I still have it. I used to read some carnatic books on various ragas and try to play it on keyboard. I was even surfing the net reading about the various ragas. Film songs set in different ragas interested me. My mother, who can identify ragas, helped me further. She also helped correct the wrong notes that I played on the keyboard. Another college friend of mine, Venkat Sundar, a guitarist taught me some basics of chords and that kindled my interest further. Then my good friend, Vasanth, got a computer in his hostel room and there was this Noteworthy express software that he got along with it. I used to hang in around his computer trying to compose on it. Then, he got Cakewalk Express software CD and that was even better. I was hooked to it and all of these tunes were composed in that. All these songs were sequenced as MIDI files using Cakewalk Express software. And they were mostly played via the default MIDI output of "Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth". I either entered the notes directly or played it on the normal computer keyboard used for typing.

I have posted 20 tracks here and all these instrumental pieces are about 1 minute or 2 minutes. You can listen the songs from the box below. You can hover your mouse over the file name or the player to read the description of the song. Names given are very random. They are an after thought. Most of the songs weren't composed with the given name in mind. Kindly listen to them and leave your comments here.

A couple of years after passing out of college, I got myself a Yamaha PSR 350 keyboard. Then there was this music band being formed in my office and I was somehow part of the band. Playing all those film songs (especially Ilaiyaraaja's) taught me a whole lot of things about music. And of course, am still learning. No one can learn music fully.

Brindavana Saranga by various Film Composers

In my last post, I mentioned about the Raag Brindavana Saranga. In this post, I am going to list down the film songs composed in this raag by various music directors. Many music directors have used this raag in their compositions. Here is the list grouped by the composer.

Ponn Ondru Kanden - Padithaal Mattum Podhuma
(listen to this rendition by Shankar Mahadevan and Hariharan. The song starts at 0:50 secs in the video.)

Aathaadi Paavada Kaathaada - Poovilangu
Intha Jilla Muzhukka Nalla Theriyum - Priyanka
Maadathile Kanni Maadathile - Veera

A R Rahman
Konjum Mainakkale - Kandukonden Kandukonden
Adadadada Muthu Muthu - Mr. Romeo

Radhai Mandhil - Snehidhiye
Chella Nam Veetukkul - Poovellam Un Vaasam
Kanden Kanden - Madurai

Ye Samba Ye Samba - Pandavar Bhoomi

Vijay Antony
Ninjakootil Neeye Nirkiraai - Dishyum

Paadhi Kaadhal - Modhi Vilayadu

Kookoo Kookoo Kuyil Paatu - Vaaymaye Vellum
(Pallavi lifted from the Colonial cousins song, Indian Rain, which is also in Brindavana Saranga).

If you need to add any other song to this list, kindly leave your comment below.

I have also updated this list in my Wiki website for Ragas in film songs. Let me know if you are willing to contribute to the wiki site.

Recent Raga Sightings

I noticed some raga usages in recent tamil film songs. Here are the songs and the ragas.
Paadhi KadhalModhi VilayaduHariharan-LeslieBrindavan Saranga
Unnai Enakku
Azhagar MalaiIlaiyaraajaHamsadhwani
Enna Senjalum
Azhagar Malai

Paadhi Kadhal is a nice song from Modhi Vilayaadu. It is set in the Brindavan Saranga raga. You will find similarities between this song and the "Indian Rain" song from Colonial Cousins in the usage of the raga and the instruments (guitar and trumpet). Interesting aspect about this song is the contrast between the 2 lead vocals. Bombay Jayashree sings in the indian classical style while Sunitha Sarathy sings almost the same tune in western style.

Unnai Enakku from Azhagar Malai is set in Raag Hansdhwani/Hamsadhwani. Ilaiyaraaja has composed only a handful of songs in Hamsadhwani when compared with other raagas that he has used. There is lot of classical touches in the way this song has been sung. In recent times, he has composed another song in Hamsadhwani from the film "Oru Naal Oru Kanavu". It is called "Enna paatu vennum unakku" sung by Sonu Nigam. That is yet another good song. Refer this wiki page for some songs in this raga.

Enna Senjalum from Azhagar Malai is set in Raag Mayamalavagowlai. Ilayaraaja has done lot of classic songs in this Raga. But somehow this song doesn't impress.

Re-Recording Raaja Contest

Suresh Kumar who writes about background scores ( is conducting a contest titled 'Re-Recording Raaja Contest'. Basically if you are able to recreate raaja's re-recording works, you can participate in the contest and get a chance to win Rs.10,000.
More details on this contest available at the below link:

Rajapaarvai background piece - shruthibedam again

Talking about Rajapaarvai, listen to the following background music (re-recording) from the same film. It is a very nice piece.

Hope you enjoyed it. Here is a comment by an user on that video:
i'm an atheist...but this music makes me think twice. Divine!

Now for the technically inclined:

While listening to it I realized that this piece starts in raag Jog in 1.5 kattai (C#) and at 00:26 secs it shifts to raag Subhapantuvaraali in 4 kattai (F) - basically the Ga of Jog becomes the Sa of Subhapantuvaraali with the same notes. It again comes back to Jog later. Kindly correct me if I am wrong.

Raaja has done this kind of shruthibedam / tonal shifts lot of times. This same Jog-Subhapantuvaraali shruthibedam was done in the album "How to name it" too.

I had earlier written about some songs were shruthibedam was used in tamil film songs. Here are the links to those posts:

BGM piece - Alaigal Oyvadhillai

Kavithai Kelungal - Punnagai Mannan

Raa Raa - Chandramukhi

Rajapaarvai Violin Concerto

Listen to this wonderful Violin Concerto composed by Ilaiyaraaja for the film "Raja Paarvai". Nice blend of Carnatic and Western styles (typical ilaiyaraaja). This composition is in raag Pantuvaraali. Sit back and enjoy.

Some observations:

1. Till 1:35 secs in the video, it is carnatic style. You will notice that Kamal sits and plays the violin as in carnatic style. At 1:36 it changes to western classical style and you will notice Kamal standing and playing the violin.

2. From around 2:04 to 2:24, for about 20 secs the Sa and Pa notes are not at all played. This song is in 2 kattai (D) and in this Pantuvaraali scale in D, except Sa and Pa all others are half notes - either sharp/flat (black keys on the keyboard). So for these 20 seconds, there are no natural notes played. i.e. only black keys while playing on the keyboard. And at 2:24 after heightening the tension, it lands at Shadjamam and then from there, the drums take off. The violins, lead guitar and bass guitar go in a frenzy along with the drums. Finally it comes to a finish with the main theme played in unison.

I tried re-creating this number on my computer few years back by doing some basic midi sequencing. Here is the midi file in case you are interested on the notes of the song. By the way, I have omitted a few lines and I think there are some wrong notes in the midi file that I created.

Buying Audio CDs

When I was in college, I used to buy new audio cassettes (esp of ARR) as they get released and keep listening to it. Later, with the spread of computers, internet and TV channels, this habit was gradually reduced. However I used to purchase select audio CDs (mostly albums).

Here are the audio CDs recently purchased by me in the last 5 years:


Thiruvasagam by Ilaiyaraaja
A musical rendering of the epic Tamil verses. This is a Classical Crossover album and Ilaiyaraaja seamlessly fuses both Indian classical and western classical.

Mozart meets India
After Thiruvasagam, this album was widely publisized. But it was disappointing.

Maaya - Sikkil Gurucharan and Anil Srinivasan
Indian classical songs with piano accompaniment. Really very nice. I especially like the soothing numbers "Suttum vizhi" in Rathipathipriya and "Hari tum haro" in Darbari kaanada.

Resonance - V S Narasimhan
Carnatic songs performed by a String Quartet headed by V S Narasimhan. Again different and really nice.

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia - Flute (I don't remember the exact name)
If you like Hindustani music, then you will like this instrumental album. This has got an hindustani rendering of 'vatapi ganapathim bhaje' in raag Hansdhwani. Very nice rendering.

Classically Mild - Sonu Nigam
Semi-classical songs in hindi with western orchestration. Appealing.

Rafi Resurrected - Sonu Nigam with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
This is a tribute to Mohd. Rafi. An Evening in London - Classic old hindi songs rendered by Sonu Nigam along with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Kavithai Gundar - Tamil Hiphop
oops... Rs. 500 for this. Not worth in my opinion.

Movie Albums

Ada - A R Rahman
This was not because I want to listen to it but because I was participating in this remix contest.

Modhi Vilayaadu - Hariharan and Leslie (of Colonial Cousins fame)
Pretty decent. Except 1 or 2 songs, rest were nice.

Modhi Vilayadu is one of the first filmi albums that I bought in recent times. I heard it was good and went for it. It was a nice experience of buying it, listening to it excitedly for the first time (on my car system) and liking it. Reminds me of the olden days. So next time if I badly want to listen to a movie album, may be I will directly purchase it.

It is also interesting how they promote CDs these days. It has almost come down to the cost of cassettes. Audio CDs are available for Rs.55, Rs.75, Rs.99, etc. Modhi Vilayadu was priced at Rs.99. It had a free audio CD of another recent movie. The free CD was of Panthayam by Vijay Antony. Couple of songs were nice in that. There was also a Rs.200 gift coupon from "naturals" beauty saloon/spa. These are some nice approaches to tackle piracy. 'Kavithai Gundar' CD included a free belt (with large letters of KG) and a DVD (probably their music video). Still the Rs. 500 price tag is not worth it.

Are you listening to songs by purchasing CDs / cassettes? If not, give it a thought.

Cheap Advice On Music

Recently I came across a blog which provides valuable advice and tips on Songwriting, Home Recording and Live Sound. If you are getting started to the world of composing or setting up a home studio or part of a band, then this is a valuable resource to learn the tricks of the trade. The site is named "Cheap Advice On Music" and here is the URL:

The site is well designed and a new article is written every 15 days.

Musical Conversations - ARR

A R Rahman has done some nice background pieces in songs which are basically a conversation between either 2 instruments or an instrument and a vocal. These are not question and answer types but more like a real conversation. Listen to 4 such conversations below. Interestingly all of them are towards the ending of the respective songs. It is more like a postlude.

The 1st one is "En swasa kaatre" from "En swasa kaatre". Nice conversation of veena and chitra's voice. I love the veena in this piece. The chord and bass backing is also very good. I think this is in Nilambari raga. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The 2nd one is "Azhage sugama" from "Paarthale Paravasam". A nice conversation between piano and violin. Violin is played by Ganesh I believe. I read that it is a mixture of dwijawanti and sahana ragam.

The 3rd one is "Uyirum Neeye" from "Pavithra". Veena and violin converse here in Khamas raga I think.

The 4th one is "Netru Illatha Maatram" from "Pudhiya Mugam". Nice sitar and flute combination. You can also listen to a veena in the third line. This is the same piece played in the first interlude. But in the first interlude it is a sitar and veena conversation. And at the end, the sitar piece is the same, but a different flute response. Flute must be by Naveen.

Let me know if there are other similar songs by ARR. I will also put a separate post on such conversations in Ilaiyaraaja's music. So let me know the relevant song interludes that come to your mind in IR's music.

1 minute Jingle for Vivel Miss Chennai & Chennai Man

If you are a small time composer, here is an opportunity. There is a one minute Jingle contest for 'Vivel Miss Chennai & Chennai Man' reality fashion show which will be telecast on Star Vijay. This is open for Public.

Here is more info on this.

If you are musically inclined & love to compose jingles, then you could compose a 'one minute jingle for the Vivel Miss Chennai & Chennai man contest'. You need to create the background score, write the lyrics & render a one minute song on a CD and send it to us, the best one will be selected by an eminent panel of judges. This Selected jingle will be made into a Video film as well and the winners will be featured on Star Vijay & will take home prizes & medals.

There are 2 more contests open for public. Refer the links above.

I checked with the organizers and it seems we should send the CD by April 5. I knew about this only today. Let me see if I can whip up something within that time.

UPDATE (April 4th): I checked with the organizers today. The deadline is postponed to April 12th. Infact, I had a feeling it will get postponed. Our band participated in the Chennai Anthem contest conducted by the same organizers couple of years back and we reached till the finals. That was more of a live stage performance, but this is a jingle contest and hence I think it doesn't need any live performance.

Some ARR pieces repeated

Here are a couple of instances where A R Rahman has reused some of his earlier pieces in songs. These are just 1 or 2 line pieces and there is no harm in doing so since the originals are also his. You can hover your mouse over my photo on the comments bar at the bottom of the track to find out details about the songs mixed.

I also read that one of the re-recording pieces in Roja was later the charanam of Telephone Manipol song. Also the rerecording piece of Kannathil Muthamittal became the pallavi of a song from the hindi film Ada.

Other music directors have also done that. Harris Jayaraj has incorporated one rerecording piece from Vettaiyadu Vilayadu (plane sequence with Jo) in the song Mudhal Naal Indru from Unnale Unnale. Similarly HJ had used a rerecording piece from Minnale into a song, Pinju Thendrale, from Majnu.

What do you think of this? Also let me know if you know of any other similar reused pieces.

Paadum Office version 2.0

As I had mentioned in my blog earlier, our office band (in which I play the keyboard) participated in Paadum Office 2.0 (2008) and it is being telecast on Star Vijay for the past few weeks. Our prelims and quarter finals performances have already been telecast and the rest are yet to be telecast. It is being shown on Star Vijay every Sunday at 5:00 pm. Here are our prelims and quarterfinals performances. Let me know your feedback.


Quarter Finals:

Ada Remix Entries

Around 10 months back, I posted a blog article on the remix contest by ARR and Nokia for the promotion of the film, Ada. I participated in it and was planning to publish the files only after the results. The deadline was over on June 15 2008, but they just ignored the contest after the submissions. No news what so ever. So I am publishing my entries for the contest below for your feedback. Let me know your views.

PS: From their Terms and Conditions, the rights for all the remix entries are owned by Nokia.
By submitting your remixed entry for the online/offline contest you hereby agree and consent to Nokia having all the Intellectual Property Rights of such remix and Nokia may use your remix in its future promotions in any manner whatsoever. You confirm all the IPR rights to Nokia and you also agree not to claim any IPR rights on the same in future.

Jai Ho Rahman

Congratulations to Mr. Rahman on getting the Oscar awards ! You truly deserve it.

On celebration of this, I am currently having the Jai Ho song (from Slumdog Millionaire) as my mobile ringtone. I have edited it slightly. Here is the ringtone version:

I have also edited the O Saya song (again from Slumdog Millionaire) for using it as a ringtone. Here is the edited version below:

You can download the above ring tones and use it, if you like them.

Yamaha Music Store in Chennai

I saw an advertisement in today's Hindu regarding the launch of Yamaha Music Store in Chennai. "Yamaha Music Square" is launching in Chennai today. It is located at Nungambakkam. I was already planning to purchase the Yamaha MO6 synthesizer keyboard. So this has come at the right time. So now I have a reason to visit the store and try out MO6 and probably PSR-S900 before purchasing.

Here is the advertisement on the Hindu.


And here is the address of the shop:

"Sterling Silver",
No. 24 & 25, Siva Ganga Road,
Off. Sterling Road, Nungambakkam
Chennai - 600034
Phone: 044-42909888 / 044-42909800 / 9840325440