Neethane En Ponvasantham - Discovery

While listening to the awesome songs of Neethane En Ponvasantham (CD | mp3) by Ilaiyaraaja, I made an interesting discovery. To me, it looks all the songs end in the Panchamam (Pa note).  Not sure if it is intentional or if it is coincidental. Songs ending with Shadjamam (Sa note) is very common. But all 8 songs (actually 9) from the album ending in Panchamam was interesting. I will list how each song ends below. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  1. Saindhu Saindhu - This song is in D major. The strings seem to play the Pa note (the note A in western) at the end.
    P P P , P P P ,
  2. Kaatrai Konjam - This song is set in E major. Both the melody and the strings+sax end in the Pa note (B in western) in lower octave.
    Melody: G,m G,R S,N D,P P,
    Sax+Strings: S N n D d P P,PP,PP
  3. Mudhal Murai - This is in B minor. The string hit at the end seems to be the note Pa (F# in western).
  4. Vaanam Mella - This song is set in F minor. The melody at the end, ends in Pa (C in western) in the lower octave.
  5. a) Pudikkila Maamu - This is again in E major. The "alarudhu teenage hey" line ends in the Pa note (B in western).
    GGGG G,m, ,,,, P,,,,,,,,

    b) Veedhi Patthade - This is in the scale of Madhyamavathi with A# as the tonic. The short guitar postlude at the end, ends in Pa (F in western).
    nSR S,n R,n,R, PP, P,P,,,
  6. Yennodu Vaa Vaa - This is in E minor. The melody at the end, ends in Pa (B in western) in the lower octave.
    gg,S gggS ggRS R,-- | nSR, R,n, nSR, R,n, | g,S, n,d, P
  7. Pengal Endraal - This is again in B minor. The melody at the end, ends in Pa (F# in western).
    PDNS RgmP P
  8. Satru Munbu - This song is set in D minor. The melody at the end, ends in Pa (A in western) in lower octave.
    PSRg g,,g g,,g g,,S R,,P ,,,,

What do you think?

PS: Thanks to Rajiv Shankar for sharing the scales of the song which helped me to get started quickly.

Guitar Prasanna's experiment with time signature

Guitarist Prasanna commented on his Facebook wall about his experiment with time signature in his debut film as a composer:

Some of you asked me what this earlier post of mine was all about -(3/4, 3 and half/4, 3/4, 4/4), (3/4, 3 and half/4, 3/4, 4/4), (4 and half/4, 4/4), (4 and half/4, 3 and half/4), (4/4, 4/4, 4/4), 2/4 - These are the time signatures for each bar of the 'Charanam' of the song 'Oru Kural' that I composed for the film 'Vazhakku Enn 18/9' - And I GOT AWAY WITH IT in my very first song in a mainstrea...m Tamil film and I am so glad the song has got so much attention too. Thanks to the Tamil film audiences for the overwhelming support for the film and the music and for telling me its ok to not dumb things down! For those of you who want to listen/count, here it is!

Interesting experiment! It is tough for me to follow the time signature with no accompaniments. I haven't seen the film yet, so I am not sure why he chose not to have any accompaniments.

UPDATE (July 12 2012): In his recent interview, Prasanna says that having no accompaniments was the Director's idea.
... it turned out in the end that the only song in the film ‘Oru kural ketkuthu penne’ not only didn’t have any ‘electronic programmed machine stuff’, it didn’t have any instruments at all! Maybe Balaji took my ‘acousticism’ even further than me!  Just kidding! But I am glad that the song has been highly acclaimed  a song with just voice and no instruments and it was entirely Balaji’s idea. 
Don't forget to the listen to the Theme Music from the film which is an instrumental version of this song.

This one has some nice guitar and drums accompaniment and the main melody is hummed by a female vocalist (any idea who the singer is?).

Ilaiyaraaja's Cyclic Interludes

About 5 years back, I posted 6 of Ilaiyaraaja's cyclic interludes in this blog. By cyclic interlude, I am referring to an interlude (or prelude) which starts with a specific phrase, then meanders around and then returns to that same phrase before starting the charanam (or  pallavi).

I then noticed 7 other songs with similar pattern. So I compiled all 13 of them into a single track starting from the oldest (as per the release date). This technique/pattern has been used by Ilaiyaraaja even recently in a song from Dhoni. Go ahead and listen to the cyclic interludes below:

Here are the songs featured in the above track:
  1. Idhazhil Kadhai from Unnal Mudiyum Thambi
  2. Sivarathiri from Michael Madhana Kama Rajan
  3. Kuyil Paatu (Happy) from En Raasavin Manasile
  4. Kuyil Paatu (Sad) from En Raasavin Manasile
  5. Povoma from Chinna Thambi
  6. Oh Butterfly from Meera
  7. Ellorum Sollum Paatu from Marubadiyum
  8. Ennavendru Solvadhama from Raajakumaaran
  9. Piraye from Pithamagan
  10. Ilaimaikku Oru from Oru Naal Oru Kanavu
  11. Malle Puvvu from Malle Puvvu
  12. Yaarum Thodatha from Ajantha
  13. Vaangum Panathukkum from Dhoni
And as an experiment, here is another version after excluding the music in between the repeating phrases. Even though the interlude is shortened, you won't find the flow missing. Listen to the first clip posted above and then listen to the one below.

There could be more such songs. If you come across any other song, leave a comment.

Rahman's technique of increasing the pace of a song

I noticed in a few Rahman songs, a technique of increasing the pace of a song in each interlude. By pace, I don't mean the tempo as such. You will notice that the song picks up momentum as each interlude passes by. This is observed mostly in songs with 3 interludes. Probably ARR uses this technique to keep the listener interested in the song, esp since it is a lengthy song.

Here are some of the songs that employ the above technique.

1. Yeh Tara Woh Tara from Swades:

2. Sarfarosh Ki Tamanna from The Legend of Bhagat Singh:

3. Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera from Swades:

In all the above songs, the song keeps gaining momentum in each interlude. For eg. the song would start with a slow pace and will continue like that for the 1st interlude and charanam. Then in each subsequent interlude a new rhythm (tabla, etc) or guitar backing will be added and that would seem to increase the pace. And from the 3rd interlude it really picks up pace and goes on like that till the end. Keeping the listener interested is one theory. Another valid reason could be to heighten the emotion.

On similar lines, a recent song that I like a lot is Kun Faya Kun from Rockstar. I love the way it picks up momentum in the interlude from 2:45 to 3:22. The guitar, the clap, the tabla, the chorus, all of them adds to the impact. It is interesting how a simple clap has such an effect on the pace of the song. Then at 4:58 the pace of the song comes down during the lines "Ho mujh pe karam sarkar tera" and then from 5:55, it returns to the original form. Though the pace doesn't keep increasing as in the above songs, there are contrasting portions which is why I included this song here. 

Kun Faya Kun from Rockstar:

A few more songs that were considered but did not make it to the list as I felt it didn't fit in 100% in the technique discussed here:

Zindagi Zindagi from Yuvraaj

Sakiye Nee Than Thunaye from Andhimandhaarai

Shauk Hai from Guru

There could be more songs. I don't exactly recollect. Leave a comment if you notice similar songs.

Oora Therinjukitten - Cover Version

Here is our cover version of the song Oora Therinjukitten, which was originally composed by Ilaiyaraaja for the film Padikkadhavan.

Singer: Srivatsan
Karaoke Track, Recording, Mixing: Sripathy Ramesh
Video, Editing: Anbu Chezhian
(Thanks to Aravindhan for some additional video clips)

Listen to it and let us know your feedback.

On a related note, don't miss our earlier cover of the song:
Andhi Mazhai from Raajapaarvai.

Nenjathai Killadhe

The song Paruvame Pudhiya Paadal from Nenjathai Killadhe was performed at the Ilaiyaraaja concert and it was so nice. SPB's voice, the jogging rhythm simulated by tapping on the thighs, the 1st interlude - Sada's classical guitar, the Strings section, harmonium, etc., were the highlights.

A few months back, Vicky had written about the title score of Nenjathai Killladhe. The title score was very good and quite interesting with the various mood changes. It starts with the same jogging rhythm used in the Paruvame song. Read more about this title score and listen to it on Vicky's blog.

Since it uses the same rhythm and the same relative scales - E Major and C# minor,  I thought it would have been even better if the orchestra had played the Nenjathai Killadhe Title score and then continued to the Paruvame song. That would have just been awesome. Here is a mix I tried with the title score and the original song. I had slowed down the tempo of the title score to suit the Paruvame song.

Nenjathai Killadhe - Title Music and Paruvame by sripathyramesh-1