My thoughts on Megha and Kalvane analysis

I was eagerly awaiting Ilaiyaraaja's 'Megha' album the moment I saw the recording clips posted on YouTube much before the release of the audio. I had good expectation of the album based on the melodies I heard and also because of the fact that IR was collaborating with the Hungary musicians after Neethane En Ponvasantham. Here are my rough thoughts on the album:

Mugilo Megamo:
I loved this song when I watched the recordings on youtube. The melody was really nice with the typical Ilaiyaraaja touch (esp the pallavi end and charanam end). The start of the charanam is also really good. I loved Ilaiyaraaja's rendering more than Yuvan's as IR gives more soul to the song in his singing. I guess it is always the original composer who can give the right feel to a song as per his original intent.

Chellam Konjam:
This is a very peppy song with some good drumming. As Rajiv mentioned, the bass lines ascending on the first line and descending on the second line is the first thing that caused my attention. And that too the timing of the bass in the 2nd line seemed tough to grasp. The chords backing the lines "vinmeen keten vaanam thanthai" in the pallavi sounds really nice and typical of Raja. And when the song breaks into "megam megathodu konji", you invariably swing your heads, in sync of the song's rhythm. A peppy song.

Enna Vendum:
This song has very good drumming. It sounds a little old style though, probably due to the tune and priyadarshini's voice. Neverthless, enjoyable. The 4 bars of just the beats before the 1st charanam is my favorite portion. It is not a regular pattern I believe.

Jeevane Jeevane:
To me, this didn't appeal me yet. May be it is lengthy and a bit monotonous.

Putham Puthu Kaalai:
This is a re-recorded version of the popular Puthu Puthu Kaalai song sung previously by S Janaki. This version is sung by Anitha. Though it is good overall, I felt Chitra or Shreya Ghosal would have done better justice to the song in today's times. Also I felt the song could have been sung in a more relaxed pace. There was some variation in the manner the 1st interlude ended (bass+epiano) and the 1st charanam started. The timing was a little different than the original one, but still in time, unlike the timing confusion in the prelude strings.

This is a very Jazzy number and I loved the Strings section in it. It sounds so nice, especially the Strings backings in the pallavi and the first interlude. This has something different going on in the charanam. The song seems to change color in the charanam and so I wanted to understand what happens there. Here is my observation:

The song is predominantly set in E minor scale. When the charanam starts, the song is still in E minor in the first few lines. Then you can notice that it totally changes color. That is because, the scale changes from E minor to C minor. That is, the Dhaivatham of E minor becomes the Shadjamam and the scale now is C minor. The melody goes like SS, gRS ,P in C minor.

Then in the last line of the charanam, the song again changes scale to G minor scale I believe. The notes are almost same as that as pallavi (SRg SRg SRg mPmR), but in a different scale, G minor.

IR has used this technique in many of his songs. The technique is that of ending the charanam with same tune as pallavi, but in a different scale or starting from a different note/octave in the same scale. Example of same technique used in other songs:

  • Kodai Kala Kaatre, 
  • Poova Eduthu Oru, 
  • Satru Munbu, 
  • Vaanaville, 
  • Nee Thoongum Nerathil, 
  • Kalvane,
    ...and there could be many more such songs. 

Coming back to the Kalvane song, after the last line of charanam, the song comes back to the original E minor scale. Same notes (SRg SRg SRg mPmg) but this time in E minor scale. So I think there is atleast 1 scale change and may be even 2 scale changes in this awesome song. And I haven't gone into identifying the time signature of this song yet. I am guessing it could either be 4/4 swing or 6/8.

Here is my rough try just for demonstration and understanding purpose. Please ignore all the imperfections of my playing.

Overall, I liked the album. It uses the same sound palette as that of Neethane En Ponvasantham (because of the same hungary musicians) and it is good to listen to full acoustic music. It doesn't reach the heights of Neethane En Ponvasantham, but neverthless it is a very likeable album.