Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Only Illayaraja?

After reading my yesterday’s post, my brother remarked “Don’t you think this is too much?” Recently, my friend said to me: “I agree you are right. But, you should embrace the new changes and move on. Why are you writing only about Illayaraja? “

I can answer to this question in 3 ways:

  • Technically, Illayaraja has left HUGE repository to explore and I don’t want to superficially appreciate and move on.
  • Emotionally, I would say: “Naan Unarndha Unarvu Nee Unara Villai
  • Politically, silence is the best answer.

    I would like to dwell into just one aspect of His music today:

    Great geniuses spend their lifetime to have a complete understanding of just the fixed tonal system of western classical music. I am no expert in this subject. But, (with my “Dhammathoondu” knowledge) it is possible to master (though it is not easy) the fixed tonal system (scale) to a level that you can start writing the notes on a piece of paper directly without playing the scale. We have history that shows many geniuses who have done that. On the other hand, the challenge that Carnatic music throws is the very key element of it – Gamakams. Gamakams, explained simply is the beauty of shaking those fixed notes. These floating tonal systems form the backbone of the Carnatic music.

    No exaggerations here. If there is any living human being who has a complete understanding of both fixed and floating tonal system with a mastery level that he can play the fusion of both in his 1.2 kg mass brain and directly write the notes onto a piece of paper, it is only Illayaraja. The notes are close to machine perfection and this music making machine has mastered the range that each instrument can play and the harmony it can generate, all in the tiny brain.

    Here is a sample of the notes hand written by Raaja (without actually playing a note) for a song in “Ezhai Jaathi” in less than 45 minutes:

  • I retire.


    Bharath V said...

    New reader here. Totally agree with your first two points on Illayaraja's music. As a big fan of ARR I never hesitate to admit that each IR's song needs to be absorbed one note at a time.

    Do you have more of these type of scans? It is difficult to read few bars on the one posted here.

    Keep writing!

    :: Bharath

    Emjay said...

    Welcome, Bharath. I am sorry about the quality of the score sheet. I have couple of more like this that I will share. Please email me to

    kumar.s.r said...

    Emjay ,

    1 & 2 is for you / me .
    3 is for your brother / friend .

    You are the ' Madai Thirandhu Thaavum Nadhi Alai ' ,

    Just Flow !

    Kavi said...

    To Emjay aka Ilaiyaraja Veriyan,
    What you wrote is perfectly OK, as it is just an opinion. Being an ardent fan of IR myself I totally totally agree about the technical ingenuity of the maestro. TIS is one great example. Geniuses dont know how to market themselves or rather dont spend too much time on it.