Sunday, November 30, 2008

Style of Illayaraja - Part II

Here is the audio clip of the final part (II) of the analysis of Illayaraja's style of music done by Dasarathy in an online radio channel.

Enjoy the clip..

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Style of Illayaraja - Part I

Dear All,

I am glad to reach you all with my 100th post. Your support has been a great inspiration for me to keep 7 Swara alive and grow strong.

I have got an interesting audio clip (from some internet radio website?.. not sure) to share with you all that analyzes the style of Illayaraja's composition very technically.

Please enjoy the clip and hope to get your continued support :)


Saturday, November 15, 2008


As we grow, most often, we don’t question why things happen the way it happens. In contrast, when we are very young, we tend to ask too many questions and tend to explore a lot. I guess, as we grow, we take things at its face value rather than questioning them.

The sound is nothing but vibrations composed of frequencies. When you pluck a string in guitar, it produces vibrations of the air molecules and our ear senses it as music. Have you ever wondered why Veena sounds different than Guitar even when playing the same note for the same length of time at the same loudness?

The theoretical explanation is that “Timbre” of the instrument makes it different. So, what is the “Timbre”? By definition, “Timbre” is the color of the sound. Like how, Yellow looks different than Blue, the sound quality and color is determined by Timbre. This helps to explain our problem at the 20,000 feet level and to get through the exam. Want to further deep dive? Read on..

Take a String of a particular length and pluck the string in the middle. You will hear a sound at a particular frequency (say) f. This frequency is called “fundamental frequency”.

Now, reduce the length of the String by half and pluck the string again. Now, you will hear a sound at a higher frequency. (To be precise, the frequency will be doubled – 2f). If reduce the length of the String by one-third, the frequency will triple – 3f. Theoretically, if you consider the String as two segments, each segment vibrates at twice the fundamental frequency. If you consider the String consisting of 3 segments, then, each segment vibrates at thrice the fundamental frequency. And so on..

Hence, theoretically, there are infinite frequencies consisting that are multiples of fundamental frequencies (i.e.) 2f, 3f, 4f, 5f and so on. These frequencies are called harmonics. So, each note from any instrument is a complex wave containing more than one frequency.

Timbre of the instrument is mainly determined by this harmonics and other dynamic characteristics of sound like attack-decay envelope of the sound. This Timbre makes oboe sound different than (say) flute.

Rest in next.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Let us Physics

I did my schooling in Kendriya Vidyalaya in Karaikudi and I very well remember the first time my Physics teacher showed us a tuning fork and wrote the principles of resonance and harmonics on the black board. It was a matter of a 2 mark question vs a 5 mark question as far as I was concerned. If it were a 10 mark question, I even had a choice to skip as I have to answer only 10 out of 12 questions :)

I want to speak just for myself. I don't think the system in place is conductive to let students explore and learn practically. The whole system in place, in my opinion, is result and rank driven.

The concept of resonance and harmonics could have been better explained so that I wouldn't have to by-heart the damn definition that I potentially forgot by the time I stepped in to the examination hall!! It's a shame that I am learning resonance and harmonics now, but, I feel good to know now than never.

Take a guitar and you notice that strings are tied with a tension to the ends of a wooden block. Now, pluck one of the string and you hear a note. Now, try to take the same string and hold both the ends in the same tension at two ends of the wall and try to pluck it again.

Do you hear the same note? That's the damn resonance that produces the note in former case!! The shape of the guitar wooden box is well designed for a reason to produce resonance and that is what results in the note that you hear. More in next.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good for heart

I must never get any heart ailments in my life time, if pundits are true! Yes, Keeravani raga is supposed to be good for heart and Raaja has given us innumerable Keeravani based songs. The more and more you pay attention to the nuances how Keeravani raga has been handled by Raaja, I really wonder, if anything in Keeravani is left unexplored!!

But, the Keeravani based numbers aren't stopping. Even recently in Uliyin Osai, Raaja gave some good piece in Keeravani. Here is the scale for Keeravani: S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N3

Clearly, there aren't any dissonant notes (vivadhi swaras). A perfect scale for melody. If an various permutation combinations of these notes were tried using an algorithm, you might cover pretty much a big spectrum of Raaja's Keeravani based songs.

Some of the famous Keeravani based songs in Illayaraja's composition are:

Kaatril Endhan Geetham (Johnny)

Un Kuthamma En Kuthamma (Azhagi)
Unna Nenaichaen Paattu Padichaen (Apoorva Sagotharargal)

Nila Adhu Vaanathu Mele (Nayakan)

Keeravaani Keeravaani (Paadum Paravaigal)
Ennulle Ennulle (Valli)
Povoma Oorkogalam (Chinna Thambi)

Ennai Thaalaatta Varuvaalo (Friends Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai)
Kaalathai Vendra Kalaignan (Uliyin Osai)

The key thing to note here is how Illayaraja has used Keeravani in a wide array of situations. Starting from a "Ekkam" to "Sogam" to "Romantic" to "Dappanguthu" - has used the same Raaga. In some cases, he has taken advantage of his orchestration skills to use the same tune both in a happy and sorrow situation in the same movie.

For instance, "Povoma Oorvolam" from Chinna Thambi re-appears in the climax as "Nee Enge Naan Inge" with the same tune based on same raaga, but with a complete different orchestration. Thanks to Keeravani that is flexible and doesn't pose a stiff challenge, unlike other Raagas.

Let us deal with Keeravani more in my subsequent posts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Isaignani in a book release function

I came across a video where Illayaraja participated and gave a speech in a book release function. I think it might be a bit old news.. Still, if you are an ardent fan of Raaja, you don't want to miss this ...

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Contest

Here is a small fun game..

Please hear this clip and guess which song in Tamil was heavily inspired by this piece.

Watch out this space for the answers in a couple of days.