Saturday, June 27, 2009

Math and Music - Part II

Hello All !

In my previous posts, I had emphasised the importance of mathematical patterns, predictable sequencesand symmetry in music. It would not be fair to say that applying these forumula in music alone will make a musical hit. However, it plays a big role and I wish to talk about one such formula today, that I call "Break the sequence".

Here is an interesting sequence -
131 131 131 421
The interesting part here is the sequence "1 3 1" is repeated over and over again and the sequence is deliberately broken in the last by "4 2 1". The repetition of sequence and breaking it gives birth to melody. Illayaraja has used this pattern in 100s of his songs and I want to highlight some famous ones:

"ABC Nee Vaasi So Easy Un Raasi Vaa Rosi" song from Oru Kaidhiyin Dairy. If you assign Sa = 1, Ri = 2, Ga = 3 and so on, the swara sequence goes like this:

312 312 312 312 521

"Vaanile Thenila Aaduthe Paaduthe Vaanampadi" song from "Kaakki Chattai"
The sequence goes like this:
121 121 121 121 1442

"Vizhiyil Vizhundhu Idhayam Nuzhaidhu Uyiril Kalandha Urave"
The sequence goes like this:
888 777 555 444 111 001

Wow!!! Mere avarohanam played in a sequence of "Sudha Dhanyasi" scale. Oh God! I can't believe, he created a magical with such a simplicity. The beauty and melody lies when the sequence breaks at "Urave".

The super famous "Thakida Thathimi" has a sequence:
123 123 123 123 1 2 3

This is a different way of breaking the sequence. Not in swaras, but in the time signature. If the first 4 sets has a quarter note signature, the last part broke the sequence by a half note!

Another variation of the sequence in "Solai Poovil Maalai Thendral Paadum Neram" from "Vellai Roja":
88 88 88 88 7 6 7 8
We can go on and on by illustrating several sequences Raaja has employed in his hundreds of songs. Some of the others include:

Siriya Paravai Siragai Virithu Thudikiradhe
Naan Enbadhu Nee Allavo Deva Devi
Raathiriyil Poothirukkum Thaamarai Thaan Penno
Oru Kanam Oru Yugam Aaga
Kaalam Kaalam Aaaga Vaazhugindra Kaadhalukku Nangal Arpanam
Vidiya Vidya Nadanam Sandhosham
Arumba Arumba Saram Thodutha
Poovil Vandu Koodum Kangal Moodum Vandhu Odum
Iru Vizhiyin Vazhiye Nee Dhaan Ingu ponadhu
Innum Ennai Enna Seyya Poogirai
Iravum Pagalum Ulagai Rasikka Ninaithathu
Aalapol Velapol
Onnu Rendu Moonu Naalu

I will meet you all in my next post with different patterns that Raaja has used.


Sudhakar Govindarajan said...

WoW. These are wonderful analysis! Raja'vin isayil pudhiya parimaaNangaLai uNarndhu koLLa sandhOshamaga irukkiradhu!

Sowmya said...

What to say..Very beautifully you put down your theory ! Amazed by this information. Thank you :)

naarayanan said...

music is aesthetic maths.there are so many patterns like this used by raja. i wud like to share one.

in the song, 'padum vanampadi', there is a beautiful pattern in the first interlude. the phrase played in the veena goes like this.

srrg gmmp pddn nsnd p.s.

1223 3445 5667 7876 5.8.

he has beautifully captured the essence of keeravani in this phrase by touching all the swaras of arohanam with a beautiful pattern.

and when he ends the pattern with p...s.. we get a feel of the 'paadum vanampadi', the voice of the singing cuckoo.

naarayanan said...

in the above sequence if we leave the first note sa, i.e.1, then we have a simple janta varisai, rr gg mm pp dd nn.

listen to the clip here.