Friday, August 20, 2010

A Counterpoint




Ganapathy Ram, who has been following this blog for a while, sent me an interesting observation of a background music cue in Thalabhadhi.

It is the scene in which Rajini comes to Arvind Swamy’s house and asks him to leave the city. A heroic trumpet piece, which I would call “Clash theme”, plays in all the scenes of confrontation between Arvind Swamy's group and Mamooty’s group. When Arvind Swamy comes to talk to Rajini, the clash theme proudly pronounces Arvind Swamy’s perception of this meeting – yet another verbal clash. When Arvind Swamy says “Bhayamuruthiriyaa”, Rajini replies “Illai, Kenji Kaetkuraen”, and in between Ilaiyaraaja brings the clash theme from a high-headed trumpet to a subdued Oboe. The real masterstroke is when in parallel strings play “Chinna Thaayaval” melody. While Oboe version of clash theme is to sound how Arvind Swamy perceives this conversation, the “Chinna Thaayaval” is to sound Rajini’s emotions.

Brilliance. Sheer Brilliance.



Also see Maestro's Masterpause

26 comments:

Ganapathy Ram said...

Thank you suresh for posting this and mentioning my name.

@others

I just pointed out the tunes and the instruments used and all are analysis by suresh himself

Raaja rules

Aakarsh said...

Suresh!

God is an understatement! I dont think even the best ever composers in the west can think like this!
We are blessed to be born in a generation where we are able to savour his magic.Bloody Genius to tallest order!

Suresh Kumar said...

Aakarsh - Amen!

V.P.Jaiganesh said...

ssooopar observation.
Indha maadhiri 800 films * 120(assuming atleast 2 hours of BGM per 2.30 hrs of movie) * 60 seconds of music analyse panna vendi irukku - just to "Really understand and feel" the genius of Raaja.
I will skip 180 seconds from this task now :-) or i can say one handful of cooked rice for a pot ful of cooked rice. Nah - thats lazy and pouring through every second of Rajamrutham is FUN of the highest order...

Suresh Kumar said...

V.P.JaiGanaesh - Listening, understanding and feeling every single bar of music that Ilaiyaraaja created and still creating is humanly not possible.

Even if one claims to have heard all his songs and understood them, there is no way he/she can watch all his films, listen to the background score and understand its nuances.

For me to understood this short piece in Thalabhadhi, which I must have atleast 30 times in all these years, it took nearly two decades. !!!

Vignesh Subramanian said...

Highly nuanced post Suresh... The brilliance of Raaja also needs to be looked at the context of how he arranged both the pieces..

The melodic structure of Oboe/ Trumpet is very minimalistic using just three notes... C,D and G.. or the strands of G Suspended 4th to be specifc(i.e., Sa Ri2 Pa)

This tune goes as
Sa Ri.. Paaaaa
Pa Ri
Sa Ri Ri Paaa..

and Chinna Thayaval is a loose Kaapi with both flavors of Ga. (For instance Chinna thaayaval = g3 m g2 r2g2 sa) which in itself is unorthodox for WCM

But Those three notes of Oboe/ Trumpet are like O+. They rather generic (in both minor as well as major scale) and can go well with any kind of melody including Kaapi..

My point is - had Raaja chose some other melodic structure to the oboe theme it is very difficult to say, it would have sounded nice with the tune of Chinnathayaval. I don't think he pays attention in retaining such musical aesthetics. Its an involuntary process for him that, musical integrity is a given in his thought process and he just focuses on the situation/ emotion etc.,

Other beautiful aspect in the short clip is the usage of silence. Music starts on such moments that the impact it has is magnified just due to its timing..

With Love
Vicky

Suresh Kumar said...

Vignesh Subramaniam - Thanks for explaining the technical nuances. Always a pleasure to read.

Timing - It is the most exciting aspect of Raaja's scores.

As Kamal says in MMKR, "ithellam appidiyae thaana varadhudhaan illai".. no composer, who deliberates so much mind and thought into doing a background score can do this..

Ganapathy Ram said...

As Kamal says in MMKR, "ithellam appidiyae thaana varadhudhaan illai"..///

+1

@vignesh subramanian

Thanks for all those info which were great and honestly i don't understand them, i mean the complexity in doing so, but still could grasp that it was something great

nitu_krishnan said...

Thanks for posting this scene.... My favourite in the movie. From 0:51 to 1:18, where rajini and shobana meet is the highlight. Brilliant usage of Sundari bgm. The way this short piece of 27 secs is architectured is IR's genius....He has not begun the bgm with "sundari kannal" tune, the instant they see each other, but rather has chose to begin with " naan unai neenga matten " tune...and then finish it with "sundari kannal"...IR is musically sensitive I guess...The lyrics and tune of "naan unai neenga matten" is more melting than "sundar kannal " tune. Hence he has framed it that way to create an impact....He is brilliant...

Suresh Kumar said...

Nitu_Krishnan - I find the use of Sundari even more brilliant in one of the other scenes in the film. I have posted about this before

http://www.backgroundscore.com/2009/04/maestros-masterpause.html

Dilip said...

super write-up by your friend. First time I am hearing oboe track. Never observed bfore

nitu krishnan said...

@ suresh Kumar..
Ya ! you are right.Its the same BGM but with sundari tune in flute..Haunting music

nitu krishnan said...

Can you please get the bgm of Puthukavithai where Jothi and Rajini meet after several years in the school...

Suresh Kumar said...

Nitu Krishnan - I remember that scene and BGM from PudhuKavithai. Interestingly, Raaja always uses the humming in the prelude of the song "Vellai Pura" more than the main melody in background score throughout the film.

nitu said...

@ Suresh kumar

Yup...the bgm of vellai pura in that scene is touching like sundari bgm in thalapathi. I tried to find it in youtube..but its not there...

Anonymous said...

@suresh ...The bgm of puthukavithai IS there in youtube...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb33v8mfHYg

NItu said...

@suresh ...The bgm of puthukavithai IS there in youtube...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb33v8mfHYg

V said...

This theme (very aptly named as "Clash" theme by you) is among my favourites in Raaja's themes. I used to enjoy the grandeur of this theme, when it is used in the riot scenes - before and after Mammootty's arrest.

Anonymous said...

so suresh it took you two decades to understand thalapathy's BGM PIECE..may be it would take 50 years to understand naan kadavul's BGM..especially the self realisation theme.the music started with naanunnai neenga matten is an irony used by IR who cheated the hero by leaving him.

Anonymous said...

so suresh it took you two decades to understand thalapathy's BGM PIECE..may be it would take 50 years to understand naan kadavul's BGM..especially the self realisation theme.the music started with naanunnai neenga matten is an irony used by IR blaming the heroine who cheated the hero by leaving him

Suresh Kumar said...

Anonymous - True. It might take even another lifetime for me to understand that.

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Muthu Vijayan said...

Hi Suresh, excellent find... I often read of your musical reviews but didn't visit for sometime....Just reading through Dhoni music review saw this post....Continue your excellent writing...

Suresh Kumar said...

Muthu Vijayan - Thank You ;-)

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