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Illayaraja – The sensation – II

There’s innovativness seen with every instrument/instrument line he uses, he uses a lot of inversions, for example the starting sequence for the song – Engae en Jeevanae” from  the movie “Kalai Thendral” shows a EP piano playing a few notes, and the bass guitar accompanying with the first and fifth notes of the chord. Here the aspect to note is that, the EP track plays out the individual notes of the chord while the bass guitar plays the first and fifth note. He always makes sure that every song can be played or performed differently, it is so evident in the fact when Vaa Venilla is sung in the film “Mellai Threndhadhu”,  in a happy mood where Mohan and Amala dance ( from the scene where they are all gathered for a violin class) and a totally different arrangement when he goes to the birthday party of a college mate, where he sees amala again. Though the tempo/tune/meter/time signature of  
the song is the same, the rhythm change and it’s associated orchestration change makes it a completely different song.

I haven’t seen any other music director create musical passages with so much importance given to help the singer get to his starting note.  He is also probably the first music director to re-use the same tune for different emotions/scenes showing happiness or sadness, it is here IRs vast knowledge on notes/what note combinations can produce what feeling, and in what octave to play to get a required feel, helps. For example, a major chord signifies boldness, smartness etc ( play any major scale like C/F/G) and immediately if you play the minor variation of the same, you’ll get a different feel…there are so many such helper chords available like added 9th,5th,sus4,maj7 min7,augmented etc, when used in a proper sequence you can create so much of musical emotion just by playing these chords alone ( you don’t even have to change the base scale), couple such sequences to a beautiful video track and you get an amazing sequence.

He also makes sure that the emotions/feel the director wants to convey in a frame is heard through his music, a simple example is evident in the song “Katta Vaandi” from the movie – ” Sagalla Kalla Vallavan” , where Kamal makes fun of Amibka as her car stalled and that she had no other way to reach home untill Kamal comes in his old fashioned bullock cart, so keeping this situation in mind, the instrument IR uses for the Ist BGM of the song pefectly fits the shot/it’s required feel. Another blazing example is in the song ” Poovae
Sempoovae” from the move “Solla Thudikuthu Mannasu”  where the director wanted to show the rising tension/disbelief in Kartick’s face as he sees Licy on stage, to this effect IR uses a fast paced bass track, a fast drum track and skillfully placed strings/veena. He also ensures that every part/instrument has it’s own place, it;’s own specialty moments and signature.

Another notable aspect to his orchestration is the inter-mingling of notes with which he creates unbelieveable harmony – a striking example is the song “Kanmani Annbooda” from the movie “Guna”, just notice how the bass lines play along with the melody. His background score is even more amazing, one striking example – the background score of Anjali is heart rending, so is Hey RAM and Mouna Ragam.

More to follow…

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