Film music belongs to the popular music genre.
My experience of observation at Chennai ‘s music directors:
I have been into the field of Indian Music and musicology with a fairly long and deep study.
Every time I am in a studio with a director, small or big, new or experienced, I get a deep sense of gratification in terms of learning. I understand what all I missed in my pursuit elsewhere.
Always claiming that they are not competent with the classical genre, almost all of the music directors have a grip over ragas much deeper and wider than most of the initiated. The compulsion of having have to create a new tune every time with a new song, keeps them continuously exploring as all music is restricted to move within the 12 note gamut. And popular music gives them an immense possibility due to non restriction by grammatical means of a raga.
Their brain is globalized. They are formally educated on the chord system. Their rhythm is perfect as they go by the western beat. Absolute time measure. Their pitching is based on the keyboard supported by the music software to perfect them.
Many of them are very well conversant with the orchestral music. What else do you need to score one up above the pure classical musicians in terms of creation and reach to the audience?
Talking about Shri Ilayaraja, he has a profundity in multiple dimensions. He is a true scholar who has taken pains to perfect all genre of music. Few are they who have a combination of hard work and impeccable accumulation of knowledge. A rare gem who also was rewarded amply in due time for his excellence.
A scale (or a murchana ) is a cluster of notes. When they are aligned in an organized ascent and descent, an aroha and avaroha are born respectively. A mere aroha and avaroha cannot make a raga. The definition of the pitch position of each note (dha2 can happen in various colours according to the raga. Just the utterance of a note can indicate the raga. Such should be the expertise), the range of each note the type of ornamentation employed on a note, the speed in which the note occurs or the sequential changes that takes place (for example Ga in Todi) within the raga etc. contribute to the transition of a mere aroh avroh into a beautiful raga.
Coming to the raga identification aspect of film songs, I have my own humble opinion. I believe in enjoying the song and its music as it is without dissecting it and trying to have a futile attempt of assigning a raga, which runs on a strict grammatical periphery. I have seen the employment of one particular scale while having a pronounced chaya of a closely allied raga. And believe me I felt, to hell with the grammar! Notes of one raga and the colour of another.
Raja Sir’s compositions need one full time thesis. He has taken several challenges and proved his mettle. He broke the unspoken law of superior music or learning as belonging to a privileged few. While catering to the common mass he could serve it on the most intellectual platter.
Now at last to this song ‘Amude Tamizhe’. Some of you were wondering whether it is valachi (Valaji actually). Well Valaji employs SGPDNS & SNDPGS. This raga is a janya of Harikambodi the 28th mela grouped under Bana Chakra.
The Song Amude Tamizhe is composed without any doubt or ambiguity offering tremendous scope for analysis. The scale could be like this SRGPDS & SDPGRS. It uses Shadhja,
I have not heard or learnt a raga like this. I had to refer a few books which have glossary of scales. Mr. M.N.Dandapani and Mrs. D. Pattammal was a darling couple doing a lot of quiet work. ‘Ragapravaham’ is a work by them and an immensely commendable one. I base my observation on Ragapravaham.
This scale comes under Suryakantam the 17th Mela in the third chakra, Agni. The name of the raga is listed as Varnarupini. The use of ri and ga have been done with supreme clarity. In the case of dha, I would like to explain a particular rule pertaining to application. The chatusrutika dha, if followed by Kaisiki Ni, then it normally gets flattened slightly and in my group for our convenience we used to call it as trisrutika dha. If Dha 2 is followed by Kakali Ni, then the Dha is invariably sharp. (According to the Mela, dha is proceeded by Kakali Ni or Ni2.) Now I have already said that the composition uses a predominant Trisrutika Dha which normally adds lilt as a character. In the first part he used this note.
The second half uses a definite Chatusrutika Dha which gives a whole new colour to the composition.
The song starts like this SRGA SRGA SRGPGRSA SRSDSA for Amude Tamizhe Azhagiya Mozhiye Enaduyire. Then comes the establishment of his deep knowledge in the classical karnatak music. SRSRGPRGPA for Sugam Pala Tarum Tamizh
By completing the Pallavi he also has established the aroh and avroh.
Now the BGM. This gives a new vista to the scope of this scale in its concluding phrases. At the end it goes like this: DASP DASP DSGA and this da-sa-ga makes a jump to a newer dimension – a sea change. While adhering to the classification of the notes perfectly, he changes the tonal colour of the notes deliberately. This type of a deliberate deviation is called bhashanga in the classical parlance. But that one happens on the change of a note itself. This genius of a man changes just the tonal colour by minute shruti variation and brings about a gigantic change in the contour of the composition.
Now the second section of the song uses the sharper dha clealy. When deviations are sought out of aesthetic impulses or compulsions the original law is resorted to at least once. The sharper dha application in this composition makes one wonder, is this how the greats worked out the process of crystallizing the raga contour?
The second BGM is a treat with regard to the Nagaswaram parts.
Songs like this can be taken for Raga analysis. But please dont make it a point to assign a raga for every song that is beautiful. Appreciate them as they are. They need not get a stamp after all!!! Padmasani (Chin's Mom)