Technical Celebration of Music - Part III
Scale : Sudha Dhanyasi
December 26, 2002
is the third in the series of articles celebrating the music of
Maestro Ilayaraja, from a technical standpoint. The article treats
the Maestro's music as a textbook on music composition and presents
certain technical and non-technical nuances in his music that
may be of interest to students of music composition and orchestration
as well as to listeners with a technical background in carnatic
and western classical music.
content presented in this article is just an observation made
by the author. Please feel free to indicate any analytical errors
that you may find.
song is a romantic melody based on the symmetric pentatonic scale,
Sudha Dhanyasi (S G2 M1 P N1/C Eflat F G Bflat). The calm and
sober nature of the characters in the film are perfectly reflected
by the soft voice timbre that the singers maintain throughout
this song. This song is characterized by a controlled use of chord
progressions and mild contrapuntal texture, unlike the composer's
usual compositions which emphasis on these elements of harmony.
This could probably be attributed to the story of the film which
is based on a traditional south Indian backdrop. However, the
amazing string arrangements that have been written for this song,
represent the ability of the composer to use western orchestration
for an Indian scenario.
song begins with a wonderful solo vocal in the higher octave (
note that the ri that is sounded right in the first phrase of
the solo vocals , is not part of the underlying scale). The solo
voice and the chorus accompaniment followed by the strings (violins),
veena and flute backed up by the rhythm pattern on the tabla,
mark a typical Ilayaraja way of beginning a song.
first interlude that opens up with the use of the "thavil"
(percussion instrument) and an arrangement of strings (interleaved
with a dulcimer kind of instrument) speaks of the unusual orchestration
skills of the composer. This is immediately followed by a combination
of tabla, veena and flute in a sort of contrasting tempo.
second interlude proceeds like a dialogue between the strings,
flute and vocals. It begins with a dialogue between the strings
and flute. The vocals are then introduced followed by an harmony
between the strings and vocals that produces a romantic mood for
the situation. The strings and the flute have a final dialogue
before the interlude leads to the charanam.
pallavi and charanam of this song are interesting with respect
to the flow of melodies in them. The pallavi begins on the lower
pa and gradually moves towards the middle pa (anuvu anuvu...)
and finally touches the higher sa (sumadhanuvu...), and
falls back through a series of notes in descent, to start off
once again. The flow of notes start from the lower pa and move
till the middle pa.(though the higher sa is touched just once).
This flow is further continued in the charanam that begins on
the middle ni. The melodies gradually move touwards the higher
sa (kalala koumudilo....) and finally touch the higher
ga (kougilinthaluga...). Note the gradually movement of
the phrases from the lower pa (in the pallavi) to the higher ga
(at the end of the charanam).
Also an interesting point to note in the last part of the charanam,
is the word "kougilinthaluga", the "ga" in
this word matches with the note that is sung , ga (Eflat). A similar
feature can be found at the end of the first charanam also. I'm
not aware whether the lyrics were written before the song was
Thanks to Maestro Ilayaraja for giving us yet another song to
here to go to Maestro Ilayaraja's mainpage