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The Golden Era of Tamil Music... The Golden Era of Tamil Music...

Topic started by Vishvesh Obla (@ on Wed Feb 21 15:28:41 EST 2001.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

Listening to a few old tamil songs always reminds me of the golden era of Tamil Cine Music. The two decades from the late fifties seems to me to have produced the best light music in Tamil. The golden era not only belongs to MSV (&Ramamoorthy) but also minor composers like AM Raja and V Kumar who could create music which has taste and inspiration behind it. Perhaps the formative years of Tamil Cine Music had an element of genuine inspiration behind it that could shape the musical sense of even the minor composers.

I have observed the songs belonging to this era having a kind of organic fluidity that is so natural to good music. The tunes flow to the natural sequence of music and don't have the strain of an artificial imagination at all. The accidental notes fall so perfectly in their places and add charm instead of a jarring sound as one hears in modern tamil cine music. Take for instance a song like "Unnidam Mayangugiraen". It varies in its rhythm and tune so differently but as a whole it is so beautifully synthesized that it adds so much of beauty and charm to the tune as a whole. The variation of tune sequence (or the scale) in those songs always seems to blend and not forced as one sees in the songs today.

They still appeal to the music lover, for there is the charming simplicity of the tune which combines elegantly with the better lyrics (mostly from Kannadasan, who had a fine sense of the beauty and more importantly, a good sense of sound in Tamil Language). The lyrics, hence, came naturally without any forced or exaggerated poetic association. One notices that those songs don't involve much complex orchestration of modern light music, but nevertheless are so musically elegant ; there isn't any forced imagination ; no aping of Western music as in modern light music. We mostly find the composer in his natural elements trying to synthesize a musical expression in a medium 'native' to his sense of music. Even a later composer like Ilayaraja is original most of the times when he tries his hand at folk music with which he grew up with.

In contrast, today's tamil cine music seems to appeal to us only by the hi-fi sound effects and rarely by any musical sense. There is always the annoying monotony, one who has any musical sense, observes. I wouldn't say that the songs of the earlier period were all so creatively diverse in their compositions. One can't expect such a thing in a lesser form of music as light music. But then there was at least that part of experimenting and a genuine attempt to create something from the musical sense that was less falsified in its inspiration. The composer of those times, as one can observe, had a kind of devotion to music, which didn't just have commercial interests alone. It is seldom seen today.

It seems to me that it is more than a question of taste and listening pleasure alone when one responds to tamil film music of its formative period. Ain't it so?...


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