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MSV - IR - ARR - A Comparison in Styles MSV - IR - ARR - A Comparison in Styles

Topic started by On behalf of pennathur (@ on Fri Apr 4 22:54:00 EST 2003.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

From: pennathur (@ on: Fri Apr 4 16:45:28 EST 2003

This is not an invitation to flamethrowing but a request to consider things calmly. MSV vs. IR vs. ARR creation of melody, harmony and sound. MSV belongs to an earlier era and what strikes you most about his creations is their mettin azhuttam. The melodies are sprung from his creative core and the tunes compel you to go back and listen to them for their inherent depth. This especially when you listen to the few songs that he has himself sung - they are the best examples of his output. Take "jagamE chandiram sugamE mandiram" in NinaithAlE inikkum or "ikkaraikku akkarai pachE" (where's that song on dhool?) "sollathan ninaikkiren" or the only(?) song he has sung in Malayalam for "PaNi teerada Veedu". some of his best numbers have been in remakes of popular Hindi movies where he has had to provide an entirely fresh set of melodies for an audience that associates the theme and plot with a very poular set of melodies. MSV excelled himself in "Sivakamiyin selvan" with "Inbatthilum Tunbatthilum sirithidu magaLE" where he scored a number which was every bit as poignant and memorable as Sachinda's song in "Aradhana". These days no one does that. ARR compsed movies are dubbed or remade into Hindi merely to give his already poular songs a fresh run of the market. IR has tuned songs for a few Hindi movies where he has used his Tamil melodies or even taken them out of context - the Sadma Suresh Wadkar number took a maruppiravi in the Rajni-Madhavi starred "Tambi Uurukku pudusu" (Hamsalekha composed a fresh set of numbers for the Kannada remake of this movie). IR seems to have changed the earlier practice of fresh composing when he started composing for the remake as well. Take "Turpe Vellu Railu" Telugu remake of "Kizhakke pOgum Railu" where SPB has scored some awesome numbers including the little known gem "Ko ante Ko ante Ko Ko).

That brings us back to the subject of compositional objectives. For MSV the melody has always been the core of his work. Even later on when his orchestration began to falter his melodies never did. However in those days caught up as we were in IR's symphonic deluge many of us like me ignored MSV's rock solid melodic lines. But now with the benefit of time when you turn back to listen to IR and MSV from the same time you will find some very solid MSV melodies with some prettty mediocre IR tunes - Please note this is a comparison of IR to MSV not IR to me! . Take the NandalAlA number from "Simla Special" which despite its lousy orchestration sounds exactly like a stage song or "VanDina vanDidAn idu VanDidAn" from "MELa tALangaL" which you feel like going back to listen to over and over again. In contrast take some of IR's compositions from the same period which today are embarassing and eminently forgettable - "Appane Appane PiLLayAr Appane" in Devar's Annaior Alayam" with Rajani/Sripriya or "Wahre Wah - sugam taaren taa" with KJY/SJ (most inappropriately) in "Pudukkavidai". The "iLami edO edO" in "Sakalakalavallavan" or the numbers in "Payum Puli" (does anyone remember them?) are all of the same category. Like all composers IR became obsessed with a few instrumental flourishes that were totally unnecessary. For instance the electric guitar flourish that ends the prelude in the Malaysia sung "ALLithanda boomi" in Nandu is totally superfluous. When I played this otherwise beautiful song to non-Tamil friend I had to prevent him from hitting stop after the guitar flourish! IR has composed some awesome interludes - but did these songs really need them? While the first interlude (a classical guitar plucking) in Paruvame (Nenjathai kiLLade) is necesary does the interlude in "PoonthaLir AAda" really add value to the already tuneful melody? IR has used innumerable instruments in innumerable ways - no doubt. Sometimes however these seem more like embellishments rather than organic parts of the song. A display of virtuosity. In that sense IR's opus is not orchestrally constructed it is orchestrally embellished with the coice taking a slight backseat. In contrast in MSV's songs it is the voice that initiates the turns, twists, swings and and highs and lows. That's probably why my favourite IR numbers are not the popular ones. Take Meendum Kokila - my favourite is "Hey oraayiram". I can't stand "Kanna Kanna nee enge" and positively detest "Chinnanchiru Vayadil..." with its predictable tani-avartanam!

ARR is in that sense definitely post-MSV/IR. His kind of music is first of all a product of a very differernt relationship with the musician and singers he uses - with most of them having come through earlier informal association; an urbanised upbringing; a business savvy approach; greater understanding of today's trends and needs etc. Of these ARR's understanding of the south vs. Non-South taste is simply brilliant. His Tamil songs and Hindi songs are very clearly for different audiences. His orchestration is definitely post-IR in form, content and delivery. MSV starts with a strong melodic track and clothes it with music. IR starts with sometimes a strong track and sometimes a flat track (take a flat unremarkable track like adi aatthaadi in KadalOra... compared to a well tuned Chinnappa daas daas) and embellishes it with first rate orchestration.

ARR in contrast starts with a few bars and builds up the entire song brick by brick. The bars will stay with you. Some of his instrumental flourishes are simply unforgettable - eg the cello in Kya Karen ya Naa Karen.. in Rangeela. His style combines the best of 1960s/70s rock and 1950s jazz composition. A few instruments used to dramatic effect. Rock n'Roll's greatest achievement has been in its ability to create timeless unforgettable music based on the work of informal composition and untrained musicians using just the guitar, drums and a honky tonk piano. That phae is now over and we will never hear the kind of music that the 1960s and 70s churned out. We will never hear another "Don't get fooled again" (The Who) or "Stairway to Heaven" or "Revolution". ARR's songs are best suited for a plain guitar strumming backed rendition with a few simple chords. MSV's are too heavy for a simple rendition and large parts of IR's repertoire are simply not meant to be delivered with a single instrument.

IR doesn't seem to be producing orchestration laden songs like he used to (Please don't point to Guru - it is an OK album and will not stand against a single work of K.Ravindran of HH Abdullah fame). His latest successes are all in the old style - simple orchestration and heavy on melody. It is in fact a distinct attempt to get away from the space ARR occupies which IR has unsuccessfully tried to cater to (albeit thru YSR and KR). Some of his best numbers have been from the unforgettable Avatharam and Sethu. We have probably seen only about 20% of what this genius is capable of and we will continue to hear more in the years to come. Here's to wishing IR a hearty quarter century and looking forward to the next 75 years from this genius!

Comments welcome! Cycle chain, soda bottle and other implements (including veLLa vaa - pathukkurEn) - prohibited


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