What goes into making of a song?

Ram Vishnubhotla (vishnurx@frc.com)
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 09:54:48 -0400 (EDT)


   As expected there are only two people commented (so far) about my article.
   Krishna Kandadai sent me private mail and requested me to continue as it 
   might help him to know the basics of the music.

   Before I continue, I would like to take a minute and comment on the 
   songs mentioned by Sri Suryam and Ratnakar.

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 23:41:56 +0530
From: Suryam <Suryam@icodeindia.soft.net>
To: "'ghantasa@cs.wisc.edu'" <ghantasa@cs.wisc.edu>
Subject: RE: rAga, tALa & SRti mAlikalu

I quickly remember two more songs of this fashion ..

rAvE rAgamayI ... jayabhEri 

This song is composed in rAga abhEri (it is not a rAga mAlika) and set to 
AditALam. In the caraNam

sandhyalalO callaga sAgE callani gAlilO... 

It gives a feeling that there is change in tALa, but actually the tempo 
is changed (reduced) and still it is in AditALam. I request the list 
members to listen to the song one more time.

rasika rAja taguvAramu kAmA ... anArkali

This is also from the movie jayabhEri. This song is based on two rAgAs 
(it is even mentioned in the movie, before the song) kAnaDa and cakravAkam.
The singer gives the name vijayAnandacandrika to the rAga. Once again 
this is neither a rAgamAlika nor a tALamAlika.
In the other mail Sri Suryam quoted the song sivasankari...

This is composed in kAnaDa and it is neither a rAgamAlika nor a tALamAlika.

Regarding the mail from Ratnakar:

  Before I say anything about him, I need to say a little bit about 
myself. I did not learn (nor know) classical music. But there is a great 
influence of my elder brothers and sisters on me. I picked up the basics 
just out of interest and am glad to say that I enjoy music better now.

  Many of you might know that Ratnakar is my nephew. When he came to this 
country 7-8 years ago, he did not have any music background. Now he is 
learning classical music and enjoys music better. Now, I hear a lot of 
hindustAni rAgAs from him.

  There is a list of songs (close to 500 in number) that tells the name 
of the rAga and the movie name. If the members are interested I would 
like Sri Sreenivas Paruchuri to post it on this list. Many of the songs 
are sung by G in the list.

For those people who really wanted to learn/expose to basics of music:

   The E-TV show pADutA-tiyagA, is conducted by SPB and SPB is quoting 
numerous incidents of G's involvement in various compositions and his 
unique style of singing a song. I recommend these shows to the G music 
lovers as the show is dedicated to G. In one of the episodes, one of the 
contestants selected the song tushAra sItala sarOvarAna from the movie 
sAntinivAsam. The contestant did a wonderful job in reproducing the song, 
almost like leela. At the end SPB requested the contestant to reproduce a 
small bit of the song and explained that it is G unique way of composing 
hindOLam (the rAga). These incidents immediately remind the other 
composition of G in the same rAga. 

When SPB was young, he used to ask his father about various rAgAs (please 
note that he did not learn classical music in his life). His father gave 
the example of jaya kRSNA mukundAmurAri in pAnDurangamahatyam and told 
him that it is composed in mOhana (actually it is a rAga mAlika). 
Similarly the song pAlakaDalipai sEshatalpamuna in cenculaxmi is composed 
in kalyANi. So, the basic point here is to take some songs in a rAga and 
try to compare any other song that you may come across with the songs 
that you already know. Your listening patterns will automatically change 
with this outlook.


What goes into composing/practicing a song?

   Four years ago I had the oppertunity to spend a whole day with SPB and 
his orchestra practicing. I could not make out the head and tail of their 
terminology for at least an hour. Then slowly, I understood their laguage 
(music). It is very interesting to watch such an event than the actual 
concert. Each person knows his portion well (like a play) and the 
conductor starts the song with the usual 1,2,3....

I would like to quote two movie examples that involves compositions

1) In the movie jayabhEri, ANR tries to sing the song yamunAtIramuna in 
different rAgAs. He keeps changing the rAga as he was not happy with the 
outcome and finally settles in the rAga kalyANi (actually this is a 

2) In the movie bhakta jayadEva, ANR tries to sing the verse 
mEghaIrmEdura.. the sameway.

I'll continue on this topic in the next postings..


P.S:- I hope that my obsessive nature towards music did not cause any 
inconvenience to any.