Technical Celebration of Music - Part II
Vae Vaela Varnala...(Telugu)
Scale : Mohanam
December 11, 2002
is the second 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 has been composed for a joyful situation, wherein the character
in the film describes the natural geographic beauty around him.
The character expresses his feelings (of surprise and happiness)
while sailing in the fast moving river water. Notice that the
flow of tunes in this song is "musically" very close
to the flow of the river water.
on a symmetric pentatonic scale called Mohanam (SRGPD - CDEGA),
this song is a perfect example that describes how controlled deviations
from a selected scale should be handled, to create variety in
film music. This scale originally (according to carnatic music
theory) contains A natural (chathusruthi dha). But the composer
has made careful usage of A flat (shudha dha) at several places
in the song. The pallavi of the song begins with wonderful slides
woven with the notes surrounding the higher C. The second tune
(Alalu silalu...) is unique in that it sounds both A and
A flat, in a sequence.
charanam maintains the high spirits of the character by beginning
in the higher octave. The composers' creative mind can be seen
at the end of this tune, which flows down to A flat and finally
touches A (natural) before a tentative halt, after which the next
tune continues to the middle C.
amazing note combinations that constantly keep shifting between
the two kinds of A, are beyond the scope of any kind of description.
These shifts in particular, express the feeling of surprise (as
implied by the wonderful lyrics) and happiness in the mind of
the character in the film. The charanam ending on the higher E
is the most unexpected musical surprise in this song. The lyircs
for this last tune in the charanam, being a question (yaedha
.?), demonstrates the composer's ability
to grammatically blend a tune with the meaning of its lyrics.
(Note: I'm note aware if the song was tuned to the lyrics or the
lyrics were written to the tune).
use of vocals in the prelude and interlude, the chosen pitch and
tempo for this situation, are noteworthy. In this song, the composer
shows the importance of a prelude. Note that he brings the listeners
to the mood of the song as the song opens up with a wonderful
vocal hum and a bass back up. The colorful orchestration of the
prelude (vocals, keyboard, flute and tabla) sets the theme for
the rest of the song.
The composer fuses the music to the situation in the film with
a folk tune in the interlude. The female chorus backed up by a
folk percussion, followed by the flute, gives a true "classical
telugu folk" color to the song.
Thanks to Maestro Ilayaraja for giving us yet another song to
here to go to Maestro Ilayaraja's mainpage