Monday, July 28, 2008

Tuning india... A R Rahman

I am going to gush about A R Rahman in this article.
Not just because he is the most talented
music director and arranger on the block,
just simply
because he has done us all a phenomenal service
- he has proven that we can,
as a nation of music-loving, music-making people,
find a delicate balance.

This is not merely a balancing
of styles, tastes and preferences
but of perspectives.
He has made it possible for us
to have the music of our times presented in such
a well-organised, classy package.

No fuss or frills,
but well-conceived music delivered with aplomb.
It manages the quintessential amount of lyrical classicism
with absolutely edgy,
grip-the-corner- of-your-seat

Listening to his music makes me think of
yellow autos on New York streets,
skyscrapers reaching the sky in Mylapore all at once.
The beauty lies in the fact that Rahman
makes such zany collages seem plausible.

I am listening to the track
Kabhi Kabhi Aditi from Jaane Tu ...
on my personal stereo.
It is peppy and uplifting.
However, what I love about it, is its ability
to traverse across style and mindsets.
It has a moving bass
that can appeal to the younger audience,
a tidily crafted melodic line that can move
the more musically oriented and it has lyrics that are clean,
crisply rendered and quite adorable.

The overall effect,
including the detailing of the various nuances of
Rashid Ali's voice
(who, if he is reading this,
should know that he has found a very loyal fan)
in the repetitive alaaps in the end are precisely monitored.

I do not know
if everyone agrees with this observation,
but Rahman is not merely
a craftsman representing our spirit.
He is the spirit.

This is India now,
a microcosm of several styles
and cultures peppered with tradition
and bursting with confidence.

This is the India
that moves on horizontal time,
each individual leading multiple lives and careers.

It is the India
that believes in possibilities and alternatives,
and no longer rushes to linear
conclusions to every decision problem.
Each of these Indias find
an echo in Rahman's music score.

With their juxtapositions of different styles,
the mixtures of varied voices and the ever-present surprise
element in each song
(a guitar riff that sounds different,
a voice that sounds unique or an instrument
one does not associate with a certain mood),
Rahman's music truly accompanies the rhythms
of our extremely colourful modern-day reality.

When Rahman attempts a remix
(try Pon Magal Vandhal from Azhagiya Tamizh Magan),
it still exceeds expectations.
A classical infusion
(like, Narumugaye from Iruvar)
works equally well, and an all-out
'dance the night away'
number (like a Fanaa from Yuva)
proves difficult to dismiss easily.

When I saw the publicity material for
Bombay Dreams
near Columbus Circle in New York two years ago,
my heart gave a lurch.
On that unaccustomed earth,
with the wind swirling the temperature down
to sub zero levels,
I still felt my face grow warm watching
the Broadway crowd crowding up
to get tickets to watch an Indian production.
Having lived in the United States at a time that world attitude
towards all things Indian gradually went through a transformation
"poor nation with potential"
"knowledge experts and entertainment gurus"),
I found Rahman's music to be
a fitting companion score to India's zeitgeist.

In my ongoing crusade to excite more and more
composers of original sound,
and the need for Indian musicians
(classical film, whatever)
to expose themselves to as many global influences
and thought processes as possible,
I find myself returning to Rahman's music
as perhaps the most important development
in Indian sound in a long time.

India is a truly global player and its music
should be elevated to the greatest heights possible.
With our own, extremely evolved classical grammar
and our natural tendency to adapt and assimilate
with the global community,
I think that the possibilities for Indian music

are as expansive as our collective imagination.

i received this message from my yahoo group mate.i felt this as very i'm now here sharing this message with you...............

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A noble man called Rahma

Noted music composer A R Rahman, has ambitious plans up his sleeve.

In spite of his busy schedule, he has started the K M School of Music to promote and propagate Indian and Western music. He has now gone a step ahead and is aspiring to help aged musicians who are suffering due to various reasons.

'It has been my dream for a very long time to help musicians, especially aged ones who are now unable to perform,' said Rahman in a recent interview.

However, the 'Mozart of Madras' feels that he cannot run the show effectively all alone. 'I need some others too to work for this noble cause. If anyone comes forward, I will join them.'

Rahman is flying high currently for he would be composing music for the movies starring two big stars of Indian cinema - Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. This soft-spoken music composer par excellence is scoring music for ‘Marmayogi’ and ‘Robot’ simultaneously.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

how rahman composes music for a film-part 4

What do u mean by a Track ?* Many people have different definitions of tracks . "Track" is not a musical keyword but it pretty software related. We divide a tune into several sound parts. Every channel has a baud rate frequency. For example if you hum a voice in a low scale u may call it as a track 1. The song "Jaage Hain" goes very high enough to be called as track 15 . Empirically track is a pitch depth value versus volume. The intersection of the graph is the resonant value. This value is what the purest and the "Virgin tune" we call. It is difficult to acheive this reasonable value due to several reasons but Rahmans studio is feature adapted to it. Almost 99% of his songs are reasonabaly valued . We heard a lot of spectra sonics stuff in Rang de Basanti. Especially the amazing pads from spectra sonics atmosphere. He's also been using swarplug, an Indian instrument plug in, which can be heard in water and the background score of RDB. The santoor you hear in "Chanchan" from Water is actually swar plug doing the job. Its easy to use software but it ain't easy to create stuff with software. Samples are an easy way out and most music directors are going the samples way because its easier and quicker. This includes people like Salim Sulaiman sadly, they lack tunes. Himesh, lacks creativity and singers, Shankar Ehsaan Loy , these three guys are actually pretty good, Sandeep Chowta. He's not even a music director according to criticism, more a DJ kinda fellow. Someone like Rahman, takes the pain of creating his own samples as well apart from using purchased ones. Now thats a huge difference. This combined with the responsibility of making path breaking tunes is a big big task. Make no mistake about it. What thus we say can be summed up thus give the same equipments, computers, keyboards, the musicians, the software, the samples etc. To any other music director in the country they still cannot match A R Rahman it takes a genius to create something extraordinary like he does. Being the user of these sound editing softwares we can give us suggestions. The usage of sound editing softwares such as Neundo, Cubase ,Sonar and Logic is very helpful and reduces our work in the technician point of view. Though these sounds are pleasant and filling they spoil the naturalizing of the song. But Rahman' comprehension on the editing softwares and plugins and using them in his songs and BGM is fantastic. A R Rahman is the one ,who has large collections of samples in Asia.

will be continued.................

Monday, June 30, 2008

how rahman composes music for a film-part 3

*Composing Back Ground Music*

He doesn't actually sees the entire movie , he makes the director explain
the entire script 100% and in every details and then asks for a demo.
However the first version of BGM he gives is modified and re modified
numerous time after seeing the film. The BGM for the movie Guru was modified
just a month before the public release. Rang de Basanti BGM was actually
purely on script. Some parts of the movie was modified as per the BGM.
Remember the scene when the rebels walked into the radio station and the
music that comes behind it. The scene was actually pretty different but
according to the music it was modified and the modifications came in their
walking style, check the scene carefully you will find their feet falling on
the ground as per the music tune. Rahman composed this music for a period of
two years. If he really took two years to compose the films music then see
his dedication. Amazing.

*Rahman's recording and mixing*

Not just Rahman, about all music composers use loops or samples which they
buy from distributers like Sony or Apple. Its like instead of calling a
performer like a guitarist to perform for his/her song a composer buys his
recorded piece and uses it. These pieces are royalty free its like the
guitarist sells it to Sony on an agreement and Sony distributes it through
out the world. That is why you find same sound effects in two different
songs of Rahman some times. Loops are not necessary to be only a single
note. It can be chords or even a piece or a scratch.

How many of you have noticed this in Rahman songs especially those who are
musicians. All his songs irrespective of the mood has a constant 'pads' or
'strings' backing. The chords played with the pads and strings is also not
conventional. They are the 7ths, 11ths or Diminished chords. They give the
song a 'feeling', a 'soul'. Quite Technical

A classic example is the song "Thirupachi Arivalaa" from Taj Mahal. Check
out the pads in the songs. Another is "Aye Udi Udi" from Saathiya. Remove
the pads these songs become soul-less and very plain.

The only other person who uses this same method is Harris Jayaraj. And for
sure he learned it from Rahman .Wonder if more music directors should do the

A R Rahman started learning Indian classical and Carnatic classical in 1992.
Since almost all his songs are Raga based just wanted to clarify that he
learned classical before or after 1992.

How does he compose a new tune. Does he play it in his piano or does he
write the swaram or how does he go about conceiving a song out of nowhere
and create a master piece.

Its a fact that no softwares in the world can create a tune. The people who
learned music will laugh their stomachs out if someone tells them that Tere
Bina or any song is a product of a software. Now what can a software do.
What does Rahman do in his studio with all those softwares. Why does he
always updates his software. It is very simple. Just a brief concept.

1. Rahman records a songs over a period of 10-15 days. A singer sings one
song perhaps innumerable time till Rahman gives a hands up. Once that signal
has been got the singer realizes that his job is done . Now rahman sits over
his singing and edits the bad parts and couples all the best parts and after
another day of hard work the singers work is ready. The singer never sang
that song continuously but his best parts are selected and sampled .

2. Rahman then records music or what you call as BGM. After that he mixes it
with the vocal part. Then suddenly he may realize that both of them don't
gel well in frequency. And then frequency division modulation takes place.
Its a huge process friends which very well packs the music and vocal part.

3. Let us take an example of Shreya Ghosal. Rahman needs Shreya Ghosal to
sing in track 15 ie the Highest. But Shreya can sing only till 11. So what
can Rahman do. Let her sing in track 8 -9 in which she is comfortable and
then simply phase modulates the vocal to appear as if she sang in track 15.
This is a very costly process and risky too so Rahman has done it only 5-6

So A R Rahman is a genius , not a technician. He uses softwares but doesn't
use to "produce" tunes. Instead he use them so effectively to "edit" tunes.
And that is why perhaps he is the best. He uses Technology but his
originality is maintained in each song.

A software has no brains. It will do what you tell it to do. So if anyone
program his software to sing "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" then yes, you are right.
Software can produce tunes. And everyone is pretty sure Rahman uses custom
made softwares. The bottom line is Softwares Do Not Produce Tunes.

will be continued..................

how rahman composes music for a film-part 2

Mixing songs*

He does all programming on Logic and also mix in Logic then he makes some
pre mixes, like all choruses in two tracks, drums in two tracks, bass in one
track if stereo then in two tracks and then he bounces all the tracks to
EUPHONIX to give some analog warmth. But Rahman uses all Logic plugins FX.

Everyone is using Logic from Salim Sulaiman to Shankar Ehsaan and Loy. Logic
is just like a Pen and Paper for a Poet. Rahman doesn't need any Logic even
he can use any other software cause he has music in his mind.

*What is Logic?*

Logic is an audio recording and mixing software. Most of Indian composers
use this software. For more details check logic/ . You can buy
and download it if you have an Apple Mac Computer.

Rahman also uses or used Absynth. You can hear one preset from Absynth in
Kannathil Muttamital title song. The flute kinda sound with a rough string
sounds behind it in the intro. Most of the songs, especially in the last few
years feature many synth sounds, probably from absynth, or some other
softsynth. The beeps, filtered sounds etc in many songs like Yeh Rishta,
Meenaxi and a couple from New, Kangalal Kaidu Sei etc can be done in
Absynth. For more details check out www.native-instrume

*Audio Samples
Have you guys ever heard about audio samples. Well Rahman is the first
person who used a lot of samples in his songs and the second person is
Ranjit Barot. Ranjit used to work with Rahman. Ranjit programmed drums in
Humma Humma.

And now everybody is using samples in Mumbai like Salim Sulaiman, Sandeep
Sherodker, Jacky, Inderjeet Sharma, Ram Sampat & Sandeep Chowta. If you guys
think that how can Sandeep Chowta make sound like A R Rahman, those are

Here are some instances for Samples

1. Shabba Shabba with African voices. Those are samples not real Africans.

2. Spanish claps in Jumbalika. Samples again.

3. Chinese vocals in Latka. Its a Chinese Sample from the CD ( Spectra
sonics Heart Of Asia)

4. Background beat in Latka song from Indian. Later Anu Malik and many other
used the same loops in many of their songs eg: Mehbooba song from Ajnabee.

5. Killer drum beats in Rangeela songs. Drum samples from the cd (Best
Service XXL 1500)and its a long list.

6. Final beats of Mukkala Muqabla sounds like Dr. Alban Africa. That is too
a sample. It is not composed by Dr.Alban either. Same beats used by Sandeep
Chowtha in Kambath Ishq song.

7. Main Background beats in Mangta hai kya from Rangeela.

8. Early bands like Deep Forest and some Euro techno bands used this concept
a lot. Thats why title bird sound of Thillana Thillana from Muthu sounds
like Deep forest songs.

There are many other samples Rahman used in many of his songs. It is not
copying but just using a commercially available sample.

When Rahman was recording for "Jaage Hain" the Sound Engineers told him that
lets record the song in a low mod ie Track 5 and later FDM it to a higher
track but Rahman sing it singularly in track 15. It is his original however
Madras Choral sound was probably modulated.
will be continued tomorrow ................