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The brilliance of xylophone
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:51 pm    Post subject: The brilliance of xylophone Reply with quote

Dear friends,
Yet another aspect of our Mellisai Mamannar's music is the use of xylophone. He has used many instruments for different purposes. But this xylophone seems to have played different roles in his creations. I can distinguish three types: (1) songs shot at foreign locales, (2) songs with lots of natural sceneries (but not shot at foreign locations) , and (3) some old songs of his initial career, with usual type of playing of this instrument.

Amongst the second category, this has been elaborately used in Vani Jairam's 'Pongum kadalosai'. Since I have not been a regular movie goer, I am unable to relate this type of usage with the situations in the movies.

But what affected me is the first category. He has been phenomenal in this usage. Take the immediate example that comes to our mind: 'Malai raani munthanai sariya sariya'. I believe if you switch off the volume when you see this song on TV, you may not realise the effect of the situation, leave alone the feel. If you switch off the visuals(when you hear in your tape or CD), you still have the effect. Alongwith the visuals, the landscape, the heroine and movie get life, and what we have is a heavenly effect. It is his playing of the instrument for this location in mind that delivers than the camera. When did he ever 'SEE' THAT location? How dis he create this?

I once again remember 'yaadum oorey yaavarum kaelir'. Do we need to discuss this song!!! It is a miracle! The orchestrations and divine chorus apart, the xylophone keeps your foothold intact. Else, we may still be hovering in the heavens!

There is then the song in varuvaan vadivelan: 'Joyful Singapore'. Again we can witness this effect.

I am breathless already! I was at school when these movies were being released. Somehow in my heart, I believed then that such a music in riotous ecstasy must have been shot in some beautiful foreign locales. It turned out to be true, but am still looking for some answers from HIM. What has made our MM use this for songs shot in foreign locations? I know I sound like a schoolboy in my enthusiasm in remembering this beautiful facet in MM's creations. I thought I must share my joy!

My another question, of course, is: Kodi asainthathaal kaatru vanthathaa....without his imagination, the background does not get the attention or life...Answer is MM's imagination and music lends colour??

Thanks,
Sai Saravanan
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear friends,
I was thinking of whatever I wrote last evening, and today in Mega TV, the song 'Joyful Singapore' was telecast. beautiful coincidence! It is really very rare to see such songs on TV these days. Those days, of course, I could not get opportunity to see them on TVs, but only hear them on Vividh Bharati and Ceylon. And, today I could relive those imaginations live! I do not know where all those sequences were shot, but, his music has been vibrant in this song.

As Mr.Sivakumar has mentioned, it is truly the simplicity of his melodies that made them reach all of us.
Thanks,
Sai Saravanan
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ragasuda
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:23 pm    Post subject: video links provided in our forum Reply with quote

Dear Sai Saravanan,
Xylophone has been used by MM for different situations. I don't remember the film, but he has used it for a horror scene or somewhat similar situation.
Regarding the video, I have given links for videos on Internet for some of the songs composed by MM in our forum:
http://www.msvtimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2020&start=0

Raghavendran
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parthavi
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Sai Saravanan,]

While listening to Joyful Singapore in Mega TV, you might have heard the compere Adhavan mentioning that when we listen to this song, we would have a feeling of being abroad. Adhavan is one person outside our group who often reflects our feelings.

Dear Mr.Sivakumar,

I am astonished to hear that you dreamt of going abroad after listening to MSV's songs for foreign locations and that you have realized your dreams. This opens up another dimension of MSV's music. It is more than healing. It has crated an aspiration in you and created the inspiration and motivation to realize your aspiration. My congratulations to you and salutations to your motivator.
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ragasuda
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Screen filled with tea estates, hills, greeneries, women plucking tea leaves, Cameraman Thambu brought pleasant sight in the film Sumathi En Sundari. And as a painting you can view with mute, but such a scenery, if you watch muted ... imagine.
Here comes Mellisai Mannar. Sivaji drives the Jeep and Jayalalitha sits next to him humming ... Sivaji murmurs ... there is only one sound besides humming ... its the jeep sound .... Jeep stops. Jayalalitha alights and Sivaji too ... Jayalalitha wanders and enjoys the scenario and Sivaji stares ...

For this part observe the xylophone .... This scene is brought very lively and xylophone serves as a prelude to the song .... Oraayiram Naadagam aadinaal .... Susila takes over ....

Thank God he gave us the sense of vision and sound .... for the stunning visuals of NT and Jayalalitha ...

Thank God he gave us the symbol for sound ... Mellisai Mannar ...

Raghavendran
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear friends,
The next melody that comes to my mind when the setting was abroad, was for Sivantha Mann, and the song setting was for 'Oru raaja raaniyidam'. And imagination flies from the mind of our MM to Europe... All the xylophone pieces that flow into the song at select interludes materialises the scene before our eyes. The Alps and the Rhine are virtually before our minds and one cannot but 'see' the images. Interestingly, I had a chance to be in Germany for an evening few years back and also fly above (or near) the Alps; the images what I could see of the river in full flow, and the mountains snow-capped literally matched with that of MM's imagination. I could play the song with its thrilling music again and again...Eventhough the entire orchestra is responsible for the effect, the xylophone punctuates them at appropriate places.
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Sai Saravanan
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friends,
The next song that has a clear signature of the xylophone of our MM style is the 'banzayee...' fro Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban. This has a clever sequence of xylophone played to produce the effect of Chinese type of music. The master has achieved this and the song stands out as an example to introduce us the mystical east.
Sai
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madhuraman
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:23 am    Post subject: Preludes interludes..... Reply with quote

Deat Mr. Sai Saravanan et al,

As regards MM's employing [or is it exploiting ?] the xylophone, substantial awe has been both expressed and implied in all your responses leaving the basic question unanswered - as to how He envisages the locale to spin out those musical mesmerics in a torrent to force the movie Director to 'run' for the right locale. Not once has MSV failed to embellish those items in the most apt fashion.

A strong case in point is "Ulagam Sutrum VAliban". In one of the episodes MSV [relating to USV songs] SAID THERE WAS JUST NO STORY WHATSOEVER when he was asked to compose all the 10+ songs in a short spell of 10 days or so, with the production unit under obligation to honour visa schedules.

[Those who can recall what AVM Saravanan said on our III anniversary celebrations on 05-12-09, can now extrapolate that MDs who run to foreign locales under the garb of 'composing songs' have not come out with worthwhile stuff, while this humble harmonist [sitting in the hot confines of vadapazhani] has time and again sustained melody, harmony, synchrony seamless union of 'sounds' from seemingly unrelated instruments like bongo- veena or guitar - tabla, flute- thavil and what not while raising the song to its meteoric dimensions to scaffold a song in a 'foreign locale'. He does not need to visit those places!].

Be it, 47 nAtkaL , Sivandha maN, Avan than manidhan or NinaiththaLE inikkum , look at his range for variety, immaculate control over voice and orchestra besides honouring every lyric phrase to the last syllable in pronunciation while rivetting the emotion to its right scale. Undoubtedly Avar thAn manidhan among all MDs born or yet to be. How innovative he was / has been can be right away ascertained from the music he has delivered for that happy -go-lucky plot of 'KAdhalikka neramillai' [1964] when some of the perpetrators among the present day authors of Cacaphony were as yet biologically unconceived.

There are innumerable instances of MSV's innovations -- never to be paralleled , leave alone being surpassed. With all the memory and assertions of mine -how does he go about is a haunting question.

It is better answered by quoting KaNNadasan on what he has said of MSV.
"Thambi Visu is undoubtedly the best MD, I have ever come across. None has born to his calibre either before and none would ever be born after either. He further adds 'we have seen the supremacy of Egyptian music in 'pattaththu rANi' and the Mexican extravaganza in 'muththamidum neramippo'. He[MSV] knows the nuances of music from any part of the world"

Except by a genuine blessing of the Almighty, not even an iota of his compositional styles can ever be imagined by any lesser mortal. This broadly summarizes the issue.

Thanks for the opportunity.

Warm regards Prof.K.Raman Madurai.
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parthavi
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Professor,
Your use of the description the humble harmonist reminded me of what actor Vadivelu said about MSV, during a program called Sangamam, telecast in Vasanth TV, two weeks back: ஒரு ஆர்மோனியம், மூணு விரல், இதை வச்சுக்கிட்டு எவ்வளவு அருமையா மியூசிக் பொட்டிருக்காரு!
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Vatsan
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:00 pm    Post subject: Resp. Reply with quote

Prof saab....right on the dot again.
One of the greatest mysteries surrounding MSV is his chameleon nature (transforming himself to the actor in view) or his ability to do a parakaya pravesham i.e. transport his soul to a character in the foreign locale, experience the surroundings and express his experiences in the form of music, through unheard of combinations of instruments and a melody that matches the story line, the context of the song and the location itself. Personally, I would like to experience what MSV experiences when he listens to music from different parts of the world. I think all his experiences get automatically stored in his music generation engine, a part of his composing faculties.

For a heroine rowing a boat in Kerala (pongum kadalOsai), any other composer would have given a common place "fisherman" feel to the song under the garb of inducing nativity, though the true reason is inadequacy. MSV viewed the whole thing to be part of a typically sunny, energetic, fun-filled MGR movie and added a dash of mallet / xylophone blows to the pallavi piece (pongum kadalOsai) and brings in the other wordly feel to us. A true master !!!!

In addition, MSV (and KVM too sometimes) has this habit punctuating the root of the chord with a tap of the appropriate note on the xylophone. This is evident in "Ayiram peNmai malaruttumE" towards the end of the Prelude, those those short/ bright spurts and bursts of violin leading to the pallavi, are nailed with conspicuous chord strikes garnished with taps on the xylophone, a most memorable feature. I often rewind this song to its prelude more than once to experience this.
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Professor Sir, Vatsan Sir and friends,
A beautiful burst from professor and an appropriate sequel from Vatsan Sir!! Whatever you have mentioned have verily been the sequence of thoughts over the issue of bringing alive the foreign locales before our eyes by MM. I could not understand how it would be possible by this 'simple' person who did not have an exposure to such locales!! But, I always felt that he was able to 'see' and narrate them for us through his music. That was precisely (as you have mentioned) how USV songs have come out brilliantly. This is but divine, and difficult to explain...

In bringing the energetic scenarios within our country, he has been equally adopting the xylo, but with some caution of limited use-I mean, only the number of such songs. The 'pongum kadalosai' is out of the world!

I am also reminded by 'pudiya vaanam' for Anbe Vaa. How easily has our MM brought the Shimla (its ridge, etc.) before our eyes with the successive notes from the xylophone!! I again feel that whenever he wanted to provide us with a landscape of beauty, awe and mysticism added to it, he imagined it in a flash and inserted the xylophone notes (alongwith other orchestral elements, of course) to narrate, even before the director of the movie imagined it!

God!

Regards,
Sai Saravanan
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Vatsan
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:37 pm    Post subject: Resp. Reply with quote

"puthiya vAnam" is a great example you have quoted Sai. And that is an example of over usage of xylophones. A "covert" usage of xylophone where it does not assume the centre stage and is used to decorate statement making phrases is in "poojaikku vantha malarE vA". To me, the "core" of the pallavi is the graceful, step by step descent and retrace at "peNNendru eNNi pEsAmal vantha pon vaNNa mEni chilayE vA". Here MSV recognizes (as expected ofcourse) the importance of this phrase and adorns each step of the descent with gentle strikes on the xylophone, which reveals a lot apart from the listening pleasure factor. A major revelation is that that the very phrase is the resting place for the soul of the pallavi because it is so tasteful !!! In the very same song, after MSV enacts a drama through winding violins and chorus, xylophone is used to provide the prompt for PBS to start his charanam, quick series of xylophone notes that seem to bubble forth followed by rolls on the tabla, further underlining the "dreamy" nature of the song. I have not closely followed the picturization of this number, but the haunting chorus and aptly placed crescendo of xylophones uproots the listener elevating him/her to other spheres of romance. Aesthetics is the primary MSV mantra. Readers, please let me know if the song is indeed set for a dream sequence or not.
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Vatsan
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:38 pm    Post subject: Resp. Reply with quote

Apologies Sai.....please read "over usage" as "overt usage".
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Vatsan Sir,
Very exquisite in your narration...I could feel the song instantly along with the referred instances!! Every word is loaded with energy.
I do not know if the song (poojaikku..) is a dream sequence or not. But, I am enthralled by the orchestration, then, of course, the chorus by 'his' choir group, and then the heavenly voices of the singers. Literally it is a flight into and a breezy climb down from the heaven...our MM's composition!
Sai Saravanan
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friends,
As I was writing the above lines, I just remembered the song 'Jalithaa, vanithaa, oh my darling' by TMS. The subtle and quiet usage of xylophone marks a different facet of its use, may be like what Mr.Vatsan describes. Nevertheless, this song also has been shot abroad? Again the foreign locale effect...
Sai Saravanan
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