Is it the Raga?
Is it the Tala?
Is it the way it is sung?
If it is the raga, then the Mukhaari(considered to be a ‘crybaby’ raga) song by G Ramanathan in ‘Ambikapati’ should sound sad. But did he not do it for a romantic duet?
And what about the Mother of Pathos-Subhapantuvarali?
Raaja sir composed a song humourous peppy in this Ragam(‘Kandupidichen Kandupidichen'-Guru Sishyan’).
Maestro often says that music is nothing but a kind of ‘Sithtu Velai’(black magic).Of course, words of such geniuses should not be taken literally. They carry lot of meanings.
He has even composed a pathos song in Mohanam(Oru Raagam paadalodu-Aananda Ragam) and happy duets in Sivaranjani(Adi Aathaadi-Kadalora KavithaigaL, Vaa Vaa Anbe Anbe-Agni Nakshatram).
But I am still amazed by one of his compositions-I must say two compositions.
In 1979, he composed two different songs for two different movies.Both were based on the same Ragam, Suddha Dhanyasi.Both followed the same Tala structure,the 7 beat Mishram.
But one was a slow (somewhat sad) song and the other a romantic solo.
The slow song is ‘Aayiram MalargaLe’(Niram Maraatha PookkaL).
The peppy number is the one we are going to see today.It is ‘Ninaiththaal Inikkum’from ‘KalyaNa Raman’.
‘Ninaiththal inikkum..’ starts with a humming of Janaki.And yes’Aayiram MalargaLe’ also starts with a humming.But look at the contrast!
The subtle bell sound the violin and the flute that follow are enough to create the right mood.
Now listen to the beats.
The ‘Tha Ki Ta Tha ka Dhi Mi’ that moves our hearts in ‘Aayiram malrgaLe’ sound so sensual in ‘Ninaiththal inikkum..’
In the first interlude, the guitar at the end plays almost the same notes as the Violins..but how different it sounds! The Flute appear now adding to the beauty.
We get to hear a classical western piece in the beginning of the second interlude and suddenly it becomes folksy.
The third interlude is aggressive and sensual at the same time.Of course, this has to do with the sequence in the movie where the Hero holds and throws away at a snake ‘hurled’ at him by one of the villains while the Heroine keeps singing at her house.
One has to also notice the difference in ‘speed’ between the Pallavi and the Charanams. But are they really different? They follow the same tala.It is the pattern played in the percussion instrument that gives us such an illusion.
So, now what determines the mood?
Whether it is ‘sa ga ma pa ni Sa/Sa ni pa ma ga sa’ or ‘Tha ki ta tha ka dhi mi’, it is the composer who determines and gives us the mood.
And aren't such compositions sweet even when we think of them?