I reviewed a song in grueling detail many months ago. It was a magnum opus of sorts, with a heavy mix of western style orchestration and Indian ragas, by none other than Ilayaraja, which brought memories of several of his early-career hits.
There is lots of news about IR making music for his 1000th movie. I wonder beyond the 4500-5000 songs he has composed, how much he has left for us and the future generations in background music. A movie lasts between 90 and 180 mins, sometimes longer. Even if we discount the silent moments, returning motifs, minimalist moments and so on, we have probably got about 1000 hours of music in sound tracks alone.
When I listen to his songs, or of any music director for that matter, there is one question that always want to ask. Beyond setting the tune and may be making the big ticket choices of instruments, what goes in their mind in terms of choosing the sounds? What makes them choose a mridangam as opposed to a tabla? What makes them choose a congas or a djembe as opposed to drums? Or a veena against a flute? A mandolin against a guitar? Or as is the case in the song I am about to review, what makes them choose 4 percussion instruments, when they could have gone with 1? The song has not been made. No one knows what it sounds like. Not even the MD himself. Does the MD perceive the sound prior to it being made? Are there cookie-cutter approaches to determine what instruments should go with certain types of songs? Or are the choices pragmatic, based on which instrumentalist is available to record?
Here’s another song worth reviewing at that level of granularity.