திங்கள், 22 ஜூன், 2015

21. Expert Analysis of the Nuances of MSV's Music

Symposiums and seminars are often held in universities and research institutes in which scholars present papers exploring certain topics relating to the subject. What happened on 20th June, 2015 at the Sivagami Peththachi Auditorium, Chennai during the birthday celebrations of Mellisai Mannar organized by msvtimes.com can only be described as a Symposium on certain aspects of MSV's music.  As a person who has been passionately listening to MSV songs for the the last 55 years (I am 63 now), I feel that even as a person with zero knowledge in the technical aspects of Music, I could enhance my enjoyment of MSV's music manifold by learning the nuances brought out during this symposium.

For example, when I hear எங்கிருந்தாலும் வாழ்க (நெஞ்சில் ஓர் ஆலயம் or மீனே மீனே மீனம்மா (என் கடமை) the next time, the experience won't be the same as it had been during the thousands of times I had listened to these songs in the past. This itself is enough to show he high impact this symposium had on an Average Joe like me.

The program started with an intelligently edited film on 'வார்த்தைகள் சொல்லும் வாத்தியங்கள்,'  a program conducted by msvtimes.com in 2008 in which the songs composed by MSV were played on instruments, with MSV himself playing the piano, with emotional references to this program by Vatsan and Vaidhy. The audience's  reaction showed that they have regretted attending this event in 2008!

Cello Sekar's (S/o the late Kunnakkudi Vaidhyanathan) revealing the techniques behind the rerecording of two short scenes, one from கௌரவம் and another from அன்பே வா made me wonder how I, while watching these scenes earlier in the theater and the TV channels, had taken for granted these musical bonanza in a passive way by focusing on the story of the film. This thought was also expressed by Sri Nalli during his brief speech felicitating MM on his birthday.

Hats off to Cello Sekar for his painstaking efforts that had taken him several hours of labor in analyzing the instruments used, the types of music played, the themes, the subtle and the dynamic changes etc. and preparing subtitles to explain the beauty of the notes at different places.

Many years back, I watched a program in Doordharshan (before it was christened Pothigai) in which the presenter played a short scene from Mudhal Mariyadhain in which the lovers run towards a river. The scene was shown first without the background music and then with the background music, to show how the background music enhanced the scene. At that time, I had wondered why such an exercise was not done for MSV's films. My desire was fulfilled today, after a couple of decades.

என்றொரு காலம் ஏங்கியதுண்டு
இன்று கிடைத்தது பதில் ஒன்று!

While the Anbe Vaa scene showed romance with a humor touch added (when Nagesh makes the entry into the scene), the scene from Gauravam was an emotional roller-coaster. As Cello Sekar pointed out, MSV had used silence as a powerful weapon to enhance Sivaji's powerful delivery of dialogues while striking with his notes at appropriate places with a stunning effect. Cello Sekar also pointed out rhat how MSV had used a note based on the Ragha Subha Pantuvarali to depict sivaji's mental agony.

While watching a few contemporary films on the TV , I have often found the BGM suppressing the dialogues, especially in the present trend of actors speaking with their mouths closed! Almost in all TV serials, the dialogues are hammered down by the loud BGM. One can only crave for the arrival of composers with at least a small fraction of the sensibility and sensitivity displayed by this unsung genius called MSV.

Music Composer. Thayanban spoke about how MSV had used the same tune of 'அன்பினாலே உண்டாகும் இன்ப நிலை' a philosophical song from the film பாச வலை composed in Karaharapriya for the duet மகாராஜன் உலகை ஆளலாம்(கர்ணன்) . He pointed out how while composing மாதவிப் பொன்மயிலாள் (இரு மலர்கள்) in the same Karaharapriya, MSV had used the drama effect! In another song composed in Karaharapriya  'I will sing for you' (மனிதருள் மாணிக்கம்), MSV had combined carnatic classical raagaa with western and folk music!.

Mr. Thayanban decribed MSV as a trend setter and showed the example of his composing 'அன்புள்ள மான் விழியே (குழந்தையும் தெய்வமும்)' a song in the form of a letter. Other such lyrics in the form of a letter like 'நான் அனுப்புவது கடிதம் அல்ல,' 'கண்மணி அன்போடு,' and  'நலம் நலம் அறிய ஆவல்'  composed by other music directors have been composed in the same pace!

Guitar Bala's presentation was a class of its own. He demonstrated the unconventional use of guitar in several songs. Though he seemed to give the major credit for the guitar magic to Guitar Philip, the Guitar piece of Abhavanan for the song 'காத்திருந்தேன்'  from நினைத்தாலே இனிக்கும் proved that more than the instrument player, the person who created the note, decided on the use of the particular instrument, and conceived the way it should be played should get the major credit. I never knew that guitar was used in எங்கிருந்தாலும் வாழ்க both in the prelude and in the interludes (not that I could identify the instruments used in a song!) Bala said that use of guitar for a pathos song like this was unconventional.

The intelligent use of Santoor and the Guitar in the prelude of மீனே மீனே மீனம்மா was demonstrated by Bala to the excitement of the audience. Bala reiterated what he had said when he was asked to present the music for msvtimes.com anniversary in 2011 that there is no other composer in the world who could compose music to suit the lyrics as MSV does.

Mr. Bala also demonstrated the use of Guitar in a few other songs like வண்ணக்கிளி சொன்ன மொழி (தெய்வத்தாய்). However, his presentation of  காத்திருந்தேன்  from நினைத்தாலே இனிக்கும் took the cake when he showed how the guitar notes were used to present the confused state of the mind of the hero (in 'seeing' the heroine walking on the bridge while she is not present in the scene.) I was dumbfounded!

Mr. M.S.Sekar who presented the nuances of the rhythmic patterns in MSV's songs was both precise and comprehensive in keeping with his profile as a management professional. He compared MSV to Palghat Mani Iyer, both of whom had only limited formal training but had brought out great innovations the way the music was played.

He pointed out how MSV refrains from using the rhythm at some places and how he uses them in some other places with tremendous effect. He demonstrated the use of percussion instruments in a few songs like பாரதி கண்ணம்மா (நினைத்தாலே இனிக்கும்), 'இந்தப் புன்னகை என்ன விலை?' (தெய்வத்தாய்), 'பாடுவோர் பாடினால்' (கண்ணன் என் காதலன்), 'வெள்ளிக் கிண்ணம்தான்' (உயர்ந்த மனிதன்) etc. He showed how not using percussion when the pallavi was sung for the first time in வெள்ளிக் கிண்ணம்தான் and using it along with humming when the pallavi was sung the second time produced extraordinary effect.

He also showed how the delayed starting of the thaaLam in'அல்லிப்பந்தல் காலெடுத்து' (வெண்ணிற ஆடை) embellished the song. Considering that MSV's team comprised  great instrument players like Philip (Guitar), Nanjappa Reddiar (Flute), Mangala Murthy (Accordian), M.S. Raju (Mandolin), Gopalakrishnan (Bongos), Prasad (Tabla), Noel Grant (Drums) etc, making the best use of them yet restraining them from becoming overenthusiastic thereby affecting the effect of his composition showed MSV's skill in team management. He said that this could be a topic of research. Mr. Sekar cited the example of the recording of பாரதி கண்ணம்மா which he witnessed. When Tabla Prasad, unsolicitedly joined the Bongos player at the beginning, MSV stopped him and told him that his entry should be just before the pallavi, as already decided and assigned by MSV!

I had to leave just before Veena Bala started his presentation on the title music. I learn from Mr. Venu Soundar of msvtimes.com that Mr. Bala presented the interesting features of the title music for the films புதையல், நெஞ்சம் மறப்பதில்லை, கலங்கரை விளக்கம் and உத்தரவின்றி உள்ளே வா.

About the speeches, Mr. Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetti was precise in praising the humility and other virtues of MSV while Mr. SP.Muthuraman  was effusive. Since MSV was not present because of his health, Mr. Shyam Joseph who had worked with MSV for long had the honor of representing MSV in his birthday celebrations. He went emotional while talking about his association with MSV. He mentioned how he spent several sleepless nights after participating in the composition of extraordinary songs which kept haunting him, preventing him from sleeping. He also mentioned about his talking in an international conference of musicians held in the U.S. about MSV's ability to do the rerecording of a film in about a week's time which was considered incredibly amazing by the international composers present there. He also recalled that Hindi mUsic Directors M/s Naushad Ali and Salil Choudhry with whom he was associated, often expressed their admiration and reverence for MSV.

All the speakers and presenters did not fail to mention the great service being done by msvtimes.com in bringing out the greatness of the greatest of all composers.

Mr. Vatsan, as usual, was at his best in compering the program, his natural trait of suavity and spontaneous sense of humor, not to speak of his extensive knowledge of music and matters related to music  helping him all the way. For example when Guitar Bala mentioned about the extraordinary skill of Mr. Philip in using Guitar, Mr. Vatsan was quick to suggest that his training in Veena under Sri Pichumani (who incidentally passed away on 20th June, the same day the function was being held) might have helped him excel in playing his guitar.

While listening to Shyam's talk, one thought struck me. I had listened to Mr. Shyam when he was felicitated by msvtimes.com a few years back and a couple of other times subsequently. I have never seen him go so emotional as he did this time, identifying himself so closely with MSV. I felt that it was MSVtimes that is responsible for this. But for our giving him a chance to speak quite a few times, he might not have had a chance to stir up his memories and become so nostalgic and emotional.

I keep wondering at the monumental service done by msvtimes.com to bring out the glory of MSV rhat was covered by dust all along. I salute the founders M/s Ramki, Ram, Vaidhy, Sabesan, Vathsan etc. and people like Prof Raman, M/s  Raghavendran (Ragasudha), N.Y.Murali, Raghavendran, Balaji, Sai Saravanan etc. who through their writings in the forum have helped carry MSV's glory to greatest heights to make it visible to many people looking elsewhere. I am mentioning only the names of a few regular contributors. There are several others in the list like M/s NVS, Sampath, SRS (both!), Ram Ramakrishnan, Venu Soundar, Bhaskar, GR, Mahesh etc. who have made significant contributions. What can I say about people like Vijaykrishna, Sivasankaran, K Rangasamy and a host of others who have been toiling so much to make arrange such events.

As a passive observer overwhelmed by the efforts of other members of msvtimes.com, I can only say,

நான் நன்றி சொல்வேன் என் கண்களுக்கு
உம்மை என்னருகே கொண்டு வந்ததற்கு

I have deliberately used the plural உம்மை against the singular உன்னை used by Vaali.

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