Monday, April 24, 2006


Lesson-13 : IR Bar Service - Enjoy !

In this session, I am giving some IR examples for your follow-up.

Try to say 1-2-3, 1-2-3 alongwith the following songs, and identify the bar separation, the notes within the bar, the ascent of a particular word etc. to the extent possible :

(adjust the speed of 1-2-3 to match the speed of the song/words as required, and find whether my comments and time make some sense to you ?)

1) Nilavu (1-2-3) –Thoongum (1-2-3) --- Neram--- (1-2-3) (one bar of silence…1-2-3)

2) Idha (3) Yam - oru (1-2-3) - Kovil (1-2-3) (slight difficult in start follow the Tablaa)

3) Paruva (1-2-3) me…(1-2-3) Pudhiya – Paadal --- Padu (follow the foot steps sound …!)

4) Aa Aa Aa (1-2-3) Nand dh aa (1-2-3) Ra aa aa (1-2-3) Gam mm mm (1-2-3) (panneer pushpangal song)

5) Pattu-Kanna-mm (1-2-3) Thottu-Koll-aa (1-2-3) (listen to the starting tik-tik-tik…1-2-3, 1-2-3…)

6) Raa-saa-thi (1-2-3) On-nai-ai (1-2-3) Kaa-naa-dha (1-2-3) Nen-ju-uu (1-2-3) …. (follow the violin chords interlude…1-2-3, 1-2-3…)

7) Chin-na-Chin (1-2-3) na-aa-a (1-2-3) Van-nak-ku (1-2-3) yil-ll-ll (1-2-3)…. (Of Mouna Raagam)

8) Chittukku Chella Chittukku ( You follow 2 beats per bar or the 3 units per beat ?.... Good teaser……)

Listen to the songs below with 1-2-3-4 claps….or 1-2 claps

(initially it will be problematic, to segregate 2 crotchets per bar and 4 crotchets per bar…don’t worry.. atleast find the difference from 1-2-3 claps now…)

1) Megam Kottatum

2) Edho Mogam Vandhado…… (mouna raagam )

3) Koondukkulle enna vacchu

4) Nilave Vaaa – ( mouna raagam) ( in both the songs at 3 & 4 tabla will speak that 1234, 1234 for you.. …)

5) Roja Poo Vadugindradhu…(Agni Nakshatram)

Its an ocean ! Each song will take atleast a day for you, if you are really involved.

Your mind, mouth, hand everything will ache…….!!

but you will be so mesmerized, that you cant leave and get out of this addiction…!

Try it… !

There will be many more additional revelations occurring to you ( just like it happened to Buddhaa ) !

Something like this :

Irrespective of the variation in the apparent rythm style of song from Pallavi to Charanam etc , from Carnatic to Western to folk etc etc, the basic tim count you are following remain the same say 1-2-3. or 1-2-3-4 etc !

However, you will be astonished to note the different make-ups it is going through….Amazing ! (Listen to Oh Vasantha Raajaa…in Neengal Kettavai ! Irrespective of tabla or drum beats variation the basic is always 4 counts.)

The silences or gaps in between notes also take such uniform timing units ! Silences do have counts !

Number of bars per line of lyrics generally falling on even numbers generally divisible by 4 normally…!

In general,

Each Pallavi takes some 8 bars or 16 bars like that…

Each Charanam takes some 32 bars to 64 bars…etc…

Each of the interludes gaps also divisible by 4.. etc etc.

Any new instrument introduction or new voice starts or leave the music on exactly in those even number bars…!

Sometimes, the percussion instrument starts exactly on bar start but, the lyric portion shows a little lag or lead and confusing us…!

Sometimes, it was so difficult to find the counts in the Pallavi, then suddenly it is so easy to follow in the Charanam (mainly due to the complicated beats of the percussions…! )

We will do the naming of such Thaalams, Counts etc later…!

For the time being just realize and visualize..! And FEEEEEEEL IT !


Lesson-12 : Get the Hang of Bar- Part-2

Generally, while playing or singing the notes, the very first note of the bar is given an relative accent compared to others.

In case of a four crotchets per bar system, the 3rd note also slightly accented but not to the extent of first one.

The 2nd and 4th notes are played normally.

Please recall earlier discussions wherein we indicated, the breaking of words into syllables and stressing of certain part of the syllable.

Now you can easily conclude such stressing of word part falls on the First note of the bar.

Alternatively, you can analyse the existing song and carry out the reverse process of dissecting into notes….. Such accented words/notes will help you in identifying the bar start, in a song.

And then you can watch how many units each bar is having.

Try to make uniform claps or tapping, mentally trace one bar equivalent.

Try to say 1-2-3-4, repeatedly (or 1-2-3, 1-2-3) and see whether you are getting synchronized with the accented words when saying 1.

With that you can form a mental graph sheet and try to fit the various notes within a bar and analyse the duration of each note.

Like this, bar-by-bar you can proceed and write the time value of the notes first.

Simultaneously, the sound value of the note C, D, E etc of particular notes are identified by comparing mentally or with instrument, and the notes are placed on their respective lines or space in the stave.

Easy to tell.. But needs a lot of practice…!

Biggest problem in IR song is, you get so invoooooooolved in the song, the instruments etc, you fail repeatedly in following this rhythm count analysis.

But with little practice, you can find the songs are so clear in notes pattern, and easily you can identify the bar lines.

Later on, you yourself will become addict to such following up of saying 1-2-3-4 to any of his song automatically and mentally visualizing these bars !

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Lesson-11 : Get the Hang of Bar : Part-1

Hi All,

Now again let us have the graph sheet example.

In a graph, normally, you can see the major equal divisions marked by a Thick lines (say, at every 10th line) and slightly lesser thick line alternating (say, at every alternate 5th line) and very Light lines between two thick lines (say, 4 such lines between Thick & Lesser Thick lines). This pattern is getting repeated in the garph in both the Axes.

These are required for easy comprehension (reading and visual purposes) of the graphs and easy marking of the co-ordinates.

Like this, the Stave lines in the Score Sheet is also equally divided by a major vertical dividing line, called a bar line. Equal means equal in terms of time vlaue of the notes.

Within each bar line, the sum total of time value of the notes remain same. (i.e. whatever may be the types of notes used within that bar, by adding all the time values it will be same for each bar)

Generally, depending upon the song, this total time value of a bar will be equivalent to 4 crotchets or 3 crotchets or 2 crotchets duration.

Sometimes instead of crotchets, Quavers are also used as units.

Within one bar also, the notes of lesser than a crotchet are grouped to make one crotchet equivalent.

All these makes the reading of notes easier in a score sheet.

(There are certain rules of how to write the stem of the notes, either upwards or downwards.

If the notes are coming above third line of the stave, it is written downward, and if notes are below third line, it is written upwards.

And on the third line it can be any way.

This rule does not apply when harmony writing in short score format..)

Friday, April 21, 2006


Lesson-10 : Timing the Time : Part-2

Hi All,

Based on the assumed unit duration, the various standard notations used in WCM score sheet writing (for notfying the time duration of each individual note) are as follows :

Whole Note = 4 units --- (also called as Breve )

denoted by a oval shaped white note, without any vertical line (stem) attached to that.

This means, if you hit a piano key, or make a sound on violin, or sing with your voice,

Start the sound and SUSTAIN it for a duration of Four counts. (but careful to stop it after four count…!)

Like saying Aa aa aa aah opening your mouth…clapping for 4 uniform counts !

While playing instrument, try to make uniform tapping using your leg for four counts !

Half-Note = 2 units --- (also called as Semi-breve or Minim )

denoted by a white (not filled) note with a Stem attachment (usually extends approx. 3 lines equivalent of the staff lines ).

- playing method is same as above except that the duration is restricted to 2 units or 2 counts or 2 claps/taps etc..

Quarter Note = 1 unit ---- (also called as Crotchet )

denoted by a black note with stem attached (filling the oval shape of minim with black )

– Playing duration one count, one clap, tap etc..

One-Eighth Note = ½ unit --- (also called as Quaver)

denoted by a Crotchet with a tail, ie by adding a small tail shape curve at the top of the stem of the Crotchet.

Playing is slightly complicated in the sense you have to count half of a normal clap or tap.

For which you imagine the word Se-ven or Ja-Na (of Ja-na Ga-na Ma-na) or Ni-rai and try to say this in one clap time and assume the time you allotted to either Se or Ja or Ni in the above.

Another way is instead of saying One – Two – Three – Four while counting, for the same equal duration, try to Say One-and-Two-and-Three-and-Four-and ..

You may certainly need a slight practice in the beginning.. and can slowly pick-up later.

In the same way, you are having, ¼ , 1/8 , 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 th notes (called as Semi-quaver, Semi-Demi-quaver etc etc…)

and each time you add one additional tail with the stem while denoting them in the score sheet ! !

Also, Sounds are not the only part of a Music!

Silences also make music ! They also have calculated durations! Similar to the above notes!

See the following summary table for the Notes and Rests

Complicated isn’t it !

Don’t worry, fellows who learn practical playing, let them try and practice it !

At least we have now understood that there are such complicated notes which can be played by experts like in the starting gushing of violins in IR song “Aananda Raagam Ketkum Kaalam….” (Panneer Pushpangal) !

or the fast piano +violin piece coming in the Kaala Kaala Maaga Vazhum Kaadhalukku Naangal Arpanam…of Punnagai Mannan !

(By the way, what can be the time duration of those notes ?? )

Now, we are having enough information to understand a score sheet and the notes in terms of the name of the notes as well as the duration of the notes.

Scan mentally as many songs as possible and get the hang of it !

Also see some kind of grouping of notes existing (calculate the sum total of notes duration within a segment) and think of it !

We will talk about them later !


Lesson-9 : Timing the Time : Part-1

Hi All,

Musical Song is like a graph. Are you able to visualise that ?

Most of us having some knowledge about the graph sheet. It is the pictorial way of representation of some relationship for better understanding.

The points on the graph are drawn referring to the X-axis and Y-axis (horizontal and vertical axes) and these points are connected to get a line, curve etc…!

Whatever we covered so far, ie. the sound level of the notes, talks about only one axis say the vertical Y-axis in which the the level of notes like C, D, E etc can be plotted .

But the other horizontal X- axis is the "Time" which indicates the dynamic change of notes in every unit measurement of time..!

Alternatively, this indicates the duration of each particular note and the successive notes !

The Graph anaology I will repeat in future also; so please remember this..!

Coming back to our Score sheet format, now we have learnt that Sound level are represented in the lines and spaces of the Stave.

But how to represent the time duration of each of the notes?

This is done by denoting the Time factor by different shapes of notes like white round note, black note, black note with an attached stem etc.

Also, one more aspect in denoting the time.

How much time is one unit ???? (equivalent to ask how much time is equivalent to one second ?)

When we say time duration, we consider some unit measurement of time say similar to the Tick-Tack of a clock .

This you can say very slow as Teeeeeeeeeeek-Taaaaaaaaak,

or fast as Tick-Tack etc etc.

So there must be a definition of this unit time.

This is done by defining that in "one minute = so many notes" shall be palyed.

(There is an instrument called metronome which takes care of that aspect. You might have heard and seen that in film Punnagai Mannan!

In Orchestra, the "Conductor" perform the role of metronome, in addition to other roles!!! How the slow and speed movement of a Conductor will affect the song, is explained and show-caused to the lay man in the song "Vandhe Matharam" of "Mumbai Express"!!)

That unit-duration is pre-defined as per the music or as per composer wish etc…!

This definition of unit duration, takes care of the synchronisation aspects of BGMs in re-recording also!

But once any standard unit duration is defined for a song ( or a portion of song), you apply that uniformly through-out that song (or for that portion of the song).

That’s what the essential requirement !

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Lesson-8 : Time Factor in Music-Feel It !

Hi All,

When somebody ask about your language proficiency, we indicate that in terms of Read, Write & Speak.

So here in music also, our proficiency requirement is in terms of Read, write and Play.

But.. I am equally stressing the Fourth parameter, ie Feeling ….

Feeling a language means, the basics, background communicated through such read, write, speak effort…

In case of music, Feeling the music….we are already experiencing that through IR !

All other skills enable and improvise that experience..

That’s one reason why I try to dwell a little longer on these basics and trying to correlate certain IR examples now and then…!

Please don’t feel that these are only certain abstract terms which are not going to help much…rather these will refine our appreciation process and help in fast pick-up later.

These basics hold good in all kind of music whether Carnatic or WCM !

Today, we are extending our understanding and comparisons of words in a language and in a musical form..!

While writing we give some space in between words, to mark the end of the word and also start of next…...While speaking also, there is some undefined gaps between words..!

So also in music we do that…which can only be felt…!

This gap is necessary to communicate properly the musical word, its start and end, its effect etc

and also to take a breath in between if you sing,

or, if you are playing some instrument give some rest and change the finger , hand position in between etc.

(The professional singers can realize what I mean… controlling the breath while singing and take proper rest at right place…without making hissing exhale sound in the mike…!

So also in instrument playing aligning your hand position for proper fingering is more crucial for continuity of playing. Good composers take care of all these while writing music…!.)

Next un-conscious thing we are doing is giving stress to certain letters in the words (as is taught learnt to speak) .

Usually words are divided on such stresses as single (mono) syllable word (at, cut etc) , 2-syllables (Tren-dy, Win-dow etc..) , 3 syllables (beau-ti-ful, en-trench-ment etc.) and so on..

Usually such stress while speaking will be on the first part, sometimes on second part like that..

Now take the example…. “Me-gam…Kot-tat-tum….Aaat-tum Un-du…..” You can feel the stressing given in the beginning of each of these word…musically also…!

Usually, each of these syllable are assigned some kind of note ( C, D, E etc.,….as per the tune…) and while playing or singing, such stresses are automatically fall in line with the strong beat of the rhythm of the song…!

Another song.. “ Van-Dhaal… Van-Dhaal…. Raa-ja-Ku Ma-ri….” See the pattern of breaking into notes and the stress shifting while singing….!

Also the gap in between word taking a fraction of some time …

If I say 1-2-3, 1-2-3 to match first two words above…1& 2 denotes Van-dhal and 3 is a gap or silence, which I want you to notice !

Another anology, In Tamil, while grammar of poetry writing is taught we are told something like, equating the words & its sound to two basic components “Ner “ & “Ni-rai” !

So word is broken into Ner or Nirai or combinations of Ner-Nirai forming the words like “The-ma, Puli-Ma, The-Maang-Kaai, Puli-Maang-Kaai, Karu-Vilang-Kani etc etc….. !

If Ner = one value, and Ni-rai = 2 equal half values and so on…

You can assign musical notes of such value for each syllable..any words !

Are you realizing now, for the genius like IR who knows these fundas, lyrics to music or music to lyrics anything is possible…!

If somebody finds fault with IR on such issues, its only their ignorance !

Generally, Time element of the syllable determine the breaking up of musical word and vice versa.

Again…. no hard and fast rules !

See how IR prolongs the word “Aaaaathu…. Meeeeeettula…..” song of Gramathu Adhyayam requiring so many notes to one syllable also….!

Dissecting the notes and assigning the proper time value is a great skill !

In the above paras of today, what I tried is, to make you think of the various factors that may govern the …"The Time Association of Musical Notes…”

Through that we shall be able to understand the time duration of each notes, the gap or silences between them , time when the stressing of note occur, etc…etc.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Lesson-7 : Letter to Word

Hi All,

Summary of yesterday :

Following sentences help us in easy remembering of notations in a staff

Treble – Lines : Every Green Bus Drives Fast
Treble- Spaces: FACE
Bass – Lines : Good Boys Deserve Fine Apples
Bass –Spaces : All Cows Eat Grass

What Next ?

If you know letters , you can form words.

In language form, collection of letters form a word – One letter, Two , three, four,,, etc etc.. A, AT, CAT, etc etc..

the way we learn in languages, here also, combination of sounds you can try and learn and feel it.

Concentrate on first three notes of an octave… make combination of sounds, play slowly, feel it and enjoy.

Then five notes, then seven notes, then two octaves etc etc…..

For example, play C and G slowly, try to sustain the sound in each note . Does that tell something to you…?

If not, now try to play that as if you are telling "Poo….ve……" ( as in the song "Poove Ilaiya Poove" of "Kozhi Koovudhu…") !

Now it make sense to you … isn’t it ?

Same way try CD EE EE very slowly…. No idea,,,? ,

now play it as if you are para-phrasing and telling Jana-Gana Mana …. Yes that’s it….!

(This incidentally makes you feel that there is time element that shall be followed in playing a note, word.. etc..

Yes you are right… We are going to cover that separately in near future…so please wait…)

So, the reverse process of above is equally true; i.e if musical "word" is giving, we can dissect that into letters and write it on the stave… !

While forming word, starting from first letter of that word, the other letters have some relative positions…It goes up an down and mixes everything.. So also here, all permutations and combination of notes….

But with one word of Caution…! while it is easy to write a word say “AXE” , (Letter No-1, no-24, no-5 alphabetically), and it is easy to speak & pronounce also,

In music form, if I ask you to sing key no-1, then 24 and then 5, in succession.. will run way…! (of course in instrument it may be possible, but with difficulties….)

So, naturally, in music evolution...which started from human singing, always take care to use practicality of using relative adjacent notes only… !

If you want to catch high notes, first make a smooth transition from low to high, shift near that range and then dwells in that area… like that… !

There is no hard and fast rules..

Everything indicates …be practical.. and it shall make sense to you and everybody who listens to it. ! That’s all !

The smooth transition is one basic fundamental principle which guides most of the harmony rules….!

So I wanted to highlight that even now at this preliminary stage ! (of word formation…)

One interesting digression….!

In previous paras, I mentioned about words in which letters having relative upward and downword movement w.r.t. previous letter…!

Can you think of English Sentence which have words that are having letters moving only upward (in relation to first letter of that word….) and no mix-up.. ?

OK.. In music it is attempted successfully by IR, in “ Kalai vaniye….” song..of Sindhu Bairavi…!

Each word-like component start on particular note, then all other notes within that word are only in ascending order (in relation to previous note..…! to symbolize that there will be no more downward movement in the life of the hero and only upward looking….) !

IR write Words, Sentences, even a Book in this fashion...!

Enjoy this song now, about this new dimensions given by IR with our present understanding…

Challenge...Thy Name IR !

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Lesson-6 : Mapping of Tones and Notes : Part -3

Let me summarise the previous learnings :

WCM follows 12 key system for an Octave. Consisting of 7 white keys and 5 black keys in between. Each octave is a repetitive pattern of these 12 keys.

Range division in a piano is based on the reference key called Middle C. Octave starting with Middle C and above are represented using Treble Clef. Octaves below the Middle C are represented using Bass Clef.

In Treble Clef, the bottom most line starts with letter E and proceed in ascending manner F, G etc. etc . in alternate Line and Space manner. Same way in Bass Clef, Bottom most line starts with G and then proceeds in ascending manner.

To find the notes on a stave there are some short cut method, which makes our life easier….

In the Treble Clef… the letters on the lines are E, G, B, D, F . So Remember the Sentence …..

Every Green Bus Drives Fast…..

In Treble Clef, the letters coming in the spaces are F, A, C, E.

That’s it…. Remember the word……… FACE

Same way for Bass Clef, for the letters on Lines, remember the sentence :

Good Boys Deserve Fine Apples

In Bass Clef, for the letters coming in the spaces, remember the sentence :

All Cows Eat Grass

One additional point: the software people use another technique viz. Binary technique in indexing, the “searching from middle" technique.

So my idea is also remember the center line of each clef. In treble clef it is ‘B’ and in Bass Clef it is ‘D’. From this you can find the relative letters either upward or downward…!

Our future discussions, most of the time we may refer these notations, it is better if you could familiarize with them.

- practice yourself to identify a particular note mentioned in a stave

- and find the corresponding letter name mentally

- and its position in the instrument.

- Then relate the sound you hear in the instrument.

(If you could practice so much that by seeing the note in stave, its sound comes to your mind, you have reached the ultimate !!! Most of the musicians working with IR are experts like that …! )

IR is something beyond comprehension..

Even for our normal film songs, He thinks for nearly twenty or more such co-ordinated notes for different instruments at a time and write it down directly on paper. (Symphony writing is still beyond that !)

Creation, Visualization in mind, Dissecting of notes, Writing it on paper…….

no obstruction of flow any where... anytime……

Even assuming that all other skills can be attained by very hard practice & experience…

Can anybody be on Creative mode for all the 24 hours …365 days ....decades together ??? !!!!

Comparatively, our requirement is very simpler…

Just able to read a note at a time .. at our own speed.. and finding a match on the instrument… at our own time & speed…You can attempt it…. Ok..?

At least you shall gain this much confidence…. that , If staff notes are given,

- One can (even if you are not able to do that somebody else can…..) relate and sing/ play the instrument and

- by the same way if somebody sings or some instrument is played, it can be represented back into the staff notes ….!

That's it !

Friday, April 14, 2006


Lesson-5 : Mapping of Tones and Notes : Part -2

(continued from Part-1)

Yes… how to represent the keyboard keys in WCM method ?

Refer to the following figure which maps the keyboard key and the notation on the Stave

Each note of the keyboard is now represented on paper now.

Starting from Middle-C onwards in Treble Clef....... and below that using Bass Clef.

The notes are proceeding in ascending order from the bottom of the line to top

For the time being forget about the various shapes of the musical notes written over these lines and spaces.

Just concentrate over the letter written on a line or space and make the relationship it refers to the key mentioned in the piano / keyboard.

That’s All !

Do you feel like suddenly a wide door is opened towards an unknown house and see the inside of a big hall (cinematically…!)

Yes we have indeed entered into the WCM Palace…..!

We are very clear about the Alphabets of WCM now ! Aren’t We ??

People who wants to become proficient and expert can attempt to mug-up these line and space representations of A , B, C etc. in different Clef system (You always will become the front benchers and can become darling of the teachers ! ).

Others Just relax & enjoy and Be happy about whatever you have known so far !

We are always wiser than yesterday !


Lesson-4 : Mapping of Tones and Notes : Part -1

Hi All,

I want to make clear one thing :

1) Becoming proficient in playing a musical instrument (like a pianist, guitarist….etc)

2) becoming expert in musical theory (like a composer, conductor, arranger……)

3) understanding the basics of the theory portion of music ( appreciators like we fans of IR want to become…..)

are three different subjects together.

Currently, we are pursuing the last & third option which is simple to follow (and incidentally may lead to the other two also, if somebody having the guts and determinations to pursue).

So ours is very soft option, and easily attainable goal.

So cheer up !

Now, I take the liberty to refer to the following figure of Keyboard or Piano or Harmonium which I beleive many of you may be already familiar.

• At the leftmost corner, it started with a white key.

• Then a sequence of black and white keys follow that forming a pattern.

• If you count 7 adjacent white keys in sequence, you visualize this pattern ends.

• So 7 white keys and 5 black keys in between forming a total 12 keys complete one pattern. Let us name this one pattern as one Octave.

• After this octave, one another octave follows and so on and you reach the end of the right hand portion of the keyboard/piano

Now let us get into the naming Conventions using the 7 letters A to G (for the time being conveniently forget about those intervening black keys):

• The leftmost white key in this piano is Called “C”
• The next white key is called “D” and so on
• After reaching “G”, the next white key is “A” , then “B”
• Then again Back to “C”
• So omitting the black keys in between, the white keys of the first Octave is C-D-E-F-G-A-B
• So next Octave is again C to B and so on……till we complete octaves of keys

Now, the natural question is, if there are so many C and D and so on, how to differentiate this ?

• For this purpose, the whole range of keys are divided into two major groups, viz. Treble and Bass.

In your music player also you are already using the Bass and Treble adjustments ! So you feel the difference, and know this already…!

Sound at lower pitch are refined and made clear while adjusting bass and sound of higher pitch are made clear and appreciated if Treble is adjusted.

So concept of Bass & Treble is clear. Same is applied to keyboard, lower octaves and upper octaves….!

• Usually, the reference key "C" with a particular frequency (indicating the starting range) is marked as MIDDLE – C .

• All the keys starting from middle-C and above..proceeding towards right hand side are called Treble portion

• All the keys below the middle C upto the left corner of the keyboard are called the Bass portion.

(to be continued in Part-2)


Lesson-3 : A Snapshot of a Short-Score !

Hi All,

Even before getting into any basics, I want to introduce the General Scheme of WCM notations.

For many of you, this might have remained elusive the meaning of these symbiols. But it will not remain hereafter!

Let us have a brief encounter with these notations!

Kindly observe closely the following figure :

The above show a sample score sheet in “Short-Score” format.

You can visualize the following :

Two sets of 5 lines called "Stave" – Each set has 5 lines and 4 spaces in between.

There are certain black notes - a closed black dot kind of thing which are attached with a vertical line/stem either upward or downward as the case may be

Now concentrate on top 5 line.

Top 5-line starts with a kind of symbol
– This is called Clef
– in this case Treble Clef
– Indicates which part of key board the notes or belonging to
– in this case it denotes the high pitch notes (above middle-C) -

After the clef symbol, you see the # symbol.
– This is called the key signature
– it is written now on the 5th line in this treble clef
– This helps in fixing & identifying the Scale (crudely Raagam equivalent) of the song

After Key signature, u can see letter “C”
– it is called Time signature
– it helps in identifying the Time factor of the song

Then you can see the notes written
– either on the lines or in the space between (see the black dots - forget about the stem )
– each denotes a particular note A, B, C etc depending on which line or space it is placed

In the top 5 lines of Treble Clef, if u further notice,
- there are two sets of notes are there – first set of notes forming the top line, with stem upwards
– the second set of notes with stem downwards forming the second line
- Each set is for one particular instrument (or voices), so 2 instruments covered (or 2 sets of voices)

• Are you clear of the top 5 lines contents ?


Now concentrate on bottom 5 lines

Now it is easy to follow the same pattern for the bottom 5 lines also :

– the clef symbol is called Bass Clef
- Here also same key signature, only line on which the # symbol is placed is different (4th line)
- Here also the same Time signature , same "C" is there
- Here also notes placed on lines and in spaces
- Here also 2-sets of notes one with stem upward, other with down ward; these form the 3rd and 4th line of song
- Each set is for the 3rd and 4th instrument or voices as the case may be


• IF u r clear on the above points, now concentrate on following additionally derived and summary of facts :

o There are 4–lines ie 4 instruments or 4-voices indicated, each having different notes to follow – Two in Treble Clef and Two in Bass Clef.

o There is a big bracket covering the both Treble Clef and Bass Clef – meaning all the notes of all the clefs are to be followed and sung simultaneously

o So all the 4-lines, ie 4 instruments/voices to sing/ play simultaneously BUT ALSO IN SYNCHRONISATION with each other.

o So there is a vertical relation / association between all the four instruments/ voices
– meaning when the first note of instrument-1 is played all the remaining instruments also play their part of first note and so on following the time pattern

o This relation SHOULD NOT be missed and synchronization maintained – which is the job of music Conductor

o So the Vertical relationship as well as Horizontal relationship of notes is what forming the HARMONY, which SHALL FOLLOW CERTAIN RULES ! (Hundreds of it …..!)

o Usually the very first top line is what u call as melody line which the Singer sings and other 3 are using instruments or again voices.

o It is not necessary that all the time all the 4 lines )we call it 4-parts) are must for Harmony, it may be 2-part or 3-part or 4-part .

o BUT whether 2 or 3 or 4-part Harmony,, the Harmony RULES MUST BE FOLLOWED in music composing !

IR religiously follow these Harmony rules in every micro-seconds of his MUSIC !

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Lesson: 2 - Still in Preliminaries !

Hi All,

Unlike other subjects, music is predominantly a matter of “feeling” .

All of us already “feel” the music, but only the degree of extent of feeling varies, that’s all.

So let us concentrate on some of these feelings and let us apply the “Differentiation” technique :

Take Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiran song. In the beginning, the flute states “Chinna kannan Azhaikkiraan” . Then followed by Dr Balamurali Krishna stating that sentence. (click below to listen!)

You already feel the difference between a flute and Dr BMK’s voice. Don’t’ you ! That’s all enough to state that ”there are difference between voice and an instrument ! “

Similarly there are differences between various instruments, various voices..etc. Same china kannan if sung by SJanaki, you differentiate that ! Similarly, a flute varies from Guitar from violin etc….

Certain thing characterize these differences and without even knowing the terminology we are consciously or unconsciously aware of this fact !

Aware and Keep on developing this differentiation capability . That’s the basic skill required for developing musical capabilities !

Next thing, listen to “Thulli Thulli…” of Chippikkul Muthu (or Suvvi Suvvi of Swathi Muthyam ) Initially, SPB makes some Aalaap like “Aaaa Aaaa" (click below to listen!)

His voice travels to high pitch, drop down, goes bottom of his voice, picking up slowly raising and again reaching top…

So some range of sound level he is showing in that song…

OK. You feel this also…! What else ! So even with the same voice, the song is made up of some travel between various levels of very low to very high…

Keep on developing this differentiation capability also to find the high and low as well as the relative difference feeling !

Now, take the case of “Anne Anne” song. A heavy low voice isn’t it ! (click below to listen!)

Then you listen & feel the IR voice in any other song, the pitch which appears somewhat above that Anne Anne . isn’t it…!.

Then compare with SPB, SJanaki, and the shrieking piece of ‘Thendrale Paatezhudhu.." of Swarnalatha…. !

If you are asked to draw a horizontal line and allocate some range for each of these singers from left end to right end, you can easily do that ….

With some overlapping….In some order ….

Same way you can differentiate the range that can be covered by various instruments, from bass guitar, violin, flute etc ….

Its all about the feeling and most of the time your feelings are right ! In a scale of say 100 %, each of these voices or instruments cover say 30 to 60% only, and the starting and ending point differs for these ranges.

One good instrument cover all these ranges is the Piano or the Keyboard.

To summarise, following differentiation is understood :

-Difference between a Voice and an Instrument

-Difference between the high and low level in the same instrument / voice

-Difference & Comparison between the range that can be handled by different voices/ instruments and their relation

We are already doing these differentiation; only thing required is to consciously increase these differentiating skills.

Western Classical music writing system has all the terminologies and methods to cover and represent the above voice ranges.

Knowing the above subtle differences helps in identifying the right singer or right instrument for the right song/ situation !

IR’s ingenuity of selecting the right kind of instruments and voices based on the range requirement is well known!

In a good music composition, you shall cover all these ranges and represent them at appropriate time for appropriate duration.

WCM often tries to do that with Harmony technique ! Our ultimate goal is to understand that Harmony !

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Lesson-1 : Let us get started !

Hi All,

For all those who are having some apprehensions of various WCM terms being used in various discussions, and strongly believe that it is difficult to understand WCM:

I want to explain these in phased manner in simple (to the extent possible) way. On regular basis I want to put some hints kind of thing for casual reading !

Today we will see some general Concept of music only.

Just we will do the comparison of its building blocks like our language.

Language needs letters Alphabetical A to Z - Music also needs alphabetical viz. notes. Fortunately it needs only 7 letters A to G to denote seven notes.

Collection of letters form the words - Here also collection of various musical notes form the words like equivalent .

Words collected together form the sentence and convey some meaning - Here in music also collection of bunch of notes makes the musical phrases and convey certain feeling (sad, happy, comic, thrilling, frightening etc).

The way we talk with modulation, keeping a gap, with comma, semi colon, full stop etc., raising and lowering of voice etc. musical phrases also "express" its feelings through such equivalent technique .

Ok, we can just talk and communicate, but is that enough ?

We want to document, record and convey it to others, sometime we wanted to communicate without talking and this is done by writing ! Similarly music also needs to be written down for recording, documenting and conveying the exact meaning to others !

( Now you understand, How IR can maintain the disciplined silence and still communicating with every musicians ! B'coz he write notes and everybody follows , with perfect understanding nothing going wrong !)

We write the languages in 1-line, 2-line, 3-line 4-line notebook. (More we grow, we go on reducing the no of lines and finally landing up with no line at all !)

We are not fortunate enough to write a 5-line notebook in our life isn't it !

Now for music we use 5-line notebook called manuscript, each set of 5-line is called a Stave.

It is natural, if we have 5-lines, there will 4-spaces in between.

So A to G can be written on these lines and in between spaces in ascending order from bottom to top in line-space-line-space ..... and so on.

With these background in mind, we can proceed with the preliminaries of WCM !

Let us get started, OK ?


Hello to All !

When I started writing a series on (in letter format) WCM introduction lessons in IR-Yahoo club (and Ilaiyaragam Yahoo Club), I never thought I could sustain writing so much and so long !

I express my sincere gratitiudes to all those club members who encouraged me to do so and especially my thanks to Dr Vijay and Mr Vel Ramanan who allowed me to post those lessons.

This present attempt is to consolidate and re-post them in this blog so that all those postings are available at one place and many who missed them earlier can read them now. A little bit of editing I will try to improvise wherever possible.

Your comments are always Welcome


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