Desadhi And Madhyadhi Talams

In carnatic classical music, there is a very unique application of Aadhi Talam. When the "Eduppu" (i.e., the starting point of the song) doesn't start at the starting point of the Tala cycle but starts after 2 mathras (or 1/2 aksharam into the cycle) its called Madhyadhi Talam. When the song starts after 6 mathras (or 1.5 aksharamas into the cycle) its called Desadi Talam... The Madhyadhi talam is pretty easy to grasp.. but the desadi talams are relatively complex.. Famous Kritis in Desadi Talams are Raguvamsa suda, Bantureethi, Oraju Pusu etc.. From my childhood violin classes I love these krithis (Well, who doesn't...?)

While Madhyadhi Talams are quite common in Film music , Desadi Talams are quite rare... Even more rare is the occurance of both the styles in the same song..

Here I introduce you to the next hero'sglyphic "Majnu Alidha" from the movie "Usire".. A song that I am sure didn't warrant your second look, if at all you managed to listen to it the first time .. But this song is one of its kind experiment from Raaja.. Besides being a very good Shanmugapriya, it captures the sandy storms in the dessert very well.. Wonder if the picturization did justice to it.. Anyways, here you can listen to it so that you may follow what I am going to blabber next..

Majnu Alidha

When the song starts as "Majnu Alidha", it starts as a Madhyadhi Tala song. But unlike normal Madyadi talas (such as Sundari Neeyum, Pothi vecha malligai mottu etc..)which are very easy to follow, this one feels quite odd.. I think this is because any ordinary composer would have set a rhythm for this tune in such a way that the syllable "maj" from Majnu would be the last 2 matras of the previous Aadhi cycle and the syllable "nu" of Majnu starting at the samam. i.e., an application of "Athitha Eduppu" (i.e., pallavi starting before the tala cycle commence) would have sounded perfect here and easy to follow.. But Raaja is not a ordinary composer..

He goes for 'Anagatha eduppu' instead :-) [i.e., pallavi starting after the tala cycle commence].. Here, the whole of "Majnu" starts well after 2 matras.. very very unorthodox.. Rules....?? what ..?

But the real surprise is saved after the first 2 lines.. The 3rd line of Pallavi "Aledheledu huligidharu" starts after 1.5 aksharams, making it an occurance of Desadi Talam.. It continues like this for next 3 lines.. and then when the pallavi chorus reaches "Oleva..Oleva.." the song is back to Madyadi talam.. Only to go back to Desadi Talam, when the stanza starts .. and it stays so until it ends.. The application of Desadi is best illustrated in the stanza and thats why its my favorite part of the song.... The way it coverging back to Madhyadi talam at "Oh.. Oleve" is super..

And I am thinking for a long time now... other than this song, I can't think of the usage of Desadi Talam in another film song.. May be if I double the speed of the Taalam (to a 1/2 kalai Aadhi Tala or something if ever there is such a thing), then I end up with a few such as "Nilave Vaa" (Mouna raagam), Stanza of Kurukku Siruthavale (Rehman's Mudhalvan) etc., But none in the normal oru kalai Aadi Talam's tempo. I would be certainly very interested to know if there are more..

The best part of this song is that, The rest of the song seem to be operating in a different frame of reference to that of Mano's. If you see the Rhythm as well as the remaining arrangements, they go about their business as if its a regular Aadi Tala song. This is unlike the regular carnatic Desadi songs, where the stage is normally well set by the percussionist by emphasizing the start of the cycle well enough so that the vocalist gets a grip to start 1.5th aksharams there after. But here this song is a regular 16 Beat shuffle that we are very used to in Ace of base, Unai Kaana villaiye Netrodu etc.. This pattern is meant for a normal Aadi Talam song and there is no element in this rhythm to suggest it could be used as a Desadi Pattern . That for me is really out of the box.. I am sure Mano might have relished this experiment as remembering to sing with little complicated reference on a rhythm pattern that's his daily cup of tea is a bit tricky. And hope you liked it too... :-)

With Love

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