Having extensively covered Raaja's application of Chords, one particular aspect which I would like to highlight is the density of chords in his arrangements. Let me patent a term for this:

Chord + Density = Chordensity

At constant Temperature, c = n/t
Where c= Chordensity
n = number of chords
t = time (lets say, no. of beats)

(Ok.. the constant temperature part was rubbish in case you are wondering!! :-))

This not to say Raaja's chordensity is always high. Its absolutely dependent on the melody at any given point of time. Most of the time the chords are Walking behind the melody dutifully or walking hand in hand like an able accomplice. The Chordensity here is usually low to moderate. This is how most of the composers compose..

But then suddenly Raaja would go into this Turbo mode, typically overwhelming the melody (and the listener) and pack the punches. Chordensity is at the highest here..

I thought I will demo this with a song..

Now if you see the first two lines of the stanza, It starts with DM7th..

Thedinen = DM7th

He hangs on to this chord for 2 bars, rather unusually long for Raaja's standards.. But all he is doing is going into the stealth mode to come out firing all cylinders.. See this:

Thendralile = DM7th Gmin
Midhandhu Varum = F# Bm
Then malare = E A
Aeee = F#

The Chordensity leaps from zero to 100 in less than 4 seconds.. Better than a Ferrari F40 !

And yet not one chord is mistimed.. Not one chord is out of place. The Chord arrangement fits the melody to the T. Overall aesthetic beauty is stunning.. That is Ilaiyaraaja !

Phrases like this is all too common in Raaja's songs. What is not so common is finding another composer who can do the same.

With Love

I am not a Guitarist ! I am not a Guitarist ! I am not a Guitarist !
(Sorry if I reminded you of a court season !!)

See this scene from the classic "Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu"

The reason why I can strum some basic guitar is very similar to why Kamal knows Malayalam and Gujarathi...

About 10 years ago, when the over-payed-under-efficient-managers (is there another kind?) of my would be employer decided that they have recruited one too many, they conveniently asked all we green beans, not to join them immediately but to take a stroll and come back 3 months later. I happen to spend those 3 months with a guitarist friend and got mutually inducted.. He has since become a professional guitarist/ composer while what I am doing is pretty obvious to you... Vetti blogging of course :-)

Therefore please don't blame my beautiful guitar for the part that sounds like I am plucking a rubber band wrapped around the lunch box. Its the guitarist :-)

(I am personally cross with the word "Deiveegam" in the end of the pallavi which is D --> F# --> Bm. I did this correctly while plucking (relatively tougher to do) while screwed it up doing the rhythm guitar on both times.. too lazy to redo and left it as such)

And finally, this one is dedicated to Ved, the guy who taught me to guitar !!

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