Monday, August 03, 2009

A.R. Rahman & Composing Background Scores

1. If the same question had be asked to Ilayaraja, my gut tells me that that his answer to the first question would have been vastly different.

2. Somehow cannot imagine ARR as a MIDI user (even though it was in the past).

Describe your method for scoring a film.

I mostly don't write to specifically defined cues. I just watch the film a couple of times, stop watching it, then write something that comes to my mind from the film. This way, when I try to sync the music, the results are that much more wholesome. You get something extra that you don't get when you're looking at specific points in the timeline. The music is much more organic this way, not jumping cue to cue. It's more about counterpointing and, sometimes, walking hand-in-hand. Most of the time it works out. If you watch the picture and try to have a specific chord change here, a tempo change there, when the director comes back and wants to move picture, you find that you've wasted time. I think this way is more appealing to me and to the people watching the film. Click tracks and following the SMPTE are necessary for some things, but once you have everything in Logic, then afterwards you can edit and make minor changes.

What’s your typical writing workflow in the studio?

When I’m doing a song or any improvisation, most of the time I have a live input on it, with headphones on, and the performers in the booth. And I have a MIDI keyboard running simultaneously. So if I’m doing something that is partly Indian classical, I keep prompting the singer or the performer on the mike, and then keep playing it. After twenty minutes of that we sit down and edit the portions I like. Sometimes I work like that, but sometimes I do like the standard thing. You know, you have an idea and then you start playing more instruments, more Logic instruments.

Normally what happens is I have a rhythm, and it’s probably a loop. Then I do my vocals, and once I have a structure in place, I record with the singers and write lyrics. When I have the vocal recording, I then work in reverse for the music. We record live rhythms sometimes, and then start programming, and everything is complete. Then of course all the editing is done, and we go through the mastering. That’s pretty much it


Sreekrishnan said...

i was just checking this today ... when i was pre ordering Snow Leopard ...

very good insight .. and yes Ilaiyaraja would have a different style for sure ! I remember a Mani Ratnam interview where he talks difference between both ... a DD interview when Dil Se came i think !

blackaccord said...

He's still a midi user and always looking to learn.. He had used Continuum ( in Delhi6 which is a midi controller and an instrument... When it comes to Background scores, I feel that Rahman has always been underrated.. but thats just me...

anush said...

Here is (a brief) Maniratnam's assessment on Raja's methodology:

raja treats the BGM separately 99% of the time. rahman mostly uses an instrumental version of his songs, with reduced tempo or does some kind of a remix of the film's songs. When he doesn't use the songs for BGM, it clearly sticks out - like Swades, Roja, etc.

Anonymous said...

Top 10 Rahman Melody songs:

Katre en Vasal - Rythm
Maargali - Sangamam
Narumugai - Iruvar
Vennilavey - Minsara Kanavu
Ennavaley - Kadhalan
Uyire - Uyire
Kadhal rojave - Roja
Oru deivam - Kannathil Muthamittal
Minnale - May madam
Kannirey - Uyire

What say?