Thursday, 16 October 2008

Have you ever wondered how a song is composed.?

Here, in this post, im gonna explain how a song is composed in a studio.. I got inspired to write upon this from a blog which i read last night.. Im not sure whether these are followed by every music directors, but most of it are basic ones that one has to follow to bring out good music.. As of i know, and as of i've learnt, i think this is how a song is done.. The process starts like this..

The music director listens to the script of the movie and then deciedes upon having it agreed or rejected.. It all depends on the script of the movie and the way a movie director conveys it..

After the selection of the script, the music director asks the director for the need of the song and the reason why it has to be played after that particular scene.. If he is satisfied, he agrees.. else he rejects..

There are two ways by which a tune is composed.. First, the lyricist writes the lyrics and music directors compose tunes or vice versa.. The latter is comparitively easy..

He then sits down to compose with his own voice and records every songs in his voice.. (This depends upon the music directors.. Some may have singers who are used for this purpose..)

He deciedes for the singers depending upon the actors in the movie.. More than the song itself, voices are more essential and it has to be selected so that it matches with the charater screened in the movie..

The singers are called and are made to sing the song which was already sung by the music director (or someone).. Recording the vocals takes 3-4 days and it takes 10-15 days for a song (It depends upon the song and the music directors).. Legends like Rahman never modifies the song, instead, he makes the singers to modify as per the song..

Music arrangers are people who assist Music Directors.. Music Directors supervise the works of the Music arranger and tells him if there is a change that has to be made.. Music arranger takes care of rest of the process.. He arranges the pads, percusions, rhythms, chords, basslines, strings etc.. Muscians like Rahman and Ilayaraja are not Music Directors, they are Music Composers and are totally different from Music Directors..

The actual music composition starts only after when the vocals get over.. He applies his ideas and creativity to make the song a hit.. The vocals and the music are done seperately and are then mactched accordingly.. The frequency must match else it has to be matched using the FDM and it is a huge process..

The song mixing is a very tedious one.. Programming is done using softwares like Logic, Garage etc.. Logic is a audio mixing software that can only be used in Apple Mac computers.. Pre-mixing is done by channeling the tracks- chorus in two tracks, percusions in two tracks etc.. Every track has channels which has a baud rate frequency.. And that frequency is used for the pitch of the song (for more on this technically, google it!).. There is something called the 'resonant frequency' which is achieved from the intersection of pitch depth value and volume graph.. It is very difficult to obtain the resonancy and it purely depends upon the equipments one has in his studio..

Then EUPHONIX comes in for its work.. Euphonix is used to give an analog warmth.. Most of the directors use Abysynth for generating synth.. Synth, Loops and samples enhance the song.. Music directors buys loops and samples from companies like Sony and Apple who are the major distributors.. Musicians, example, a pianist would've have played his tunes and would've sold it to Sony
or other distributors on agreement.. Music directors buys it from them and uses them in their songs.. Its like this- Instead of calling the musicians, they buy thier recorded piece and uses them..

Audio samples plays a very vital role for music directors.. Audio samples can be used anywhere in a song and it sounds original.. A portion of a sound recording is taken and can be reused as an instrument or element for a new recording.. This is done using computer programmes.. I've read from a blog that the drum beats which comes at the end of Rahman's MUKABULA MUKABULA are nothing but Audio samples and he has got the largest collections of Audio samples in Asia..

There is something that we have to learn which sounds very similar to pitch.. Music directors have 'tracks' which range from 1-15.. A singer who sings in track 15 is of a very high scale.. Rahman, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan can sing in track 15 which is a very high scale.. To differentiate between these tracks, let us take the song JAAGE HAIN from GURU.. Rahman starts in low mod and then shifts to high mod track 15.. These are done in many songs.. Krish's voice in Vennilave (Vetayadu Vilayadu) is made to modualate from low mod to high mod.. It is difficult for some singers to sing in a very high scale so the music directors tells the singers to sing in a low mod tack 5 or 6, and then shifts it to track 12 or 13 as they wish.. To make this, it takes more time and it is done by Frequency Division Modulation.. To replicate the same sound of the singer in track 12, advanced machineries should be available in one's studio, else it clearly shows.. And also, this is a very costly process..

Music director composed BGM from the script explained by the directors.. After when the movie is shooted, the BGM is altered numerous times to attune to the scene.. Sometimes, the directors make the scene attune to the music.. For most of the BGMs, local directors use software which create pleasent sounds.. Sound editing is done using softwares like Neundo, Cubase ,Sonar and Logic which reduces the work of the music director.. Rahman uses very less of these and he always opts for original sounds.. Harris, yuvan and other local directors uses atmosphere pads like Area 51, Air 201, Equinox etc in their songs which gives a pleasent sound.. Even FL studio has various pads collection.. These just make the song sound good but the originality gets burried..

Composing a song is a very difficult process which requires advanced softwares and hardwares to transform the sound into a required one.. A very basic software that can be used for composition is the FL Studio where one can sit at home and compose tracks.. It is even possible to make a song sound good using FL Studio but all we need to have is creativity.. Tunes that i compose using the FL Studio sounds normal and it has no originality, perhaps, no life.. For a song to be felt, or to get it etched in our hearts, the very basic ratio is 1:10.. That is, 10% is of the loops and 'software-created' instruments, and 90% is of the originality and innovation.. FL helps in exercising our innovations and creativity, but it should be known that you're still a 'dummy composer'..! And ya.. That goes for me as well..!!


xtro said...

Thanks Sajith. This is very informative. And the Manmohini karaoke was too good. I was just wondering if you have kangal irandal from subramanya puram Karaoke track? Thanks again

S.Sajith Mohideen said...

Thanx pal.. And ya.. will try to do it after my exams ;)

prashu said...

This was very informative and intresting.But i still wonder how people used to record perfect songs in the olden without all this techno stuff [:O]

schmooze said...

this info is quite valuable!
it carries d real essence