After my recent recording session, I had a distinctive feeling that whenever a new song is ‘born’, the shedload of efforts that goes into its making seldom leave the studio. The song that you hear as an audience is like the flag hoisted on the top of the Everest. The sight of the flag on the summit is the end result of the song, but the actual work of hiking to that point in varied weather conditions is known only to the ‘makers’. The song is the tip of the iceberg which stands above the foundation of solid ice made by the combined work of all the ‘makers’
The reason I am using the terminology of ‘makers’ is because a song is a result of a bunch of creative people. Since a lot of people from the non-music background ask me this question a lot of times, I thought this would be the best way to share how a song is really ‘born’.
The lyrics or the melody to the lyrics, can come in any order and this is just 50% of the work towards completion. Making the lyrics and the melody meaningful is a herculean task in itself. Then comes in the ‘music arranger’ (sometimes a music director itself is the music arranger) According to the purpose of the song, its situation in the film and its emotion, the instruments to be used are usually decided.
Enter : The Studio : The place professionally built with enormous investment and expertise, to record sound in its utmost clarity. The sound engineer is another immensely talented team-mate who’s skill-set is to convert the artist’s music into digital format via the recording software. The recording technology keeps on evolving but the efforts still remain the same. The musicians record their parts on the ‘track’ of the song. The melody parts like flute, strings, violins, guitars, etc and the rhythm parts like tabla, dholak, percussions, drums are recorded separately and each instrument requires its own session at the studio. Once the instrument-tracks are in place, the backing vocal tracks if any, are recorded, where a perfect sync of the tones, scales and voices of multiple singers may be required. The lead singer usually records last in sequence after all other tracks are in place. Once the vocals are recorded, comes the pivotal task of mixing and mastering all the tracks together to get the end result of a soothing harmonious song. This is a summary of what happens usually, sequences of recording and other process might change as per the unique setting.
In all the above brief description, just imagine if one single person fails to do his/her job efficiently, the song may not sound like it does at the end. Singers, musicians, technical experts spent years of their life getting the experience and knowledge to be able to produce something worth the time and money of the audience. It is often said that creative people have a different mindset altogether. When you work hours at your corporate workplace, you have a guarantee of a pay cheque at the end of the month. Most of the creative persons are working without this guarantee, and I guess that can be one definition of passion.
This blog is just a small effort to pass on the thought that think twice before you hit that ‘download’ button. The investment made in making one song is received back in the form of smiles and tears from audience and the happiness of touching people through music. But if each one of us buys that track (which now-a-days is usually Rs 20/- per track) think of the possibility of bringing out good music that otherwise dies merely due to unavailability of budgets.Indian Music is a wide ocean from independent small music producers to the likes of Ajay Atul and A R Rehman. We have a blessing in the form of diversity and mass audience in our country. Only if we harness its power with the simple understanding of the efforts required to make one piece of that favourite song, we can be a huge support to our favourite artists!
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