3.21.2008

Sing Along

We often call a song good, a classic, great, pleasant, soothing, catchy, disturbing, soul stirring and all that. But what makes a song a sing-along song? Good melody, great melody, catchy rhythm, or is its lyrical beauty? Humming is something that we do even we are not actually listening to a song, but we sing along when we actually are hearing and listening the song. By singing along, I mean naturally singing along with the song, without even being aware of it.

What makes us to sing-along with a song? Is it the great melody? Yes, may be, but it can’t be just that. Or is it the catchy rhythm? No, I don’t remember singing-along with any of the kuthu songs that has been dished out in every other Tamil movie soundtrack. But definitely rhythm has a part to play, when it is a fitting rhythm that gently carries the melody without any overbearing sound. Or is it the lyrical beauty? No, because I sing (rather hum) along even when I hear an instrumental piece or a song in the language that I don’t understand. And in what I call sing-along songs, I don’t usually sing-along from the very first line till the last word of the song. Suddenly somewhere in the middle, something pushes me to start singing along with the music, it could be just a word, or just a line.

May be there could be some technical reasons for a song and its melody to have this quality, but from a layman’s perspective, I feel it is the flow in the melody (the rhymes we learned in our childhood are the simple and best example for the flow in the melody), is what that makes it a sing-along song. Though there are songs with very complex melodic structures, catchy rhythms and great lyrical value, there is always this natural link that gets formed between phrases of the melody. A melody which starts with a stream of notes, when it takes a very natural passage, which sounds as if can’t take any better path, as if there is not alternate path in which the this melody can flow. The feel, this link or connection between phrases is not seamless in all the songs. Even the songs that we call great from a technical point of view may not have this seamless link between the phrases.

I don’t know if an entire song can maintain this streamline flow in its melody. But this kind of a sing-along song is becoming a rarity these days. It certainly requires some skill and genius to e experiment make a melody technically complex and great for elites and yet have this sing-along quality that helps a layman to connect with the song easily. Somehow, when we try to put our mind into the technical details in the song, we forget that there is such a beautiful quality that exists for a song, and we miss the pleasure of singing along.


Also, Why do we hum?

2 comments:

OLED said...

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Balaji said...

that was nicely written. wish u'd mentioned some of your sing-along songs :)