Dec 13, 2007

Science in song lyrics



Some songs have the knack of stimulating some interesting scientific thoughts when I hear them.. It so happens that most of the time the lyrics remind me of the scientific content.. A few such lines from songs, retrieved by a quick recollection:

1) நிலவில் பொருள்கள் எடையிழக்கும்
நீரிலும் பொருள் எடையிழக்கும்
'Nilavil porulgal edaiyizhakkum
neerilum porul edaiyizhakkum' (Ratchagan)
This song easily gets the top spot for such a beautiful comparison for love. Things lose their weights in moon and in water. Gravity explains the loss in moon and the viscosity, in water. When Vairamuthu compares these apparent sense of weight loss with feeling light when in love, it is more apt, in another sense too: one says 'I fell in love'.. when you 'fall', your body feels lighter, doesnt it?

2) அழகிய நிலவில் ஆக்சிஜன் நிரப்பி....
'Azhagiya nilavil oxygen nirappi' (Jeans)
Though trivial, it reiterates a couple of facts: one- there is no oxygen in moon, and two- humans need oxygen to survive.

3) தாமரை மேலே நீர்த்துளி போல்....
'ThAmarai mElE neerthuLi pOl' (Mouna RAgam)
Though it has been used for comparison since ancient times, in the modern times scientists are trying to mimic the lotus for coatings of some applications. Water doesnt wet lotus (flower and leaves) because of surface tension, which arises from its unique surface chemistry due to water-repellant chemicals.

4) வண்ணத்துப்பூச்சி உடம்பில் ஓவியங்கள் அதிசயம்
'Vannathupoochi udambil OviyangaL adhisayam' (Jeans)
Again, man has been wondering about the beauty of butterflies. The exotic colors in the wings of butterflies arise due to an optical effect called 'thin film interference'. Amazing that there are no dyes which give the various colors to butterflies.

5) உலகம் திரியும் காற்றுக்கு உருவம் தீட்டமுடியாது.
'Ulagam thiriyum kAtrukku uruvam theetta mudiyAdhu' (Mozhi)
It is simply explained by the fluidic nature of air.. Air, a fluid, doesn't have a shape by itself and it takes up the shape of the container it is in..

6) வெண்ணிலவே வெள்ளி வெள்ளி நிலாவே
போகுமிடமெல்லாமே கூடக்கூட வந்தாய்..
'VennilavE veLLi veLLi nilAvE
pogumidam ellAmE koodakooda vandhAi' (Vettaiyadu vilayadu)

That is simply because the distance between earth and moon is so large that any distance that a man covers by whatver means is too small to make a difference to the relative position of the moon. This creates an illusion as if moon is moving alongwith you.

7) நீலநிறம் வானுக்கும் கடலுக்கும் நீலநிறம்
'Neela niRam vAnukkum kadalukkum neelaniRam' (En aNNan)
Sky appears blue because of Raman scattering.. Sea appears blue bcos it simply reflects the sky. To say that they are blue, bcos the girl's eyes are blue is, well, poetic freedom..
All these lyrics talk of 'correct' scientific events. The reason for this post is a recent song which has the lines
மேற்கு திசையை நோக்கி நடந்தால்
இரவு கொஞ்சம் சீக்கிரம் வருமா..
'MERku dhisaiyai nOkki nadandhAl
iravu konjam seekkiram varumA' (ATM)

Nice ones.. The lyricist's inclination is clear.. but he is going in the wrong direction.. Since earth rotates eastwards, one has to walk in that direction for the night to approach faster.

38 comments:

J said...

Wowww, what a post, superrrr :-) beautiful pics too.

OSAI Chella said...

Have your heard this stuff before

Arumaiyaana aayvu!

anbudan
Osai Chella
http://osaichella.blogspot.com

PPattian : புபட்டியன் said...

Nice one Raj. Good concept.

I gave link from my blog to this.. see

http://ppattian.blogspot.com/2007/12/blog-post.html

Raju said...

J, Welcome back, and thanks.. :)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Osai Chella, welcome here.. and thanks.. :)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Ppattian, thanks for your kind words and linking this post.. I am glad u liked it..

Me too said...

Aahaa, an apt post from you, the scientist/cinema buff!!

mitr_bayarea said...

Raju-

very unique post. Shows the true chemist in you.

Good one!

Raju said...

Aparna and Mitr romba nandri..

VM said...

Raju,

How come you missed the other one in Adhisayum ?

Raju said...

Vm, oh yes.. I forgot to add that..

"Alai kadal thandha megathil
siru thuLi kooda uppillai
mazhai neerum adhisayamey"

explains the process of (natural)distillation.

In fact, there is another recent song which has got some interesting lyrics:

"Udalai pOl azhagAna pandam illai
udhavAdha bAgangaL ingu illai"

He says that every part of the body is useful. That is the way evolution worked, rite? The useless countable ones are the 'vestigeal organs'.

VM said...

You've got it rite :)

Archana said...

Sooper!!! good observation!

puvanan said...

Beautiful topic with interesting facts.. Love this post :)

Raju said...

Vm, :)
------------------
Archana, welcome here.. and thanks for ur comment..
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Puvanan, U r welcome and thanks to you too..

Awatts said...

Romba nalla analysis...sorry been offline for too long...

Raju said...

Ajitha, welcome back and thanks.. Hope everything is fine with you..

Ramya harish said...

lovely post! am thinking of some more songs to add to tis list..

Ramya harish said...

hi raju i got some songs which i felt were related to science.. but am nt well-versed in explaining the science behind it.. So u plzz do it for me..also tell if its not any science..
1. Kandukonden Kandukonden - Illai Illai solla - kaNNaadi bimbam katta kayir onRum illaiyadi
kaNNaadi oonjal bimbam aadudhadi

2. thaamarai ilay thaNeer poal nee
otti ottaamaLiru(Baba - Maya Maya)
3.vaasanai irukkum varayiniL sirikkum
pookaLin kadhai dhaan bhoomiyiL
namakkum (Baba-Maya Maya)
4.Boomi sutruvadhu ninruvittaal puviyil enrumae maatramillai (Bombay - Kuchi Kuchi rakkama)
5.mazhai megath thooralai ellam malaigal vaanga
athu thantha kulir neerai thaan odaikal thaanga
(desam - unnai kelai)
6.kadaloadu muththam thandhum kalaiyaadha vaanam poala (En swaasa katre - theendai)
7. nadhiyin thaedal kadaisiyil kadal kaaNbadhu (Kandukonden kandukonden-same song)
8.vaanam thirandhaal mazhai irukkum (may maadham-en mel vizhundha)
9.chandhiranaith thottadhu yaar ARMSTRONGaa adi ARMSTRONGaa (rakshagan)
10.meengalai sumappathonrum neerukku baaramillai (Rakshagan - chandirnai)
11.thaNNeer kudaththil piRakkiRoam oahoa
thaNNeer karaiyil mudikkiRoam oahoa
(Rhythm - dheem thanana)

Ramya harish said...

Hi Raju, visit my blogs
General - http://thinkinglotsathings.blogspot.com

Music - http://live-with-music.blogspot.com

can u add my link in your blog..
thanks
ramya

Ramya harish said...

Raju, naa yosichu yosichu songs ezhudinen.. endha reply um kannume.. ??

Raju said...

Ramya, I am sorry for not replying to your wonderful list. Actually I did almost complete a few days ago and then I took a break. Then I visited someone else's blog and when I clicked on the comments to his post, the page where I was replying you was gone. I didnt have much time since then to re-write it.. anyway, here it is...

First of all, a big thanks to you for thinking about it and adding some great numbers to this list..

1) This is more philosophical and romantic than scientific.. The preceding lines are very important..
"Idhayam oru kannAdi unadhu bimbam veezhndhadhadi
IdhudhAn un sondham idhayam sonnadhadi"

He metaphorically says that his heart is like glass/mirror (in addition to its being fragile).. The image we see on the mirror is simply the reflection of light from the original and hence it cant be tied by any rope.
"KannAdi oonjal bimbam Adudhadi" is really beautiful. He says that the mirror is swinging now and her image is swinging in it.. One can also re-interpret in the following way: You know there are swings with glass platform instead of wood.. He says that the image is sitting on the glass swing and is swinging merrily, without bothering how fragile it (the heart) is.. He compares this act of her to the indifference she shows towards him (in the context of the movie).. Vairamuthu-nna Vairamuthudhan..

2) It is similar to the song #3 in my list.

3) This is again philosophical.. He talks about the instability by pointing out that the value of a flower is only until its fragrance lasts.

4) That is cutely scientific. We know that the various climates in different parts of the world are all due to Earth's rotation around the Sun. Also, its self-rotation is what causes day and night. If both the rotations stop (especially the latter), there will hardly be any change in the world.

5) I havent heard this song. From the lyrics, I see that he is talking about the natural process of raining on the hills and subsequent origin of rivers from the hills. Not much science in it but more of a natural process.

6) This is very sweet. It is an illusion that a sea and the sky meet (kiss) in the horizon. It is due to the curvature of the earth and to the vastness of the ocean that we feel as if the sky (which itself is an imagination, it doesnt have a real definition as such but merely appears colored due to Raman scattering of light) and a sea converge at a far away distance. Vairamuthu adds romance (kiss) to a process which is originally not happening at all (convergence and thus no chance of 'disturbance', i.e., kalaithal)to help the hero convince the heroine for a hug.

7) This is again a natural process, though at this times, esp. in Tamilnadu we can say that hardly few rivers manage to meet the sea. Rivers are formed in hills and due to gravity, they keep travelling until they reach the sea.

8) Again, similar to ur #6, Vairamuthu compares raining to opening up of the sky, which by itself is only vague in definition. Since we often say "it is raining as if the sky has opened", he has used it that way.

9) Even I thought of this song but didnt include it becos it was less of science but more of a scientific event. But again, since girls are compared to moon, he says that it is not Armstrong who has touched moon but himself (by this he says that she is the only moon in the whole solar family). The only sore point is the use of the world 'Chandiran' which is used to define moon as masculine. IMHO, he could have used it as "Vennilavai thottadhu.." or "Venmadhiyai thottadhu.." or "Poonilavai thottadhu..".

10) Here again, it is Vairamuthu's imagination for a natural process. He feels that water is 'carrying' fishes, but actually, since water is a fluid and hence can be made to accomodate an object without any major disturbance to its shape. Thus, she says that she can also bear his weight without any discomfort.

11) A very touching scientific phenomenon beautifully expressed by Vairamuthu. The fetus is surrounded by amniotic fluid which provides a medium and room for the movement. Vairamuthu compares it to 'thanneer kudam'. Though it might sound crude and rude, one can say that it is a layman's understanding of the fluid that surrounds us b4 we r born. The latter part of the song is a spiritiual/ritual one.

I managed it at last. I think this reply is as long as the post itself.. ;)

Ramya harish said...

kalakiteenga Raju..thanks for your effort in writing this...
Your explanation to 1,6,9 r lovely..
abt 1: I dint actually understand the meaning of 1st song till i read ur reply.. as you said vairaamuthu vairamuthudhan..
abt 9: If at all i meet kavignar vairamuthu sometime, i wud definitely tell him about armstrong song..good analysis..

Ramya harish said...

5th song s swadesh tamil version of Yuhi chala..

Ramya harish said...

See this and other posts in the blog..
http://thinkinglotsathings.blogspot.com/2008/04/one-of-my-favourite-post-science-in.html

Ramya harish said...

oh god..tell me what is IMHO.. i read it in a no. of posts.. excuse my ignorance..am new to blogging..

Raju said...

Ramya, thanks... though it took some time to explain the lyrics you had mentioned, I felt it was worth, since I myself had not thought deep about it that way. Sometimes there is chance of overanalyzing what the lyricist meant, but who knows what he thought, except himself?

Thanks for pointing out my comments in your blog..

IMHO means 'In My Humble Opinion'..

Ramya harish said...

thanks raju:)as VM said kavidhaiku poi azhagu,some may be just exaggeration to add beauty to the song..

Raju said...

Ramya, u r welcome..

Poi kavidhaikku mattum illai, kAdhalukkum azhagudhan.. definitely our lyricists use it in generous excess..

BTW, in addition to what i mentioned in "Chandiranai thottadhu" song, I wish to mention a line from the recent "Idhayam idam mariyadhE" song from JodhA Akbar. Vairamuthu has mentioned "Senchooriyan jOthiyil Chandiran oLi serndhadhO"... comparing the union between Hrithik and Aish. Since he compares Hrithik to Sooriyan and Aish to moon, he might have used the female version of moon. I wish it was "Senchooriyan jOthiyil veNNilavoLi serndhadhO"...

Ramya harish said...

Hmmm.. I have nt listened to jodha akbar tamil songs.. stil here is my idea from wat u said..
In rakshagan song, he cud hv used vennilavai or venmadhiyai, but indha paatula edhugai monaiya vararthukaaga 'Senchooriyan..chandiran' nu sollirkaaru.. idhu excusable dhaane..

Raju said...

Ramya, it is now time for me to ask how come u have missed Tamil Jodha Akbar songs. Especially the two songs that I mentioned (one solo by Srinivas and the other duet by Karthik&Chitra) are just mind-boggling melodies. Anyway, coming to the point you mentioned about ethugai monai.. it is a very good point. But, ChandiranoLi will be exactly like vennilavoLi in that aspect. If you look at the syllables, the former has chan-dira-noLi and the latter ven-nila-voLi. Identical, rite? Both come under 'poomAnkani' category in tamil grammer (remember from your school lessons?) So, edhugai-monai wise it is perfect. Also, there is one more aspect to look at.. the two lines that are synched are:
Senchooriyan jOthiyil ChandiranoLi sErndhadho
AsaindhAdum aazhiyil azhagiya nadhi kalandhadhO

Senchooriyan gets asaindhAdum, where both are similar; now, ChandiranoLi (without any adjective) gets azhagiya nadhi, where 'azhagu' is the adjective. Similarly, had he used 'vennilavoLi', 'vellai' being an adjective would have made perfect sense according to the formula of the poem, and also given a female look to it.

:) It looks like I am making a big issue out of nothing.. but, what interests me is how someone as versatile, fluent and experienced like Vairamuthu has continued to ignore this in two songs spread over 10 years.

Ramya harish said...

Raju, i have mixed feelings now..
1. I feel guilty for not listening to new songs being engrossed wit my son.. but when i had time also, i spent it blogging... am downloading jodha akbar songs right now.. let me listen to them first,. I heard Guru long time after its release...
2. u know wat I was mad about tamil grammAr in school.. used to score first in grammar n essays n scored 94 in tenth .. aana ippo andha alavu nyabagam illai.. i understood those syllable aspects n synch b/w 2 lines..but poomAnkani ennanu puriyala..(sathiyama nyabagam illai..is it surely grammar or poetry??) may be in the song the way u told ll sound good .. wil listen to them first n tell..
Ennavo, kandippa vairamuthu voda oru appointment fix pannanum pola irukke...

Ramya harish said...

i heard idhayam idham maariyadhe.. its nice.. u know i somehow feel difficult to like or get used to song which has a pallavi, and a charanam of a totally different raaga n rhythm..maybe wit the video i ll like it,.. tat too flat notes in the charanam.. konjam apdi ipdi sangathi irundha inum nalla irundhurkum.. there r no. of ARR hits of similar kind like 'strawberry penne','thendrale..'tis s also one.. but i wil take time to like it more.. i know am totally deviating from the topic.. anyway.. naa Senchori-yan, chandi-ran... adha sonnen.. ur analysis s also gud n acceptable.. aana sathiyama indha lines a vera yaarum ivlo aaraichi pannirka maatanga...

Ramya harish said...

visit my latest post n comment plz
http://live-with-music.blogspot.com/2008/04/my-voice.html
Also visit , http://thinkinglotsathings.blogspot.com

Raju said...

Ramya, dont feel guilty for this and all.. I was only kidding... I can understand how demanding it would be to be a working mom of a 6-month old..
U r right.. what I discussed was the grammer of the poetry..

I don't know Carnatic music and I think that ignorance is a bliss for me. What I liked about the song were Karthik's lovely voice, superb lyrics and the change in raaga that you mentioned. I felt that the combination of high and low pitches of the song were nicely mixed to show the euphoric mood of the success of love and the calmness it brings.

LOL on your last comment.. I think if one listens to a song for a long time, the song enters into them and they enter into the nuances of the song..

Ramya harish said...

Raju, I went to ribbon cutting ceremony of a dental clinic started by son in law of my music master(sekar,f/o mahathi).. And our kavignar vairamuthu was there to cut the ribbon n yethify the kuthu vilakku,,. oru cycle gap kedacha poondhu chandiran-vennila issue pathi pesidalaam nu vaai thuru thru nu irundhudhu.. he came in pure white pyjamas.. after he came inside the roonm , he smiled n waved hands to ppl there where i also stood.. he was shown a ppt on dental stuff..then had a coffee n started.. heard him talking for sumtime.. adhuve trupthiya irududhu.. edhavadhu public fn irundha yaara pathiyum kavala padaama pesirupen.. innoru dhadava paakamala poida poren..irukatum..

wats ur mail id.. am deviating a lot from the topic in the post

Raju said...

Ramya, hmmm.. I saw Mahathi's wedding photos and her husband was looking handsome. LOL on your attempts to meet and talk to Vairamuthu... I donno how he converses with people off-camera (in pure tamil or colloquial one)...

My e-mail ID is rajublog-at-gmail-dot-com..

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