Archive for March, 2011


Aanewala Pal Jaanewala Hai: Technical Analysis

have always wondered why this song creates magic every time I listen to it. How
did people feel when the song played the very first time on the radio? How did
the musicians feel on their way back home after recording this masterpiece?

Trying to figure out Pancham song is like finding out what goes behind a
delicately prepared dish. You can probably figure out some of the ingredients,
but recreating it is another thing. You mostly end up marveling at it.

The melancholic feel is set right from the beginning with a beautiful arpeggio
of bells (gosh why don’t they use bells in today’s songs anymore?). Hear how a
sharp note (dang dang) keeps the rhythm while the arpeggio is playing. A subtle
bass appears twice: once in the middle and once towards the end to set up the
scene for the oncoming avalanche of trumpet and sax. I think the song is in F
major scale and the bell arpeggio is around Fmaj chord. What follows is loud
trumpets crescent to a point where the bass, chords and alto sax takes over to
hit the Bbmaj chord and then the sax continues to explore Bbmaj chord. It then
tries to come back to the home note of F (Fmajor scale starts with F), but it
stops just one note short in G instead and Kishore’s humming takes over from F.

The song uses a very popular chord progression of I-IV-V. This means the chords
used will be made of the first note (F), IV note (Bb) and V note (C) of the
underlying scale. So in this case the chords are Fmaj, Bbmaj, and Cmaj.
Kishore’s humming sets the tone accordingly. I love the way the song picks up
speed from the bells all the way to Kishore’s humming. It feels like we just
boarded a train and it gradually picked up speed to set us in a rhythmic
journey. The bells are like the warning bells before departure, whistle of the
train are the trumpets, sax sets the train to motion and the singing starts
after the train picks up speed! In fact the drums in the song do indeed sound
like they are inspired by the sound of train and tracks. Aaanewala Pal Jaanewala
hai…the song needs a melancholic treatment with a feel of passage of time. How
many times do you hear the music so perfectly create a mood for the words to

Now there are numerous songs based on I-IV-V chord progression, but what makes
this song unique is the intervals chosen for the melody and Kishore Kumar’s
truly inimitable open singing. Kishore kumar’s singing is reminiscent of
melancholic renditions of Sinatra. Listen to the continuous transitions in
walaaa…pal and wahan dastaa…an bani. A slight reverb is used to enhance this
effect and together with the strings accompanying the vocals, it creates a
magical spell. Of course, I can’t say enough about Gulzar’s words.

In the following lines, I will mark chords I use by the letter before the words.
(F) Aanewalaa (Bb) pal (C)Jaanewala (F) hai. Pal is note D which is VI from the
root node F and is the second note in Bb chord. So when the vocals go from F all
the way to D, it creates enormous tension, a long stretch, which should be
resolved, but guess what it doesn’t resolve, it keeps stretching further to the
E note (2nd note in C chord). I think this is what hooks you to the song right
away, and then the tension resolves with return to A (2nd note of F chord)
followed by the strings taking it all the way down back to F. The movement from
V back I is called a perfect cadence and it indeed is perfect in this
composition. If you play the keyboard and keep playing around the first line, it
is so beautiful that you can keep playing it for hours (I envy the guitar
players at this point).

(F) Ho sake to (C) Isme (C) Zindagi (F) beetado. This line has a very strong
contrast compared to the first line. While the first line sounded sad and tense,
the second line is more playful, and the drumming changes to create this effect.
A subtle flute follows the voice — this is another one of pancham’s trick we
here in other songs such as hume tumse pyar kitna. The phrase has simple I-IV-I
interplay. But the contrast grabs your interest instantly and you wait for the
what happens wouldn’t have expected this..the next phrase walks
you through the entire octave..(F)pal (Bb)jo yeh (C)jaane (Bb)wala (C)hai ho

What follows is an accordion like instrument (anyone knows what it is?). It goes
on like a butterfly hopping from flower to flower…and the best part is the
rolls it has at the end of each phrase (twice). I wonder if it was a spontaneous
improvisation while the song was recorded. Then strings come back and then
12-string guitar chords, followed by gentle strums before the antara starts. One
of the reasons why I am a big fan of RD works between 78 to 84 is because of the
frequent use of 12 string guitar. Ghar, Masoom, kudrat, Manzil and many more.
Don’t know if anyone else used it at that time, but really his choice of this
instrument is very interesting because it sounds like a blend between santoor
and sitar and gives Indian feel to western ideas.

(F)Ik baar yun mili (Am) massom si kali (C) khilte hue (Bb)kaha (Bb) ushbaas
(C)main chali

(F)Dekha to yahin hai (C) Dhoonda to nahin hai…followed by one more octave

This ends with 12-strings chords again followed by strings then more strumming
of guitar. The pitch bends here give a nice effect to the arpeggio. A change of
scene, it is as if a station is approaching and looks like the train will stop,
but we just look at the people waiting at the station and the train picks up
speed and moves on. Strings move the song along with some really touching sax
joining it. At this point you are not sure if you’d reflect on the words just
said or just get yourself lost in the sax. Somehow to me the phrases here bring
back a old memories, then the second antara comes, followed by the mukhda again
and then the song just fades away guided by trumpets