Why instrument music is more when new singers are singing the old songs.

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navjyot

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Hi All,
I am new to this. i wanted to know why instrument music is more dominent as compared to vocal, when new singers are singing the old songs.

1. original song(lag ja gale - lata mangeshkar)
here the sound of instruments is roughly 25% of the vocal sound. so i can enjoy the vocal at low volume.

2. same song by lata(Live At BBC Studio)
here the sound of instrument is slightly more.

3. same song by shreya ghoshal
here the sound of instrument is more(rougly 40% of vocal sound). so i need to increase the volume to enjoy the vocal

4. same song by Akriti Kakar | Big Band Theory
the instrument music is even more(50%). so not able to enjoy the vocal at all.

5. same song by Sanam
the instrument music is even more.

my question:
why are sound of instrument music more in live concert or when new singer are singing the old songs.
and is there a way to reduce the instrument music without reducing the vocal.
 

arj

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I would hazard a guess that its the Audio engineer who is mixing the tracks who is doing that ! thats the person who actually makes the recorded music with amplitudes of instruments, separation, soundstage and fades !
 

raghupb

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More tadkaa!! Too make the track attractive to a larger audience, I guess.
Cheers,
Raghu
 

Naturelover

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The end product is the imagination of the audio engineer possibly with inputs from the composer.
Modern audiences seem to like this looking at the success of these tracks.

In fact, even Saregama had delved into this with their Classics' Revival series of CDs.
They just enhanced the music keeping the original vocals and tune. Digitally remastered was what they called it.
I think this was in late 90s.
 

alpha1

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You need to understand that music' appeal is quite ancient and is a part of man's evolutionary step.
For vast majority of population music = rhythms something that brings multiple human being humming/cheering/moving/dancing/swaying together in unison.

With passing time, the elites and those among the musically inclined started diversifying and appreciating the melody aspect of music.
So much so that the entire repertoire of classical music is mostly melody based, with even rhythm instruments like tabla being used melodically.

With the rise of income of the general population in the last century, and the Telecom revolution first, and the IT revolution later brought the music's control back to the general population that still appreciates only the rhythm aspect of music.

The economic goals dictates the music producer to cater to their audience as it has been for ages. The difference is that earlier the audience was more discerning one, and today the audience is more primeval in consumption.
 
D

Deleted member 15865

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Hi All,
I am new to this. i wanted to know why instrument music is more dominent as compared to vocal, when new singers are singing the old songs.

my question:
why are sound of instrument music more in live concert or when new singer are singing the old songs.

Navjyot, interesting questions and I especially like the effort you’ve taken to search and post various renditions of the same song over the years and with different settings to illustrate.

I see this change as a combined effect of multiple phenomena. Let me list them separately.

1. Firstly, the difference between the two Lata renditions is easily attributable to one being a film play back and the other live performance with an orchestra. Live performances will usually have more/heavier instrumentation as it’s played in an auditorium or large ground where vocals would struggle to have the same impact as in an intimate listening session to a vinyl/CD/even radio in one’s room. Also the fact that it’s an orchestra - the musicians are also performers here and in most cases adding something to the original song means they deserve a fair share of the sound. You’d also see that these orchestras have many pieces of each instrument unlike in the original song (with some exceptions) thereby increasing the body of the instrument in the live performance - not unlike in a western classical orchestra (which doesn’t use amplification most times) - it’s in the DNA of orchestras.

2. The evolution of Hindi film music over the decades. I’d say there were two waves - first was the RD Burman wave - where innovative instrumentation started sharing almost equal space with the singer in the playback. No longer were the instruments just backing - but you had guitar or sax solos in prolonged openings or interludes... and then multi-instrumental harmony bringing in western idioms to Hindi film music.

This went on from late 70s till the mid-90s when the second wave - the AR Rahman wave took over. Rahman’s songs if you notice, have a limited tune which is repeated over and over again. Surely it’s an excellent and original tune, but is short to carry an entire 5 mins song on its own. Rahman, also with his western classical/orchestra initiation (just like Illaiyaraja before him in the South), added entire orchestra to his songs. This was liked by the audience and over the next decade (the noughts) became de rigueur as directors like SEL, Amit Trivedi et al followed it.

3. The downfall of lyrics in Hindi film music. This started in the 70s and continues unabated till now. One can argue if it’s due to changing taste of the listeners or paucity of good lyricists, or both. But the fact remains that not too many lyrics written today are strong enough to shoulder the song entirely/largely on vocals. A higher vocals focus would need quality lyrics - like for example in country/folk music in the west (in contrast to say pop or heavy rock).

4. Quality of singers. The videos you’ve shared is a testimony enough on this. While Shreya is considered better (more tuneful) among the current lot of singers, one can easily see the wide chasm between her and the older greats such as Lata, Asha, Geeta Dutt etc - Shreya’s voice always feels more strained in comparison. And when you further go onto Akriti, the point gets absolutely clear. Also the world of auto-tuning, anybody can sing. You can make a singer out of almost anyone. But can they carry a song purely on their singing? Highly unlikely.

5. While I see the above four as the prominent reasons, this one might also have contributed along the way. The improvement in recording technology (as well as electronic production of music) over the years mean that you could have more content in the especially the lower frequency range than before. No wonder there’s so much bass in modern film songs - you can listen to most of it through even streamed digital music with decent set of earphones. Vinyl would struggle to go that deep and yet resolve. And it’s easier to put repetitive bass beats (electronically produced at that) to make a song catchy. If you see, a large percentage of songs today are what can be played in a dance party. This is also a social change - back in the 60s you’d have had a social scene where the songs were played in a club - and vocals and/or acoustic music suited that setting better. Today you’d need a lot of low end for the DJ situations (pubs, discotheques) that these songs get played in.

Having said all this, there’s always a counter/retro trend in every mega trend. So you also have acoustically backed largely vocal music like that of Prateek Kuhad also growing an audience outside the film scene - with some crossover into films also happening.



and is there a way to reduce the instrument music without reducing the vocal.

Let’s come to this question of yours now. The only two ways to reduce the instrumental music (amplitude wise) without reducing the vocals that I know:

1. Select equipment, especially speakers that are mids-specific. Avoid floor standers and subwoofers - go for bookshelves known for their mid-range quality. Best option? Full range drivers - but they’d be too costly... find the next best in two driver speakers v auditioning.

2. Use equalisers - whether software or hardware. You can then control the amplitudes of the frequency ranges.

Both these will reduce the instrument music in the higher (treble) and lower (bass) ranges, but not have much effect on the instruments in the mids (which are closer to the frequency of human voice) such as flute, brass, sarangi or violin.

Personally I am not a fan of the second option because you are modifying the music too directly. Also it’s a headache to do so from recording to recording. Option 1 works better if you know what kind of sound signature you like and which speakers reproduce it the closest to your liking.



You need to understand that music' appeal is quite ancient and is a part of man's evolutionary step.
For vast majority of population music = rhythms something that brings multiple human being humming/cheering/moving/dancing/swaying together in unison.

With passing time, the elites and those among the musically inclined started diversifying and appreciating the melody aspect of music.
So much so that the entire repertoire of classical music is mostly melody based, with even rhythm instruments like tabla being used melodically.

With the rise of income of the general population in the last century, and the Telecom revolution first, and the IT revolution later brought the music's control back to the general population that still appreciates only the rhythm aspect of music.

The economic goals dictates the music producer to cater to their audience as it has been for ages. The difference is that earlier the audience was more discerning one, and today the audience is more primeval in consumption.

I like this socio-economic perspective provided by @alpha1 on the subject though I don’t agree with it. It’s the radio (following recorded music itself) that took music to the masses and radios have been playing in every small/big house since the 50’s and 60’s. In fact, more households listened to music on radio and cassette players back then than they do on BT speakers today. But that didn’t lead to loss of melody.
 
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greenhorn

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Something I read was that lp records, specifically the cutting styluses, could not handle loud and complex passages of music, so the music was mastered that way. With CD, you can throw anything at it and it will handle, so more modern mixes are a virtual khichdi of instrumentation thrown about.
 

amit11

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This post reminds one saying by Yash Chopra, which highlights a key difference between old singers and new singers.
- When Lataji sings, music follows her....
- When others sing, they follow the music....
 

drkrack

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why are sound of instrument music more in live concert or when new singer are singing the old songs.
You need more amount of instrumentation to bring about a comparable effect from vocals of New singers, especially when the old song is a classic & Pinnacle of singing effort.
Imagine it like this, Madhubala Expressions in a White Saree in B&W were enough to Seduce audience in 'Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi si' in 1958, Nowadays Even a Swimming Pool Full of Beautiful Girls in Swimming dress, including the Lead heroine in 4k, won't match up.
That My friend is the beginning of artistic bankruptcy.
 

shafic

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I totally agree with preth30.

This also depends on a variety of factors like the skill and ability as well as preferences of the music composer, the knowledge of the recording engineer and the equipments used.
 

Barun7

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Attention span has reduced. Since music has become affordable and portable for the masses, very few has the leisure to actually enjoy the vocals. Add to that the cacophony around and majority of the listeners need that extra thump. It's like the black and white era of television where substance mattered over style.
Digitization has emphasized so called 'gain'. This gain is more about instruments and less of vocals keeping in mind the target audience. I guess the average age of a regular listener plays a part here as well!
 

firearm12

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In old era, they could only record in a specific frequency space, everything elese had to be rolled off while recording, so focus was most on vocals. Now we can record and play any audible frequency. Moreover its the genius of composer and singer, if composer thinks he could carry off the song with minimal music, he would never use too many instruments, SD burman was one such composer who used minimal instruments in his music. Unfortunately such daring composers dont exist these days and audience wise no one wants to pay attention , everyone wants to listen to beats, so put some beats, let the tweeter shine and there you go.

Adding for live performances, there it may become important to add music because there is a lot of noise in emvironment and vocals alone may not be able to carry the song forward, singing live is also one difficult task.
 

navjyot

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Navjyot, interesting questions and I especially like the effort you’ve taken to search and post various renditions of the same song over the years and with different settings to illustrate.

I see this change as a combined effect of multiple phenomena. Let me list them separately.

1. Firstly, the difference between the two Lata renditions is easily attributable to one being a film play back and the other live performance with an orchestra. Live performances will usually have more/heavier instrumentation as it’s played in an auditorium or large ground where vocals would struggle to have the same impact as in an intimate listening session to a vinyl/CD/even radio in one’s room. Also the fact that it’s an orchestra - the musicians are also performers here and in most cases adding something to the original song means they deserve a fair share of the sound. You’d also see that these orchestras have many pieces of each instrument unlike in the original song (with some exceptions) thereby increasing the body of the instrument in the live performance - not unlike in a western classical orchestra (which doesn’t use amplification most times) - it’s in the DNA of orchestras.

2. The evolution of Hindi film music over the decades. I’d say there were two waves - first was the RD Burman wave - where innovative instrumentation started sharing almost equal space with the singer in the playback. No longer were the instruments just backing - but you had guitar or sax solos in prolonged openings or interludes... and then multi-instrumental harmony bringing in western idioms to Hindi film music.

This went on from late 70s till the mid-90s when the second wave - the AR Rahman wave took over. Rahman’s songs if you notice, have a limited tune which is repeated over and over again. Surely it’s an excellent and original tune, but is short to carry an entire 5 mins song on its own. Rahman, also with his western classical/orchestra initiation (just like Illaiyaraja before him in the South), added entire orchestra to his songs. This was liked by the audience and over the next decade (the noughts) became de rigueur as directors like SEL, Amit Trivedi et al followed it.

3. The downfall of lyrics in Hindi film music. This started in the 70s and continues unabated till now. One can argue if it’s due to changing taste of the listeners or paucity of good lyricists, or both. But the fact remains that not too many lyrics written today are strong enough to shoulder the song entirely/largely on vocals. A higher vocals focus would need quality lyrics - like for example in country/folk music in the west (in contrast to say pop or heavy rock).

4. Quality of singers. The videos you’ve shared is a testimony enough on this. While Shreya is considered better (more tuneful) among the current lot of singers, one can easily see the wide chasm between her and the older greats such as Lata, Asha, Geeta Dutt etc - Shreya’s voice always feels more strained in comparison. And when you further go onto Akriti, the point gets absolutely clear. Also the world of auto-tuning, anybody can sing. You can make a singer out of almost anyone. But can they carry a song purely on their singing? Highly unlikely.

5. While I see the above four as the prominent reasons, this one might also have contributed along the way. The improvement in recording technology (as well as electronic production of music) over the years mean that you could have more content in the especially the lower frequency range than before. No wonder there’s so much bass in modern film songs - you can listen to most of it through even streamed digital music with decent set of earphones. Vinyl would struggle to go that deep and yet resolve. And it’s easier to put repetitive bass beats (electronically produced at that) to make a song catchy. If you see, a large percentage of songs today are what can be played in a dance party. This is also a social change - back in the 60s you’d have had a social scene where the songs were played in a club - and vocals and/or acoustic music suited that setting better. Today you’d need a lot of low end for the DJ situations (pubs, discotheques) that these songs get played in.

Having said all this, there’s always a counter/retro trend in every mega trend. So you also have acoustically backed largely vocal music like that of Prateek Kuhad also growing an audience outside the film scene - with some crossover into films also happening.





Let’s come to this question of yours now. The only two ways to reduce the instrumental music (amplitude wise) without reducing the vocals that I know:

1. Select equipment, especially speakers that are mids-specific. Avoid floor standers and subwoofers - go for bookshelves known for their mid-range quality. Best option? Full range drivers - but they’d be too costly... find the next best in two driver speakers v auditioning.

2. Use equalisers - whether software or hardware. You can then control the amplitudes of the frequency ranges.

Both these will reduce the instrument music in the higher (treble) and lower (bass) ranges, but not have much effect on the instruments in the mids (which are closer to the frequency of human voice) such as flute, brass, sarangi or violin.

Personally I am not a fan of the second option because you are modifying the music too directly. Also it’s a headache to do so from recording to recording. Option 1 works better if you know what kind of sound signature you like and which speakers reproduce it the closest to your liking.





I like this socio-economic perspective provided by @alpha1 on the subject though I don’t agree with it. It’s the radio (following recorded music itself) that took music to the masses and radios have been playing in every small/big house since the 50’s and 60’s. In fact, more households listened to music on radio and cassette players back then than they do on BT speakers today. But that didn’t lead to loss of melody.
thanks for the detailed reply.
 

sound1

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Hi All,
I am new to this. i wanted to know why instrument music is more dominent as compared to vocal, when new singers are singing the old songs.
:
:

my question:
why are sound of instrument music more in live concert or when new singer are singing the old songs.
and is there a way to reduce the instrument music without reducing the vocal.

Probably they did it because they didn't want the new version to sound exactly like the old version? Instead they wanted to add something 'more' to the original mix and make it sound better than the original?? Whether they succeeded or not is a different matter. I haven't personally seen someone better an original classic, but folks never say never.
 
D

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I haven't personally seen someone better an original classic

It’s rare. But there are examples. In international music, I recollect Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’ covered by Eva Cassidy. Even by Sting’s admission, she did a better job than him.
 
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