The process behind MS Magic
MS Subbulakshmi’s music notebooks testified to her all round concern for every aspect of rachita or composed music, a vital part of Carnatic music dear to musicians as the outpourings of saintly souls in Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil and Malayalam. MS sang in north Indian languages too, mainly Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. One of her albums contains songs in ten languages! Once-in-a-while attempts include the English hymn by Rajaji that she sang with Radha at the United Nations as a goodwill gesture, and an amalgamation of apt lyrics in Sanskrit, Arabic, Japanese and Tamil (even English) at the Afro-Asian Congress of Ophthalmology in 1976.
Every one of these songs, by composers old and new, was first inscribed with its meaning in her notebook, and then each phrase notated with its literal and metaphoric meanings. Music notation came next.
The initial learning process included checking diction, emphasis, and the right spot where a phrase could be split in melodising. Experts were consulted to ensure accuracy.