Should you play film songs or carnatic songs? are carnatic songs going to give you any edge at playing raga or film songs on the guitar?
An associated question is: can film songs replace the carnatic curriculum to learn raga music, raga on guitar or carnatic specifically on the guitar.
Take a Yesudas + ILayarja song. Most probably it will have more sangathis, moves, complexities, subtelities, ornamentations than the Geethams.
A song like thendral vanthu enne thodum, for example is much harder to play skillwise, than some of the krithis or any of the geethams.
The words used in the film songs are not traditional, but when the composer wants a classical based song, and has classical singers like yesudas, naturally the phrases are maxed out with classical skill and depth in it.
Let us not, therefore be fooled in anyway. a music that appears in a movie, when raga based, and you have interest in the song, can help you much more than a traditional song you have no interest in.
You can alway go back and do the carnatic songs anytime. There is no line separating a classical based movie song and a traditional song – music wise, they both need the carnatic playing or singing skill.
When doing the film song, if you can get to the level of understanding what is going on, the music, the scale, the raga connection, then you are in the next level. When learning carnatic too, you need to do this consciously.
Just remembering the notes and singing keeps us in the remembering phase of Learning Heirarchy. The alphabet level of things, which is needed, but has to be gone beyond. Ask for the words, the sentences and find your way to analyze and evaluate, adapt and create.
That decision making can look difficult, but the struggle is rewarding. Very rewarding… the difference between an insider and a somehow playing onlooker.