Writings About Music

Deploying Energy: About Composition

Composition is about centering our energies and then deploying them. For some, this necessitates putting into place tunings that match one’s aesthetic temperament. Discussing tuning with several Indian masters, it came down to the context of key phrases personifying the rasa of particular ragas rather than abstract scientific ratios, but that doesn’t negate those who prefer to compose with specific ratios, especially if those abstractions are only achieved using digital technology, and the tunings used coalesce with the artistic thrust of one's musical vision.

In the realm of warfare, which one might compare to composition among myriad other imperfect analogies, Germany committed severe tactical errors together with their unprecedented deployment in terms of sheer numbers with Operation Barbarossa into Russia. One that especially caught my attention was failing to have helmets lined with fur for the possibility of the war extending into winter. Very much out of tune with the theater!

No doubt, my initial thought here was influenced by Helen Vendler's prescient observation: "Form is content as deployed. Content is form as imagined."

- Michael Robinson, March 2015, Los Angeles


© 2015 Michael Robinson All rights reserved

Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).