Writings about Music
Allowing My Thoughts
"But as the story of the Lithuanian rabbi suggests, Jewish genius operates differently. It is prone to question the premise and rethink the concept; to ask why (or why not?) as often as how; to see the absurd in the mundane and the sublime in the absurd. Where Jews’ advantage more often lies is in thinking different." (Bret Stephens, The New York Times)
Soon after I became involved with using computers to make music, I learned it was forbidden by prevailing conventions to use the sounds of acoustic instruments performed by a computer because it was believed traditional musicians owned that method exclusively. However, it seemed natural for me to disregard such artificial restrictions because of the unique expressive and technical vistas that beckoned beyond anything such reactionary views might imagine. I even found using the Meruvina was more relevant in the present time for featuring such timbres in the context of Western classical composition.
The sounds of acoustic instruments are among the central glories of myriad cultures developed over hundreds of years. I much prefer them to abstract electronic sounds, finding these richly varied tone colors most advantageous for voicing my compositions. In addition to traditional usage, acoustic instrumental timbres are found sounds from our collective auditory environment one may engage with in new creative contexts.
An approach to life imparted by my Jewish parents, complimented by my Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish teachers in New York and Los Angeles, encouraged instinctual creative and intellectual exploration uninhibited by irrelevant conformities while allowing my thoughts to hurtle through space at my own tempo, not slowing down for those too slow to catch on - we only live once.
- Michael Robinson, December 2019, Los Angeles
© 2019 Michael Robinson All rights reserved
Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).