Writings about Music

An Indian Poet Writes About Music

The following is some of the most beautiful and insightful writing on music I have ever come across. Perhaps this description of Indian classical music may also help listeners gain insights into my own music. (Michael Robinson, October 2020, Los Angeles)

For us, music has above all a transcendental significance. It disengages the spiritual from the happenings of life; it sings of the relationships of the human soul with the soul of things beyond. The world by day is like European music; a flowing concourse of vast harmony, composed of concord and discord and many disconnected fragments. And the night world is our Indian music; one pure, deep and tender raga. They both stir us, yet the two are contradictory in spirit. But that cannot be helped. At the very root nature is divided into two, day and night, unity and variety, finite and infinite. We men of India live in the realm of night; we are overpowered by the sense of One and Infinite. Our music draws the listener away beyond the limits of everyday human joys and sorrows, and takes us to that lonely region of renunciation which lies at the root of the universe, while European music leads us a variegated dance through the endless rise and fall of human grief and joy. (Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

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