Writings about Music

Labor Day Thoughts on Clavichord, Piano, Chess and Raga

On this Labor Day, I was visited by thoughts pertaining to clavichord, piano, chess and raga. I might add that the husband of my grandmother's sister was related to the founder of labor unions in America, Samuel Gompers.

Being gentle and penetrating at once makes the clavichord especially appealing, found here with a phantasmagoria of skin drums from Indonesia and India in bracing tempo.

The piano may be thought of as belonging to the percussion, string, and chordophone families of instruments at once, here engaging with Indian skin drums within a raga associated with Shiva.

Fascinating parallels linking chess and raga, both originating from India, including two elements, white and black "armies" for chess, and raga/melody/Shakti and tala/rhythm/Shiva for raga; ingenuous design affording infinite variation; and mastery leading to individual styles.

- Michael Robinson, August 2020, Los Angeles


© 2020 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


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