Writings about Music

Music Brewing

Pondering a friend's expressed interest in learning how to compose music, it struck me how that state of being is already a promising pathway because the most important element of composition is having a desire to do so. One way to think of it is how we all love food, but sometimes that enthusiasm becomes such that we wish to create our own recipes, something that does not yet exist except in our imagination waiting to be fulfilled. One may think of music the same way. Some of us reach a point in our love for music when it's simply not enough to appreciate what's come before, wishing to realize a personal vision. This is one way to describe what a composer is. Related, Lee Konitz told me during one of our improvisation lessons following my freshman year of college that he believed originality or genius occurred in music when someone failed attempting to copy an idol, gradually shifting focus to the process of becoming one's self.

With regard to my most recent musical passion, Indian classical music, I am indebted to Harihar Rao, Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy, Pandit Jasraj, Kala Ramnath, Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha, Shivkumar Sharma, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Zakir Hussain, Anindo Chatterjee, Swapan Chaudhuri, L. Shankar, Vikku Vinayakram, Bhimsen Joshi, Ali Ahmad Hussain, Ali Akbar Khan, Bismillah Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, and many others for either introducing me personally or through live performances and recordings to what Helen Vendler described when writing about the poetry of William Butler Yeats as Our Secret Discipline.

In my mind and imagination, Indian classical music, American jazz, European classical music, and myriad forms of rock and pop and traditional music exist timelessly at once in the world, clearly intelligible and transparent with blessed overlappings and divergences for imbibing nourishment.








- Michael Robinson, April 2017, Los Angeles


© 2017 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


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