Writings about Music

One Thing Music Offers

Cover art for Taffeta Patterns coincidentally has seven purple shapes and twelve blue shapes corresponding to the seven swaras selected from the twelve swaras of the saptak for my new composition.


One thing music offers is the opportunity to go in a somewhat different direction each time as witness my new composition and performance, Taffeta Patterns, which takes a Western keyboard to rarely if ever visited realms under the sway of a drum and cymbal ostinato sometimes considered forbidden.


Perhaps I should have purchased a lottery ticket because the odds of what happened with the cover art for Taffeta Patterns must be astronomical. Beginning in 1995 with the third Azure Miles Records album, Hamoa, I began using handmade papers from Japan, India and Nepal for the cover art, and the content often varies even within the same paper.

There are seven purple shapes and twelve blue shapes forming the cover art for Taffeta Patterns, these corresponding by chance to the seven swaras (tones) used in my composition, chosen from the twelve swaras of the saptak (octave). Indian ragas select seven, six, or five swaras from the twelve swaras of the saptak, sometimes in varying ascending and descending configurations, including twenty-two shrutis (microtones) that further delineate the swaras.

It is believed that the swaras were originally inspired by the cries of birds and other animals. Just a few days ago, the glorious mockingbirds of Los Angeles reappeared, gracing us with their sublimely musical utterances.

- Michael Robinson, February 2021, Los Angeles


© 2021 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


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