Writings about Music

Pastures of Plenty

Fascinatingly insightful and provocative comment from an unidentified person online, including the idea that symphony orchestras should follow the lead of rock bands by reducing their sheer numbers drastically, essentially becoming one player on each instrument while taking advantage of electrical amplification.

But, perhaps, a larger perspective holds sway, The elements that made European classical music "classic" were largely intellectual, spiritual, technical, and expressive dominance. These are the qualities that persist in music which gains such aesthetic high ground. Thus, in the context of what is known as Western civilisation, American jazz prevailed in these pertinent areas, followed by British and American rock and pop, with some overlapping, of course. And, towards those ends, new instruments appeared, including the saxophone and the electric guitar.

Now, as British musicologist and composer, Nick Collins, states: "Where the 19th century saw a rush of composer-pianists, now the 21st brings the era of the composer-programmer..."

Azure Rivers, from the Viridian Seas album (2017), features kemanche, trumpet, clarinet, tabla, cuica, male voices and drums.

Personally, I believe that the computer as a musical instrument, a form of which I have named the Meruvina, is what has coalesced with the musical zeitgeist of our time, but only when it is allowed to perform in real time without any participation from musicians, including the composer, because that joining pulls the music back into past conventions.

- Michael Robinson, May 2018, Los Angeles

© 2018 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


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