Writings about Music

Triad and Triads

This evocation of triads brought to mind how David Crosby was forced out of The Byrds after attempting to have his song, Triad, included in their new album of the time, the content deemed too risqué. Living on Crater Road off Beverly Glen in Los Angeles at the time, Crosby’s haunting song presents the thought of having an ongoing ménage à trois, including some powerfully poetic lyrics.

Remarkably, the song’s melody begins almost identically as the song Aquarius from Hair, so I’m curious to know if the composers of each song are aware of this, not that there's any plagiarism involved, of course.

In our time, composers have been strongly influenced by rock, rhythm and blues and other American and British forms, including Steve Reich who sites Shotgun by Jr. Walker and the All Stars.

Some personal favorite compositions of mine, A Danish Princess (1987), Snow and Wood (1987) and Delayed Response (1990) are all built around musical triads, both major and minor. Lahaina Lanterns: First Part (2013) is centered upon four-note chords.





Getting back to David’s song, Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane recorded and released Triad instead. My feeling is that it surpasses the original recording by The Byrds, which was eventually released.



- Michael Robinson, February 2017, Los Angeles


© 2017 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer, programmer, jazz pianist and musicologist. His 198 albums include 151 albums for meruvina and 47 albums of piano improvisations. Robinson has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University Long Beach and Dominguez Hills.