Writings about Music

Vision-Mathematical Music

Invariably, I feel like the floor has disappeared beneath me when asked what type of music I compose. Most recently, I rather desperately took to replying: "Michael Robinson music." Other possible responses are world, classical, world classical, avant-garde, computer, electronic, alternative classical, and other terms. However, I recently realized there is another phrase that may be best: vision-mathematical music. What I like about this expression is how it combines artistic and technical qualities at once without any extraneous associations, including being transcendent of time and place.



Michael Robinson's Todi is based upon a morning raga from Hindustani music.


My source comes from an interview with Bob Dylan heard on YouTube where he describes his songs as both vision music and mathematical music. It makes sense that he would have something profound to say about music, being the most gifted wordsmith of our time along with Helen Vendler, including an uncanny ability to cut to the heart of the matter. For a succinct portrayal of my own compositions and performances, it may be best to simply combine vision and mathematical with a hyphen.

I'm uncertain whether or not Bob knows who I am, but I'm certain he wouldn't mind my being inspired to combine his thoughts in a different context. I also extend an invitation to him to play a friendly game of chess - two-dimensional, not three-dimensional like Spock and Kirk. Milk and white chocolate pieces along with an onyx and moonstone board would be fine, too, in case we get hungry. That whimsical image aside, a regular board in a coffee house would be fine, too, of course, if equally unlikely...


Michael Robinson and Eli Robinson playing chess (Wantagh, New York)


 - Michael Robinson, Los Angeles, January 2018


© 2018 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


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