Category Archives: Harmony

so if my life WASN’T about coping with feeling unhappy

so if my life WASN’T about coping with feeling unhappy, because I WASN’T unhappy…

would I do something different?

wonder what…



I got ideas, yo

my bio, new

be professional, be professional, blah blah blah

Mike Robbins is a Percussionist and all-around Musical Weirdo residing in Los Angeles, who spends his time playing and teaching African Music, rather crazed and rhythmically Complex yet Groovy Percussive Music, and has a very-likely-unhealthy obsession with the music of Steve Reich, which he also Conducts and Plays on occasion.  He also teaches a little Music Theory of the Harmonically-Colourful Variety, and plays a little Harmonium to accompany North Indian Music.  He also arranged some Marching Band and Drumline music, and composes his own stimulating musics as well.

typing Einstein on the Beach

always love typing this out
you know Einstein on the Beach, by Philip Glass? it has several parts (two at least) which go:

1234 123 1234 123 1234
123 123 123 123 1234
123 123 123 1234 1234
123 123 1234 1234 1234
123 1234 1234 1234 1234
1234 1234 1234 123 1234
1234+123 1234 1234 123 1234
1234+123 123+123 1234 123 1234
1234+123 1234+123 1234 123+123 1234
1234+123 1234+123 123+123 1234+123 1234
1234+123 1234+123 123+123 1234+123 123+123
1234+123 1234+123 123+123 1234+123 123+123
1234+123 1234+123 1234+123 1234+123 123+123
1234+123+12 1234+123+12 123+123+123 1234+123+12 123+123+123
1234+123+123 1234+123+123 123+123+123 1234+123+123 123+123+123


fm DbM AM B7 EM

I’m lucky…. that I have strong interests…

I’m lucky….
that I have strong interests… I can’t bear to imagine (nor can I imagine in itself)
how boring and dis-engaging life would be without such things.

I’m also ill-equiped to mentor people who don’t have such interests, as I’ve NO idea what they should do other than GET some of said interests…

and mine are I believe a function of being ADHD and smart, so…
don’t know what non-adhd’ers ought do.

but if you IS adhd, I know what should do.
come party and music make with me.

vile complaints about uninteresting music

dude, I’m making some parts (string ones) to a piece for rock band with some strings.   (for a high school.)
(It’s work.)

man, my god, this piece is a lesson in how NOT to write for orchestra!
my GOD-

each instrument has un UNCHANGING part, always in 8 bar groups, often the same ones repeated later, NO variation added EVER. no interesting voicings, just roots and 5ths, etc.

all the instruments of an orchestra, and EVERYTHING is just doubled doubled doubled, no one “switches roles” ever, no “have the trumpets play E and G HERE, THEN have the violas do it, while the trumpets play “oooh I know, G and B!”)

it’s COMPLETELY unimaginative (and very easy to copy, for it’s just endless repetition (and no, it’s not minimalism, it’s just very very boring music.)

I can’t believe people pay money, much less tons of it, to hear such crap.  my opinion, yes.

it’s as if someone with no understanding of nor INTEREST in orchestration, harmony, or voicing, took a two-line keyboard part and copied everything note for note without any THOUGHT to ALL instruments, and THEN thinks THEY KNOW HOW TO WRITE FOR ORCHESTRA.

(maybe that’s just the style, yes, but I don’t like no such style.)

AND THEN PEOPLE IN THE GENERAL POPULATION AGREE, either cause they don’t know better (cause maybe they aren’t exposed to more interesting things, or at least a broader variety of things, or because they don’t actually listen, and just do what the media and tells them, or what their peers tell them, or because THIS REALLY “IT” what they are interested in (doubtful), or still also perhaps because their attention spans are really short (hey, I’m ADHD, I’d know.)

but no…. (see addendum)



this is something I hate about plenty pop music too. and edm.
they don’t  bother to try to do anything INTERESTING.

the hell with ’em.

I don’t need that.
people HAVE done interesting things.
be one of those.

leave these pathetic disinterested fools behind.

Addendum, written weeks later:

SOoooo that was pretty spiteful, yeah.

regarding the bit about people maybe having short attention spans?  no, that can’t be it.  they say “I’VE” got one, but only with things I don’t find interesting.

either many people don’t find music that is “at all substantive” interesting (by MY standards, anyway,)
or they simply aren’t listening, really, at all…

tagged burningman because they play tons of EDM there, and I hate edm.  yep:)

tagged African Music cause in IT, you REALLY have to listen CAREFULLY all the time, for various changes that happen, whenever the leader indicates.

tagged Minimalism, cause in IT, a similar thing to African music happens (in Steve Reich, at least.)  some Philip Glass too, in different but similar ways.

Tagged Music Theory and Harmony, cause I feel the palette of harmony used in a lot of popular music is WAY WAY simple and frankly, not that interesting.  not to me.

Tagged WAGNER for a similar reason (he had phat harmonies, man.

Tagged Philosophy cause, as usual, this IS part of MY philosophy:)

Tagged Adhd (duh)

Tagged Frustrations about Women cause I don’t see me being with any woman who greatly likes music that I find way boring.  and yep, I’m alone.  what’s your point?:)

construction, countrymusic, and oldies

while construction (of windows) is taking place on my building, the downstairs people were playing COUNTRY music, on guitars n shit.


then they played “oldies” (they kind from the 50s.)

they played House of the Rising Sun, and many others.


they didn’t end on an a minor becoming an a minor 7 becoming C Major though… (I went and told them this after.)

existing whether labeled/noticed or not

the frequency A 440, ANY of them, really, has EXISTED, um, perhaps forever or somethin, LONG before

gave it a NAME and a NUMBER.

it’s a SOUND, or vibration or whatever, and it predates ONE CULTURE’S measurements and things by very far.

it existed, and exists, whether WE or ANYONE gives it a LABEL or NOT. it just IS.

how bout that.

seriously, think about that, so often we feel like if mommy or daddy doesn’t notice us, (rightly so, in that case,) that we don’t exist, so to speak.

but as we grow older, surely (not always) we must learn things such as

  1.  our feelings, existence, etc, ARE Valid, THEMSELVES< with OR without validation from others, in the form of facebook likes, or something similar, fame, etc.
    we are not defined in terms of others.   to define ourselves that way….seriously,  just don’t do it.

    friends’ comments on this were as follows:

    it’s the same with rhythms. grid or no grid (16th notes and such I mean.) they exist independent of this, like Swing. and some African rhythms, some of em are “kinda crazy”  if you think of them in a strict western grid sense. some of em’s on the in between.

    friend 1:
    ” There is a current math problem that asks whether numbers exist whether or not humans are there to think about them. Are numbers a part of the physical world or are they a human construct? It’s an interesting question and there are many different schools of thought in the issue. What you said about frequencies reminded me of it.”


    ” reminds me of The Matrix (3rd Film, Revolutions.) they ask the same questions of LOVE, whether it is a Human Emotion, or a word.

    I tend towards the “I exist whether I am visible to/approved of by others, or not” school of thought myself.

    I mean, nevermind hollywood, and the Society of the Spectacle (a book by GUY DEBORD.)

    and fuck the Space Monkeys and others like them in FIGHT CLUB.

    it’s not about being part of groups. we’re OURSELVES, first. and last.”

    friend 2:
    “My question that correlates to your statement is: Are we creating music or discovering music? One answer leads to us as the creator of the music experience. Another answer leads to someone or something creating the foundation for discovering music. If you look to the harmonic sequence and the evolution of music from chant to today you can see the pattern of consonance (early chant 8th, 5ths, and 4ths, to harmony (classical Maj 3rds min 3rds) to dissonance (chromaticism) progressing through time to eventual inclusion of all intervals based on the harmonic sequence. Are we creating or discovering? Have fun with this Mike.”

    friend 3:

    “duuude yes. for some years now I’ve been thinking about writing music as a form of discovery rather than creation. and i am especially inclined to believe this is the case because of those moments when i get a really great melody rhythm or progression and i wasnt even trying. it’s almost accidental. and the process of developing musical skills is similar to developing ones abilities to detect things in the environment. you add to your skill set so that you can find music more efficiently. thats my is my hypothesis.”

    friend 4:

    “Well the “sound” part only takes place in our heads, and doesn’t really exist outside that moment of experience, but yea, 440 probably only exists because that was the most affordable amount of pipe to make an A on an organ or something.”