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Continuous Adaptation for Chamber Orchestra

J. Tanner Harrod, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Social-ecological systems are defined by their nature to be ever-changing: undergoing continuous adaptation as a complex system of cultural, natural, and socio-economic factors. Fundamental to this definition is the notion that people and society are deeply tied to the environment around them. Continuous Adaptation portrays these social-ecological systems in relationship with three of the classical elements: wood, air, and fire. The metaphor is primarily portrayed between the relationship between the guitar (a non-standard member of the chamber orchestra) and the chamber orchestra itself. In the first movement, “Wood,” the guitar struggles to find its sonic home in an orchestra that is already made up of many wooden instruments. As the movement progresses, soloistic moments for the guitar progressively grow shorter, to the point of complete silence from the guitar by the recap of the opening musical material. “Air,” the second movement, places the guitar in an almost exclusively accompaniment role: switching from electric to acoustic guitar and allowing for the wind and brass sections of the orchestra to take center stage. The third movement, “Fire,” finds a kind of homeostasis between the guitar and orchestra, whereby a funk tune for pops orchestra transitions to a layered blending of all three movements’ musical material.

Subject Area

Musical composition|Music education

Recommended Citation

Harrod, J. Tanner, "Continuous Adaptation for Chamber Orchestra" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30425094.