"Strange Attractors" for orchestra
Bryant, Alexandra Tyler
Gottschalk, Arthur W.
Master of Music thesis
In mathematics, a strange attractor is a self-referencing, dynamical system which evolves over time into a subtle, complex pattern. It walks a fine line between complete regularity and utter chaos, never repeating itself exactly but always cyclically haunting the same paths. Like these transient mathematical forms, the instrumental lines in Strange Attractors possess contours, shapes, and melodies which recur in recognizable patterns throughout the piece, yet never twice repeat themselves in the same way---they are ever changing, evolving, and expanding. The individual musical elements---such as the opening motif of the piccolo and celesta, the asymmetrical rhythmic pattern of the winds and strings immediately following, as well as the descending figure found in the violas and cellos at the conclusion of the first climax---together provide a dynamic and organic whole which is esthetically greater than a simple linear addition of their parts.