Talk:Examination of the Basis of a Thought
The piece is all about the relationship between two opposite sound worlds: One (which I'll refer to as "Theme A" for lack of a better term) is dissonant, murky, quiet, and has no hard edges. Basically, this is the beginning until the entrance of the bass trombone at measure 12. The bass trombone represents the second theme (Theme B), which is the external event I mentioned in the program notes. The most important thing about the second theme is that is different from everything that has come before it in every way possible. It is loud and pentatonic to a cheesy extent. The articulations are strongly accented and it quickly develops a rhythmic profile that sets it apart from the context in which it enters.
As the piece progresses, the two themes work their way towards each other. Theme A retains the dissonant qualities, but becomes much more rhythmically defined, while the pentatonic material of Theme B becomes timid and rhythmically vague. The clearest examples of this occur from Rehearsal G to the end. The dissonant chords from the beginning now occur strictly in time show to how the external event from the beginning has influenced behavior. The external event itself has now been processed into the background (brass, mainly trumpets at H). It still contains the same tonal melodic material from before, but now with the character of Theme A at the beginning of the piece.
As for a specific thought, I don't think I can name any one thought in particular that inspired the piece. I did, however, come up with the title shortly after the most recent presidential election, during a time when I was doing a lot of thinking about how it could be possible for one group of people to share an ideology that was so at odds with another group of people. I don't really have any answers to that question, but the piece is an attempt to grapple with the issue of how each of us can come to view the world so differently from one another.