2020, High School, Performing Arts
Ocean acidification, the gradual decrease in the ocean’s pH as a result of carbon absorption, poses a serious threat to marine ecosystems and is a direct consequence of human activity. Nevertheless, our complicity is not a cause for despair, but for hope. “One Ocean” aims to capture the wonder, serenity, and fragility of the deep. The ocean is a symphony, so I thought it fitting to open with a nod to an orchestra tune-up, morphing into a sparse introduction of ringing fourths and fifths. An E7 chord prepares the D-Lydian theme: a gentle right-hand melody floats above an ever-rolling left-hand, reminiscent of the ebb and flow of the tide. By voicing a melody built around the 6, 7, 9, and sharp 4 over an arpeggiating D-chord, I hoped to paint a colorful ‘sea’ of sound. The second time around, tense augmented 7th chords chromatically descend to a somber resolution. This tonal shift alludes to the potentially dark fate of the ocean and its creatures if we fail to address the ocean acidification crisis. An interlude of hollow major seventh chords prolongs the tension before the melody returns, again emphasizing the yearning Lydian aesthetic. Even when faced with bleak prospects, we cannot lose hope––if we work to pursue clean energy sources and reduce our carbon emissions, we can slow the effects of ocean acidification. The piece ends by recalling the main theme, subtly echoing the introduction, and finally resolving to a bright Amaj7, imparting a final message of optimism and hope.