Title: Sisyphean Exercise
Creator: Mitchell Sturhann
When we picture the myth of Sisyphus, we often focus on the punishment, where Sisyphus must forever roll a boulder up a hill, never to reach the top and complete the task. These exercises adapt the struggle to music. We begin with simple thirds just as Sisyphus begins with the seemingly simple task, but from there, we start to experience discord as each phrase gets a little higher, gains a flat, and ultimately falls back to the first step. By the final phrase, the pattern doesn’t even resemble a classical minor scale much less a major one, plunging us into further discord. Yet even as we get some semblance of a resolution as we land back in our original key, we descend once more to land hard on square one. The exercise, much like Sisyphus’s final task, is a demonstration of the mind’s powers of frustration, which, if unrelieved, resolve into discord, despair, and futility.