Unit 2.3: Wilderness


  • Landscape
  • John Muir
  • Conservationism/Preservationism
  • The Hudson River School
  • Highbrow / Lowbrow

Required Reading

  1. Brooks Tolliver, “Eco-Ing in the Grand Canyon: Ferde Grofè’s Grand Canyon Suite and the Transformation of Wilderness,” JAMS, Vol 57, No. 2 (2004), pp. 325-368.

Required Listening

  • Ferde Grofé, Grand Canyon Suite, Mvt 1: Sunrise

  • Ferde Grofé, Grand Canyon Suite, Mvt 2: The Painted Desert

  • Ferde Grofé, Grand Canyon Suite, Mvt 3:On the Trail

  • Ferde Grofé, Grand Canyon Suite, Mvt 4: Sunset

  • Ferde Grofé, Grand Canyon Suite, Mvt 5: Cloudburst

Study Questions

    1. MUSIC QUESTION: In which movements do you hear non-cocercive portraits of the wilderness?  In which of the above movements do you hear traces of domination?  Can you think of (and include links to) musical representations of “wilderness” that are “truly” wild?
    2. READING QUESTION:  What, per Tolliver’s reading of Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite, is the relationship between conservationsim/preservationism and music?  Can music ever truly preserve the wilderness?  or (different emphasis), can music ever truly preserve wilderness? (see especially the top of p.340).


Further Reading

  • Ferde Grofé, “Story of the Grand Canyon Suite” (1938).

Further Viewing / Listening

  •  From Disney 1958 documentary short film:

  • Tourist short also from 1958:

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Kailey Hackett September 13, 2016 at 1:10 pm

1) I hear non-coercive examples of nature in the movements “Sunrise”, “Sunset”, and “Cloudburst” the most out of all the movements. I felt that “Sunrise” had a feeling of early morning and the music resembled the early morning sounds of birds humming and bugs and stillness. I thought that “Cloudburst” although domineering was also representative of the environment and made me think of nature and relaxation. I could imagine all aspects of outdoors and it made me think of someone who is walking outdoors in the late afternoon. I felt dominance in both “Sunset” and “On the Trail”. “Sunset” provided me with a very strong sense of urgency and domination with the opening of the trumpets and the loud bursts of sound associated with them. The movement “On the Trail” had a very fast paced beat and scary sounding undertones which made it very intimidating much more than all the other movements.

2) Conservationism is protecting the natural resources whereas preservationism is promoting the preservation of these things. Conservationism is using resources smartly, and resourcefully whereas preservationism is avoiding to use these things entirely. Tolliver is trying to make his ideas of preservation prevalent in music and believes that the music is a reflection of these certain thoughts. I do not believe that music reflects nature because there is no way that someone can encompass all the unique and beautiful sounds that come along with our environment.


Anna Lee Skinner September 13, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I heard non-coercive wilderness in the fifth movement because of the frantic overlaying of the sounds in an almost inhuman way that created a sort of natural chaos for me. I heard domination in pretty much all of the other movements because they all sounded deliberate in the way that they started slow and built up and had a nice flow to them. I guess the most distinct example for me was in the third or first. As for an example of a piece that depicts “wild” nature, I guess the summer section Vivaldi’s Four Seasons comes across as vaguely untamed to me.
– summer starts at 10:31

Tolliver starts out by giving two different definitions for the similar concepts of conservationism(using resources sparingly) and preservationism(not using them at all). They were both supported by different groups of people, but pieces like Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite help bring attention to and aid these causes in some respects. For example, this piece shows everyone how beautiful the Grand Canyon is, so it might make them want to help preserve/conserve it. I don’t think music can ever truly preserve the wilderness(in either emphasized respect.) Sure, music can inspire people to take action to help preserve the wilderness. And yes, in some ways nature is being preserved when a composer creates something that reminds one of an aspect of nature. When Grofe says “art is a tapestry whose surface depicts untamed nature, but whose weave encodes domination.”, I interpret it as saying that we can never truly capture the “wildness” of nature with human art.


Lea Gilbert September 13, 2016 at 11:44 am

I heard non-coercive portraits of wilderness during Sunrise, Sunset and Cloudburst. There was a swell at 2:22. It flowed naturally and made me picture a sunrise in a Disney movie. Both Sunrise and Sunset are very grand, harmonious pieces with swells in them. They show nature in harmony with the birds singing among the plants and trees. Cloudburst is the wildest piece to me. Sunrise/Sunset are both known pieces of the wild while Cloudburst is wilderness that has never been discovered. It’s raw nature. The Painted Desert act shows the very beginning traces of man. It gave it a feeling like man was just started to sneak across the wilderness (like Bugs Bunny feel) and then it would make me think of Star Strek with man just starting to journey across the universe. They are started to travel across the unknown. Some notes have a warning attached to them. The notes are ascending and getting louder as if to warn the wild that humans are coming. There was a beautiful swell and you could hear the wild in that but you can also hear those notes of warning hidden in the piece. “On the Trail” shows man is no longer sneaking around they are here and here to stay. The jumping, happy notes are man adventuring and the clip-clopping is the sound of the horses man is riding. Sunset almost seems like a reminiscence of what Sunrise once was.

I think the relationship between conservationism, preservationism and music is that we write music about conserved land but the music we get the inspiration from is preserved land. Conservation seeks “the proper use of nature” while Preservation “seeks protection of nature from us.” (https://www.nps.gov/klgo/learn/education/classrooms/conservation-vs-preservation.htm) I would say music can preserve the land and its wildlife but it can’t preserve the wilderness. By the time people wrote music about the Grand Canyon or other National Parks, it was already in a frozen state. Humans made the parks stay looking a certain way because they didn’t want the beauty of it to change. Even though forest fires are a natural phenomenon which is actually healthy to clear out some space for the wild, this would be stopped in a National Park to preserve the way the park looks now. And even though humans are causing some of the major climate change, the effects that happen in nature due to the climate change are natural and that’s made sure not to happen in National Parks. By “preserving” these national parks, we are putting our own mark, again, on nature. We are controlling nature. Tolliver wrote, “It is the fantasy of a wilderness seemingly enhances, rather than diminished, by the act of controlling it.” We think that we are conserving this land around us but we are instead preserving the land. We aren’t letting nature do what it was meant to do. We are stopping nature from affecting these National Parks.


Lauren Brown September 12, 2016 at 8:16 pm

In the Sunrise and Sunset movements I heard a lot of non-coercive imitations of the environment. Both songs flowed very nicely, were harmonious and peaceful, and adequately mimicked the energy given off by a sunrise and a sunset. For example in movement one, the pace of the song slowly and steadily sped up similar to how the world slowly wakes up in the morning. There were no single sounds that dominated the song which made it seem like every part of the wilderness was waking together. The most dominating movement was movement three to me. The pace of the song changed very quickly, there were many loud, abrasive sounds, and the song kept interrupting itself, so it didn’t flow as nicely as movement one and four. The movement is titled “On the Trail”, and while listening to it I imagined a man walking down a trail and coming across several obstacles. These obstacles were represented by the interruptions in the songs and likely represented animals or plants in the man’s way. Every time one of these noise came up, the obstacle was promptly defeated. Also just the fact that the song is called “on the trail” makes me think of domination, because a trail itself is an example of a way man tries to dominated nature. I am not familiar with this genre of music, but I would imagine it would be hard for a human to make a song that was truly wild.

Tolliver believes that music is a reflection of nature, so in some sense it encourages the preservation and conservation of it. However, it is also made by man so there are human characteristics found in music that tend to overshadow the characteristics of nature. I don’t think that man made music can ever really preserve the wilderness. It may encourage some intent listeners to stop polluting or to appreciate their environment more, but it won’t be enough to actually preserve it. First of all music is something that is created by man, so in my opinion it can never truly reflect wilderness. Secondly, music is listened to by people for many reasons, and one of those reasons is often time just for pleasure. Many people listening for this reason probably don’t care about the cause or the meaning behind the music. Lastly, many people don’t take the time to look at the meaning of music just because it isn’t obvious. For example, I wouldn’t have known that Grand Canyon Suite was encouraging preservation until I researched it.


Emma Berg September 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm

1. I felt “Sunrise” and “Cloudburst” were both non-coercive movements because they had gentle elements and an overall slower tempo. The intro to both songs immediately made them seem more serene and focused on natural beauty. I heard more dominant tones in “On the trail” and “Painted desert”. These songs both gave a more eerie feeling to start and were not as smooth or effortless feeling as the other movements. When listening to sunset I heard aspects of both. I would say it has a mix of dominant and non-dominant aspects. At times the movement can feel aggressive but then the pace will slow down drastically.
2. For a long time art has been an essential aspect of conservation and preservation efforts. Music, such as Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite , can also be used for environmental efforts. Art is a way for people to appreciate nature instead of altering it. One idea that Tolliver wrote about is that art can imitate nature and that art can be environmentally friendly. Tolliver also highlighted the fact that the National Park Service has used art as a way to promote preservation efforts. I believe music can preserve wilderness in the way that how something looked and felt at the time can be captured through music. Music can preserve the feelings nature evokes and depict its beauty. But, I do not think music alone can stop people from destroying the wilderness. Music can be used to aid conservation and preservation efforts but this is nothing without the help of people.


Catherine Allen September 12, 2016 at 4:34 pm

1) Although, all five pieces contained elements of both domination and non-coercion, I thought that the 1st and 2nd pieces were the least coercive and the third piece was the most dominating. The first piece, “Sunrise”, started out slow and gradually got louder and more dramatic throughout the song; mimicking an actual sunrise. The gradual rise gave the song a very natural feel and was a lot less dominating. The 2nd song also started out very smooth and soft which sounded very natural. The third song sounded the most dominating as it had a lot of abrupt changes and reminded the listener of a person walking through nature as you could hear the horse hooves and other animals.

2) Conservationism is the practice of using natural resources with caution. It values sustainable use of wilderness around us, while preservationism is when resources are not used at all and the wilderness is left undisturbed. As Tolliver states, music can never completely preserve wilderness, but it can capture nature in music so that people can enjoy nature though it. Music can inspire others to preserve and ave the wilderness, but it can never do it alone.


Miles Kish September 12, 2016 at 2:57 pm

1) There is not a movement in the piece that has no coercive or dominating elements. However, I found the first and fourth movements to be the least coercive of the piece. Grofe’s focus on the natural phenomena of “Sunrise” and “Sunset” as the movements are named, seemed to lend it self to a more natural or man-free sound. In contrast, the third movement sounded much more dominated or coercive to me. The sounds of hooves can be heard, bringing with them human interference in a natural site. Even the name, “On The Trail” informs us of the human presence in nature and their remaking of the world to suit man.
2) Conservationism is the idea that natural resources should be managed responsibly, while Preservationism is the idea that natural resources or areas should not be used at all, and instead remain untouched. Tolliver believes that music alone cannot preserve nature. Music can support the idea of preservation, but action must be taken beyond music to save natural areas. As for the second part of the question, music cannot somehow contain wilderness within it. The act of composing music brings with it a human perspective on the area, and preservation by definition is separation from humans.


Maddy Allain September 11, 2016 at 5:58 pm

1. While each movement had dominating as well as non-coercive tones, I found the first, second, and fourth movements to be more non-coercive. “Sunrise” was characterized by gentle melodies and evoked images of nature untouched. The fourth movement focuses more on the majesty and grandeur of nature as well as the harmony of the environment. I found the third and fifth movements to be more dominant. “On the Trail” adds a human element to the previously uninhabited wilderness. This movement is dominated by an almost jarring beat, meant to mirror the sound of horse hooves. This continuous beat is indicative of how people disrupt and take from nature. In the third movement, a storm dominates the formerly calm landscape.
2. Music allows people to interpret nature as art, making nature into something more than just a resource to be exploited . This lends itself to the purpose of conservationism/ preservationism through spreading an attitude of appreciation towards nature, yet, according to Toliver, music can never truly preserve wilderness. This is because wilderness is supposed to be untouched and by creating music, such as The Grand Canyon Suite, it spreads ideas of conservation/preservation, which in turn leads to people, to put it eloquently, messing with nature. Despite ecocentric intentions, these people are altering the environment; thus destroying “wilderness.”


Sarah Chao September 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm

1. There were elements of both non-coerciveness and domination in all of the movements. However I believe the second and the fourth movements, “The Painted Desert” and “Sunset” were the least dominant in the portrayal of the wilderness. The second one was gentle, had a twinkly feeling in the notes, and some parts made me feel sneaky. The fourth one was peaceful and slow, like someone was winding down for the night.
The other movements, 1, 3, 5 sounded very nature dominated. The first one had a slow buildup like the sun rising up in the morning, then becoming louder and flowy like someone finally waking up with the sun; the third one felt the most dominant because it begins loud and strong and I could hear the sounds of the wilderness and animals come alive through the instruments making sounds of horses clopping around; the fifth one started out delicate, kind of dreamy and kind of melancholic, but suddenly turns dark like a storm was getting ready to happen–using the drums and quick strings to make it even more intense.

2. The ideas of conservatism and preservation both want to protect the natural world. Conservationism means to use resources sparingly and preservation means not to use them at all. I don’t believe that music can preserve wilderness, but it can help one visualize the fragility of the wilderness and promote the urgency to save it. Wilderness in music can show and remind people of the beauty of nature for example, by bringing images or memories of being in nature can evoke sensations. But it can’t physically preserve nature, only taking action can do that.
Tolliver says, “wilderness transformed is no longer wilderness” this really touched me because it makes sense: what people are doing, destroying nature, tearing down things instead of preserving them, it’s completely ruined the wilderness and we will no longer understand what the wilderness truly is if we continue to destroy and not protect it.


Samantha Creech September 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Although the movements in this piece all had a sense of order to them that suggests human domination over nature, they could also hint to the hidden order within nature. “Sunrise” mimics the gentle and powerful nature of the phenomenon that it is named after. The second movement, “The Painted Desert,” felt the most non-coercive. It remained at a mostly mezzo-piano dynamic throughout the movement, and its quiet, gentle melody allowed it to recede into the background. The song itself was peaceful and submissive, which provides the dominance to nature rather than to the music. This contrasts from the dark, ominous, authoritative tone of “On the Trail.” Even the title of this movement suggests human intervention, while the boisterous music enhances the sense of dominance. The fourth movement to an intermediate area, where the music was formed to mimic the drama of sunset over the canyon. “Cloudburst,” the final movement, while not providing a sense of non-coerciveness, seemed to most embrace the chaotic side of nature. Out of the movements, this one felt the wildest.

Conservationism and preservationism are different takes on a similar movement to protect the natural world. Conservationism focuses on using resources as sparingly as possible. Preservationism, on the other hand, forbids use of resources at all. Both ideas are set in hopes of protecting the beauty and order of nature. People have tried to use music as a tool for preservation, but by the very act of creation, we are asserting order into chaos, and humanity into wilderness. Music may invoke an interest in preservation, but for creation itself to preserve wilderness would be a paradox.


Christian T Smith August 31, 2016 at 11:28 pm

1) I found the most non coercive movement to be the 5th movement (especially towards its end) where the composition becomes a mess of parts being played simultaneously and over top of one another. In regards to dominance I found the most dominant movement to be the swelling of the 3rd movement. Often when I think of wilderness in music it’s calm and rather quite but one piece that I think of as truly “wild” is Giona Ostinelli’s “The Cave” https://soundcloud.com/giona_ostinelli/you-missed

2) What I got from Tofe’s interpretation and thoughts on the Grand Canyon Suite, in regards to conservationism and preservationism is that it can be an aid in encouraging these ideas. It was my understanding from his writing that the suite was used commercially to represent and be associated with depictions of the Grand Canyon; and that for this reason it inspired a want in people to participate in preservation and conservation of the Grand Canyon as well as other natural landmarks and landscapes. For me the pieces in the suite showed the stark contrast between how the landscape is naturally, in suites 1 where it is beautiful and stands in solitude, versus in suite 5, where it shows how we dominate and overtake the natural landscapes. Due to this insight is my belief that music can never directly save the environment, however it can inspire that saving grace.


Josh Sharpe September 12, 2014 at 1:42 am

1) I can hear traces of domination in all of the movements because they were written to affect one emotionally instead of truly represent wilderness. I used this song in another comment but ‘Faht’ by Phish (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD9oXYId66E) somewhat represents wilderness by imposing sounds of animals and cars randomly onto a simple, repetitive guitar riff.
2) Music cannot perfectly preserve nature, unless you create some sort of instrument that can be played by the wilderness, but can draw attention to conserving it.


Ellen Doss September 8, 2014 at 1:23 am

1) The second movement “The Painted Desert” had an active sense of trouble or danger which I why I felt that it represented wilderness the most out of the five movements. Wilderness terrifies me; the thought of being and surviving alone with limited resources and safety terrifies me and this movement had that sort of tone.
2) I do not believe music can preserve (necessarily) the wilderness, as it can portray the wilderness. This music is simply a reflection of the composer’s view of nature and the wild but it doesn’t do anything to impact the environment.


Jaymee Panian September 8, 2014 at 1:18 am

In the first and last couple of movements I hear traces of non-coercive nature in my own opinion. They are much more soft and calm just as nature would be if a person would be physically walking through it. Therefore, it paints a much more realistic image in the sound and in the listeners mind. However, the remaining movements utilized a more booming, dominate kind of sound that lead to a more animated image in the sound. The relationship between conservation and preservation in sound is the spared using of resources– which would be conservation– and the absence of the using of resources– which would be preservation. This appears in music through the sound and how it was produced along with what kind of sound was produced.


Liam Walker September 8, 2014 at 1:14 am

1) The way I saw it the first and fourth scenes are more non-coercive portraits of the wilderness, and scene two, three and five were more of a dominant portrait of the wilderness.
2) This was a very descriptive and wordy paper that was difficult to focus on the question being asked and even made it hard to understand what ideas were being made. I think music in a way preserves our perceptions of wilderness but wilderness itself cannot be physically conserved or preserved by music.


Alex Fresa September 8, 2014 at 12:59 am

1) Of all the movements performed, I really felt the strongest sense of gentle and pleasant portraits in the second one. The instrumentation is so lush and fits the definition of “non-coercive” perfectly. I received the strongest presence of dominance in the third movement. The unmoving horns and stiff drums give the piece a hint of power in all the right areas. Although the piece is in no way daunting, there are still enough elements of power to create such an illusion. The song “Bells” by Gang Gang Dance floats gently through the air using synths and light bells to create an atmospheric swampland. I hear much wilderness and even animal life in this track.
2) Conservatism and preservationism can hold great importance in music. As we begin to learn, music in fact does control a seemingly enhanced environment. Essentially, wilderness within music can help us to remember how nature once was, or how it could be. These points are where preservation and conservation come in, as without these principles we would surely not understand the capacity of what we are listening to.


Meredith Aabye September 8, 2014 at 12:50 am

1. Every movement sounds dominated. “On the Trail” is a human moving through the landscape, the subsequent movements are from the human’s perspective. According to the Toliver article, even down to man dominating over the canyon wren. The “painted desert” movement sounds like a dream on the verge of a nightmare or some kind of struggle. I also agree with Toliver, that, aside from the cowboy, the vagueness of these pieces sound like the sunset, sunrise, and storm all could be happening anywhere.

2. Conservation is sustainable use of resources (to use them responsibly) whereas preservation of the wilderness is to leave it alone all together. I found it interesting that the national parks were previously considered worthless (and unexploitable) in order for them to be preserved. According to Adorno, “works depicting nature in fact symbolically exploit what they celebrate”.


Kendall Rankin September 8, 2014 at 12:31 am

1) I think all of the movements had coercive aspects in them, but I noticed them the most in the last two movements because in movement four, the light airy sound helped bring out the loud, thunderous sound of the fifth movement and vice versa.

2) I think was Grofe was saying was that music helps bring awareness to conservationism/preservation because it is a way to reach so many people. I don’t think music can solely save nature or preserve it because it cannot completely capture the essence of nature. It also requires people to listen to the music and to take the message to heart to actually do something about nature and protecting it.


Chilton Birdwhistell September 8, 2014 at 12:16 am

1) I would have to say that I hear non0 cocercive portraits of the wilderness through out all of the music pieces. In most of the musical pieces it reminds me of spring and when flowers start to bloom and everything is really colorful. The musical piece “on the trail seemed to be the most dominate in my opinion, or a little too dominate. It didn’t warm up into the song, it just was a bold piece of music from the start to the beginning. The first musical piece that came to my mind is circle of life in the lion king. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwSKkKrUzUk

2) I believe that music can help preserve the wilderness but it is a lot more complicated than that. From what I have seen and heard, music is more of a culture thing. Wherever we are, the music in that general area represents where we are from and how we are. The music that helps preserve the wilderness is probably not as popular from what I have seen and therefore it cannot make a HUGE impact on the wilderness… But I believe it can still help.


Joseph Flais September 8, 2014 at 12:12 am

1. I believe that each piece provided a non-coercive portrait of wilderness. “Sunset” was less dramatic but there were definitely subtle changes. They all captured the fickleness of nature and its control and order. “Cloudburst” was dramatic and dominating and “The Painted Desert” had something slightly ominous about it.
2. Music itself can’t preserve the wilderness but it can make humans more aware. Music can glorify nature or show how bad of a state it is in, possibly MOTIVATING people to conserve and preserve their wilderness, but it cannot MAKE people do it.


Thea Butler September 7, 2014 at 11:57 pm

1. The third movement starts out very fierce and dramatic. Throughout the piece, a “Where the Wild Things are” picture is painted in my head. The first and forth movements are very relaxed. What comes to mind to represent wild is The Wolf by Fever Ray. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zsnw6yxH2o . Also, Set Them Free by James Newton-Howard http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITZWWADCc2U
2. Tolliver’s readings state conservationism as using resources sparingly and preservation as not using resources at all. The relation he makes to Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite, is that music can manipulate wilderness to be whatever the human wants it to be. Even in preservationism, humans take their idea of “preserving” nature, and it is then, no longer raw wilderness.
I don’t think music can truly preserve wilderness. Sure, a composer can say, this is what nature sounds like to me. Yet, that may not be how others see it. I see that as a way of man trying to dominate nature while trying to depict it and stating that is what it sounds like. The idea of wilderness is already dominated because of mans’ constant interference.


James Burns September 7, 2014 at 10:27 pm

1. Despite its auditory display of natures dominance and indifference towards people, the third movement “On The Trail” is the least coercive moment on Grofe’s Suite. Unlike the previous movement the song is built around a juxtaposition of raw cacophonous melodies and playful rhythmic features. I feel this is an attempt to demonstrate the unpredictability and power of the Grand Canyon while also bringing to light the thrill and sense of fun that goes along with a journey through it.

2. In Toliver’s essay music is said to have the potential to indicate a societies view of nature, in particular its relationship to preservationist and conversationalist impulses. He uses Frede Grofe’s Grand Cannon Suite as a way to explore the conversationalist zeitgeist of the 1930s. However, both conservation and preservation are explored by Toliver and found to have closer ties to a human ideal of the wilderness and art than a wild raw reality.
No, I would have to side with the perspective of Theodor Adorno which Toliver brings up half way through the article that humans cannot truly recreate nature. Art is by definition the manipulation of one’s surroundings for the purposes of communication, and I don’t believe that the interference that art calls for could yield its raw materials.


Meghan Blackwood September 7, 2014 at 9:45 pm

1) I feel that all of the movements had both non coercive and dominant elements at different points in the pieces. Often I heard dominance in the heavy brass sections, while I heard non coercion in lighter measures.
2) Tolliver states that the idea of conservationism is to use resources, well, resourcefully, while preservationism is to avoid using resources at all. Physically, no, music cannot preserve wilderness, but mentally, it can create an imagistic preservation. Music can serve as an accolade, or evoke certain memories/scenes to wilderness, heightening the sensation we experience while exposed to the wilderness. But, in my opinion, music itself cannot physically preserve earth’s surface, unless we are speaking in terms of preserving personal mental capacity.


Jon Michael Askew September 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm

1) 4 of the 5 movements have moments of non-coercive portrayals of nature and wild/ dominating portrayals, with the fourth movement being the exception as it remains calm and peaceful the whole time. The third movement has several calm and peaceful moments that are met with a wild segment, one of which ends the piece in a dominating tone.
2) Music can be used to help aid conservationism as composers can portray the beauty of nature and wild locations, hopefully causing the audience to realize the importance of the spaces and the threat they receive in our modern world. However, if only the musical representation is appreciated and no change of mind is caused towards environmental issues, the point is lost and no progress is gained.


Amanda McCauley September 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm

1. Although, initially, when I listened to the music prior to reading the titles and the question, I would not have related to any of these pieces to portraits of the wilderness. I don’t know exactly what domination is supposed to mean, but I will take that it means powerful and controlled. The last movement, Cloudburst, seems to contain a lot of domination and un-wilderness-like elements. It seems as if the scores of Bambi and Dumbo had an offspring, ironically because those movies have a decent amount of nature within them (especially Bambi), and then meshed with William Tell Overture and Firebird Suite. I cannot think of any musical representations of the wilderness at the moment besides the Bambi score (especially the movement involving the forest fire) and some parts of the Fantasia collection. The only reason I view these as a wilderness-like score is purely because of visual association, but that is the best I can think of.

Fantasia 2000: Firebird Suite

Bambi: Fire/Reunion/Finale

2. The relationship between conservationism/preservationism and music is that music/art can influence individuals to preserve/conserve the wilderness. This influence is all mental though, whether humans actually carry out this inspiration is another story. I do not think that music an truly “preserve” wilderness, in a physical sense. But I think it can preserve the idea of wilderness. This quote from page 358: “This is the collision of values I have sought to capture in Grand Canyon Suite. Grofé’s overt and sincere appreciation of a wilderness preserve has never been in question. What I have attempted to question, rather, is his—and his audiences’—ability to break with the frontier narrative when the latter was in- appropriate,” somewhat sums up what I am trying to say, I think. If I am correct, it means, no doubt that wilderness preservation is present in Grofe’s piece, but it is a matter of human intent that determines the wilderness’s preservation. ( I hope I have interpreted this correctly.)


Healey Cox-McMahon September 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm

I would argue that all five movements of the Grand Canyon suite are coercive, because they were composed by someone who is projecting his own personal perspective of the wilderness. With that being said, I can hear that the third movement, “On The Trail” is especially contrived with high, shrilling notes that serve as momentary cliffhangers, booming orchestral transitions and a continuous “walking” motif. I think that the third movement is intended to sound more intentionally human because it communicates a human journey “On The Trail”. I don’t think any music organized by a human can be considered truly wild, only the natural ambiance provided by nature can claim to be wild.
I believe that music can conserve an individual human’s perception of wilderness, but it cannot truly preserve wilderness, because music is an idea open to human interpretation, and wilderness is a physical actuality. I do not believe that the Grand Canyon Suite depicts the land in such a way that people are so moved by it that they will suddenly feel compelled to devote their lives to ensuring that the land is not destroyed. When the Grand Canyon is torn apart by nuclear warfare, the Grand Canyon Suite might provide a glimpse of what it once was, but someone who has not visited the Grand Canyon before it was destroyed will never truly experience what it once was with all of their five senses.


Shelby Putnam September 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm

1) I think that out of the 5 Movements, the 2nd one (The Painted Desert), and the 4th one (Sunset), were the most non-coercive in showing their imagery. They shifted more towards gentle inclination, in comparison to the loud and demanding “domination” of Movement 5 (Cloudburst), and Movement 3 (On the Trail). Movements 3 and 5 hold louder and more prominent tones than that of their counterparts, and therefore do not lull the listener into their trance, but rather force you into it.

2) Similar to the conservationism and preservationism connection to government, policies, and history, they also have very strong connections to the world of art and music. The struggle and beauty of nature can be portrayed and expressed through music and art, and bring awareness to the issues facing preserving our wilderness. However, according to Tolliver, if we rely on music and art to be our sole connection to the wild world outside of our own, nature ceases being what it is, and becomes a transparent idea lost in translation.


Morgan Gosserand September 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm

1.) Sunrise starts off sounding like wilderness but then domination takes control halfway through the piece, losing its sense of natural intention ad The Painted Desert definitely has a sense of domination with the menacing tones and sneaky melodies throughout. It sounds like a score that would have been included in Dick Tracy or an episode of The Twilight Zone. On The Trail is scary dominating. The beginning is so harsh and non-coercive AND THEN IT TURNS INTO THE SCORE IN A CHRISTMAS STORY. This couldn’t have turned out better. There are certainly aspects of wilderness in the almost horse sound of the score. Sunset is very peaceful and represents (to me) the beauty of night fall and nature preparing for sleep and settling down. Sunset and Cloudburst are my favourite movements because they are so peaceful and depict a scene of settling down and then a portrayal of slumber and comfort in Cloudburst. I like how well they coincide with each other and create a flowing harmony to end the movements.
2.) The relationship between conservation and preservation in music is finding a balance between appreciating and using land for human purpose. If you use too many of the natural resources, the presence of preservation is lost. Conservation is needed in order to keep the land beautiful and not soiled with human impact. Unless the piece of music includes only the sounds of nature and wilderness in its piece, it doesn’t really preserve wilderness, but as he says in the passage, it enhances and takes parts of wilderness to another level, or extreme. It shows appreciation for wilderness but I wouldn’t say it truly preserves it.


Victor Aguiar September 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm

1) The first and fourth scenes seem to me to be non-coercive portraits of the wilderness, while scene two, three and five were more of a dominant portrait of the wilderness. At least in my mind that’s how it went.
2) I thought this was a very wordy paper that made it hard to stay focused on the question being asked and even made it hard to understand what ideas were being laid across. But I think music has the ability to preserve our (humans) perceptions of wilderness but wilderness itself can’t be conserved or preserved by music. Once we enter with our own ideas or manipulations wilderness isn’t genuine anymore and simply the idea of wilderness that we want it to be.


Lucas September 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm

After having a summertime connected with sporting venture and all sorts of disturbances, now we all have to travel “back to help school” and acquire lets start work on the difficult work. There will be quite a few businesses within our business banking with a respectable 11 weeks just before Christmas time, certainly, it’s just about that point previously, to get rid of 4 seasons in an instant. Most of the broker agents I have talked to during the period of 12 months, undoubtedly in London, have got all essentially mentioned the same principle; that though enquiry levels currently have placed comparatively dependable, actually transforming them into company has become the situation.


Johny September 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Following a summer season associated with showing off venture and all the interruptions, currently all of us have to go “back for you to school” and find i’ll carry on with the hard operate. You will see several corporations inside our industry consumer banking on a decent 90 days just before Christmas, indeed, it’s just about that point previously, to finish the year in an instant. Most of the brokers I’ve got spoken to over 4 seasons, definitely inside london, have pretty much said the same principle; in which even though enquiry degrees have held comparatively firm, truly changing these into enterprise is the challenge.


emily mercer September 17, 2012 at 7:31 am

1.) The last two videos felt to me to present the least-coercive portraits of nature, although parts of all of the videos had moments lacking in the presence of a controlling nature. To me, even though nature can be aggressive and spontaneous, the music with parts that reflected that aggressiveness, only gave off a feeling of pre-meditated control. The less orchestrated and more light-hearted the pieces were, the more they tended to feel natural to me. I guess that just shows my perspective on nature though, that I feel it conjures up images of tranquility and free-spiritedness. Someone else might have a different feeling towards nature though, such as for them, wilderness might be a naturally domineering force in which the more aggressive, mysterious music is most fitting.
This song by Andrew Bird, called Anonanimal makes me feel more than other song like I’m immersed in wilderness. I’m not really sure to what degree it was intended to replicate the idea of wilderness, but that’s the way my mind receives it each time I hear it. Listening to it makes me feel very free and adventurous. It also mentally lifts me to a more dreamy, introspective state of mind, open to learning and understanding new and old things. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CRiR52YtjE

2.) First of all, i found this rather academic, verbose article to have beautiful and capturing detail. Tolliver appears to believe that wilderness is not something that is preserved through altering it. Rather, he feels that “wilderness transformed is no longer wilderness”. He does, however, acknowledge a positive connection between music and conservationism in that art is a sort of way to show and share one’s own experiences with nature to others. The contradiction in that though appears when, according to Tolliver, “…valuing art over nature while pretending to value nature over art”. Art can become distracting and all-consuming, impacting the culture of a place and consequently, the wilderness of a place. Humans appreciate and replicate aspects of nature in their art. They intend these works for the purpose of enhancing others’ experiences with nature, though it really turns out to be more tinged with self-gratification on the part of the artist, for it is their controlling/capturing of nature that really robs the wilderness of its true expression. Thus, music cannot solely preserve nature, for with every artistic act of appreciation, nature is tainted with that artist’s interpretation of it. After a period of time, the wilderness would be entirely traversed and altered by man and would become merely a creation of humanity.


Erik Rubino September 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm

1) In the first 4 movements I personally feel that he is pushing the non-coercive attitude. While in the 5th movement he starts out non-coercive then starts to be dominating.

2) Music has the ability to conserve wilderness by letting it be known that there is a need to do so. Also it has the ability to preserve wilderness with the timeless sounds of the forest, though I don’t believe this is actually completely true. I think that music can actually “preserve” wilderness, but I don’t believe it can preserve “wilderness.” It may not make much sense, but I feel that music has the ability to preserve the idea of wilderness, and what is expected of it; but for it to be truly wild it can’t be the thoughts of man it would have to be true “wilderness” something we can’t recreate. We can recreate the emotions we tie to wilderness, peace, adventure, fear, excitement and a multitude of others, but when it comes to truly capturing what “wilderness” is we can’t do that.


Ayla Harvey September 12, 2012 at 1:41 am

1.) I believe that all of the above movements have coercive and dominating properties, and it’s all in the ear of every individual listener to decide. Classifying music as “non-coercive” seems redundant to me, since a composer’s duty is to convey his own feelings and emotions to listeners through the sounds of his music. If listeners do not particularly understand or relate to the source, then fine, but the classification of “non-coercive” seems somewhat fickle to me. However, I sense a major feeling of dominance in movement two. The desert scene creates this dominance and I understood the point Grofe was trying to make.
2.) Emotionally, I believe that music can preserve wilderness. In the physical sense, obviously not, but the feelings and ideas that are expressed through music that match the qualities of the wilderness can definitely preserve it in one’s mind. The nature and beauty illustrated in the sounds can be discovered with only a click of a play button: “This is where art
became useful” (Toliver 339). Just as art and music help the artists and composers express themselves, the viewers and the listeners can grasp that as well and feel as if they are a part of it.


Lillian Lovingood September 12, 2012 at 1:03 am

1.) I found that measures 2 and 5 were the least dominate in portraying wilderness dominance. I thought that movement 2 sounded too mischievous and that 5 did not have enough emphasis for me to relate it to the wild. The other movements, 1, 3, and 4, did sound like nature to me though. I thought that 1 and 4 captured reflected their titles by (1) building up with the sweet and flowing melodies that sounded like the rise of a blissful day, and then (4) with the strong music that wound down in a lazy manner.
2.) I think that music can seize and to an extent, “preserve” the feeling of wilderness, but I do not think that it can save it from physical destruction. Toliver recognizes conservation as just that, using resources sparingly, yet he is drawn closer to the meaning of preservation which he sees as the “desire to fetter that which maintains an un-fettering appearance.” I feel that music cannot fully “fetter” the actual wilderness however, it can somewhat sum up to a portion of its beauty.


Austin Freer September 12, 2012 at 12:19 am

1) In each of the movements I could hear both non-coercive and dominate elements. It just depended on where in the music they arrived at.
2) Music allows the listener to enjoy nature without having to go out and exeperiancing it firsthand. So yes in my opinion music can truly preserve nature.


Tyler Price September 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm

1) I hear the most non-coercive images of nature in movements 1, 3, and 4. The dark elements inside the second and fifth movements made me have a more dominating feeling towards nature through the music.

2) Music makes the wilderness all the more enjoyable. Music fully preserves our surroundings. The great folk songs speak of the beauty of everything around us and when you listen to them you can’t help but want to go outside and appreciate it. With music around, the wilderness isn’t going anywhere.


Zach September 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm

1. I hear non-coercive music throughout movement number 4, while the rest of them have parts that are both coercive and non-coercive. If you listen to all of the movements, they all have some sort of climax or intensity about them, but number 4 does it in a very subtle and flowing manor by using stringed instruments instead of horns. This, in turn, allowed the piece to feel more peaceful and have a climax that wasn’t overwhelming.
2. The relationship between conservationism/preservationism and music allows individuals to admire nature in a way that is not controlling. The listener is able to imagine that they are in the most beautiful piece of nature, just by listening to a piece of music. Additionally, the music in the Grand Canyon Suite, for example, gave me a sense of what it would be like to be at the Grand Canyon, while the people who have been there, would remember what they saw and felt. In this way, I believe that music has the ability to preserve/conserve nature.


Harrison Johnston September 11, 2012 at 11:18 pm

1.I personally feel that there is no such thing as non-coercive music. The simple fact that Grofe is conveying his feelings about the grand canyon through this piece in turn “coerces” the listener into feeling the same thing he felt (or at least something similar). If Grofe felt something peaceful, he would convey that with soft and non abrasive sounds, like in movements 1 and 2, as well as portions of others. If something were epic and exhilarating, Grofe would include more “dominant sounds” such as the end of movement 5. Because what he felt influences the listeners reaction, I feel that this piece, as well as all music, is coercive. Also, something being not “dominant” or “dominant” is not simply the volume of the music, but rather the amount of focus being put on specific sounds. Volume can play a part, because one tends to focus more on the glaring sounds of a loud movement, but multiple sounds interacting and not interfering with or taking precedent over one another make something not “dominant” while the opposite is true for “dominant” sounds.
2. Toliver says that conservationism is “conserving resources”, whereas preservationism is “preserving wilderness”. I do not see how music itself can preserve nature. Although it can promote the idea ( like Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”), but the music itself cannot act to preserve nature. It can however, preserve ones feelings toward nature, as we will forever be able to listen to how the Grand Canyon affected Grofe through this piece.


Zena Zangwill September 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm

1)I hear non-coercive portraits of the wilderness in “On The Trail” and “The Painted Desert”, and I heard traces of domination in “The Painted Desert”. When listening to this I thought of I heard traces of domination as well in “Sunset”. While listening to “On The Trail” and “Sunset”, I could imagine animals hopping about and it brought back visions of “The Lion King”, where I could imagine all of the animals drinking out of the watering hole. Yes, I can think of representations of the wilderness that are truly wild in music, such as animals galloping, which can make a specific rhythm.

2) The relationship between conservationism and preservationism is that they both are saving wilderness. I do not personally think that music can preserve wilderness, since music usually comes from the wilderness. It is a bit confusing, especially in the work by Grofe, because music does not seem to have the capacity to preserve wilderness.


Ryan Wyatt September 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm

1)In movements 1, 3, 4, and 5 I hear non-coercive portraits of the wilderness. In movements 1, 2, 3, and 5 I hear traces of dominance.
2)According to Tolliver the relationship between conservationism/preservationism and musicis that music can represent nature at its finest (preservationism), while there is and underlying control (consevationism). Music does an excellent job at preserving what a composer inturprets wilderness and the wilderness to be; however, music can never truely preserve what wilderness and the wilderness actualy are.


Kyra Lewis September 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

1. I hear portraits of the wilderness in each of these movements. “On the Trail” was definitely the most animated one, reminded me of a cartoon. in each of these movements, i can’t see/feel/hear a direct correlation between the music and nature, except for the face that the title tells me what i’m supposed to be imagining during the song. the only song i can think of that i can give an explanation to being “wild” is called “Meditation (Second Level)” by Wei Li Yang. this song, however, isn’t exactly what you’re asking for, but it is the best i can think of. this song is intended to guide a person through Tai Chi (a series of breathing and body movements that flow the Chi through one’s body, and the motions have a specific combative application-like a slow martial arts). I have used this song during a guided Qi Gong (much more simple than Tai Chi, and used mainly for meditation, health and healing) session. there are different sections of the song that, i feel, represent the different elements of nature, i instruct people to use their bodies to be whatever element is being represented at that time in the song. the song transitions from different tempos and such, and i guide them to flow like that element (flow like water when the song is slow and flowy, dance like fire when the song reaches it’s upbeat peak). although this isn’t a direct representation of nature through music, it does bring people to a very close presence with nature from/with the music….if you click “view in iTunes”, you can hear a longer sample of the song, this is the best i could find.
i feel that music should preserve an element of the wilderness, but it is hard to see that manifestation. if i hadn’t read the article about the grand canyon, i would have never thought that Grofé’s songs were in referring to the Grand Canyon.


Emma Anderson September 11, 2012 at 9:14 pm

1) I hear examples of non-coercive wilderness being portrayed in movement 3 especially. The wilderness he was trying to resemble seemed very pushed in my opinion rather than embodying the beauty and intensity that movements 1, 4, and 5 captured. In movement 2, I could see the animals sneaking through the woods and fields hiding from the dreaded hunter – definitely a strong feeling of dominance present in this movement.

2) Grofe states, “In the discourses of preservation and conservation there is an inevitable contradiction: wilderness transformed is no longer wilderness,” (Grofe 339). I think this ties into how artists can do their best to preserve our natural world in their compositions, but simply taking that natural world, that “wilderness,” and trying to replicate it directly defies this idea of conserving/preserving it. The wild is everchanging, and it is the, “fantasy of a wilderness seemingly enhanced, rather than diminished, by the act of controlling,” it through a musical representation (Grofe 340). We must remember that these “preservations” of the “wild” can invoke perfectly what we feel in our natural surroundings, but that they are simply “art, not the real thing,” (Grofe 343). I think “the wild” is a beautiful thing to aspire to conserve and preserve through your music, but that music will only ever be able to capture a single moment in the evolving “wild,” and therefore, we should focus more on physically trying to maintain the “wild’s” health.


Emma Anderson September 11, 2012 at 9:16 pm

(Change citations to Tolliver, sorry)


Danusha Chenchik September 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I think that all of the pieces them have somewhat dominating traces of the wilderness, they seem to all have similar sounds of bird chirping imitation. Also the fact that they all have pictures of wilderness as the image helps intall the idea of nature in my mind when I’m listening to the song. Maybe I’m just not too much of a classical music fan but I thought they all sounded pretty similar and put the same ideas into my head.

I think that the relationship between preservationism and music could be one of saving nature with music. Also you could preserve the idea of a specific kind of nature with music. Music can only preserve the ideas or images of specifc kinds of nature.


Jesse Korotitsch September 11, 2012 at 8:16 pm

1. I feel that all the pieces of music have non-coercive parts and dominant parts that attempt to describe nature. I feel that the very soft-sounding parts of each piece is non-coercive, because it sounds very calm and it does not feel like there is anything forced onto you by the piece of music. I feel that the more dominant parts are when certain parts become really loud and intense. Although I can see how this music would remind listeners of the wilderness, to me it does not feel that way. Personally, I cannot relate this music to the wilderness, yet some listeners might be able to relate these pieces to the wilderness. One piece of music that I am able to relate to the wilderness is from Ben Leinbach, called Horizon of Gold. It is a very calming piece of music to me and it reminds me of being somewhere out in nature at night. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW1XKdeLDPM
2. I feel that the relation that Grofe wanted to make between conservation/preservation of the wilderness and music is that the wilderness can be enhanced by the music or outside influence, like people. Tolliver says “…art is a tapestry whose surface depicts untamed nature, but whose weave encodes domination. Nature is thus spun from the very fabric of conquest, and the result is a fantasy much like that provided by the National Park Service. It is the fantasy of a wilderness seemingly enhanced, rather than diminished, by the act of controlling it” (Tolliver 340). Although people are able to destroy the wilderness in certain areas like the Grand Canyon, people can also enhance it. Therefore I think that Grofe was trying to preserve wilderness because he was not only trying to preserve nature, but also to preserve his own memory of the Grand Canyon.


Casey Murphey September 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm

1. Movements 1, 2, and 3 had non cocericive portraits of wilderness. Movement 4, and 5. on the other hand definatly had the most domination. But it felt like a happy domination in the movement about the donkey trail. The last movement was the most pretty in the beginning but also the most scary in the end too. I don’t know any music that represents the wilderness. I actually typed in wilderness orchestral peices and the first thing that came up was the Grand Canyon Suite.
2. The relating between conservation and preservation, according to Toliver, is that that conservation is ” using resourses sparingly” and preservation, according to Toliver mean to “not use them(resourses) at all.” Toliver writes that “art is a tapestry whose surface dipicts untamed nature, but whose weave encodes domination. Nature is thus spun from the very fabric of conquest, and the result is a fantasy much like that provided by the National Park Service. It is the fantasy of a wildernesss seemingly enhanced, rather than diminished, by the act of controlling it.” By this statement, I feel that you can preserve the wilderness by listening to music. In my opinion, if a piece is called the “Grand Canyon Suite” and you listen to it for at least a minute, you could tell that the composer probably liked what he saw out of the Grand Canyon. Why would listeners NOT want to preserve it?


Allie Jacobius September 11, 2012 at 4:18 pm

1) In movements 1, 2, 4, and 5 there is the themes of non-cocercive portraits of the wilderness. Towards the end of movement 2: The Painted Desert, there is about 30 seconds of this overall domination vibe. It makes you envision this broad and vast desert scene out west and you just embrace this grand (pun not intended) experience that lies behold you. Also, in movement 3 it starts out with this powerful opening and then settles into this sweet melody. But at first listening to this I was a bit intimidated because of its intensity, as well as, style. I am right now unable to come up with any musical representations of “wilderness” that are “truly” wild, but if I can think of any before class tomorrow I will surely post them.
2) The beauty and vastness of the land we live on can be protected in so many ways. But as Grofe states, “the rugged environment and challenging and improving those who encounter it stems from pioneer ideology”. (Grofe 326). Conservationism and preservationism are best promoted through musical representations because the composer can display so much diversity within each piece which helps the audience visual natures true beauty.


Austyn Castelli September 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

1) I hear non-coercive portraits of wilderness in movements 2, 3, and 4. Movements 1 and 5 have more dominant portraits in them, they have a clearer scene behind them than the others. The one piece that comes to mind is “Peter and The Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev. My friend loves that song and it has always been a very vivid picture in my mind.
2)Toliver says “At the time Grand Canyon Suite was composed, the former generally meant using resources sparingly (as in “conserving resources”), the latter, not using them at all (as in “preserving wilderness”).” I think that what is meant by this is that the music spreads the word of a place that needs preservation. We know that Grofe was an advocate of preservation of the Grand Canyon, but I do not think that music alone can ever lead to the preservation of a place. It takes people who are willing to hear the message and act on it, without that the music is powerless.


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