The form of Tragedy no. 2 was largely inspired by the instrumentation. Containing one of each orchestral instrument, this common contemporary ensemble maximizes variety of sound, but in doing so poses difficult issues of balance between its members. Historically, the strings have most often suffered from this imbalance, often being overpowered by the louder winds, brass, and percussion. In this piece, the string quartet attempts to correct this disparity. From their first entrance, they sway the trajectory of the piece, playing continuously and cycling through many intense, virtuosic passages. These exertions culminate in an extended cadenza at the end of the first movement. For the second movement, the string quartet suddenly stops playing. The rest of the instruments finish the piece as the quartet sits like furniture at the front of the stage. Perhaps their efforts were wasted.