string quartet (2009)


The composition is based upon the sequence of pitches C-A-F-C-A-D-E. The selection of “F” as a substitute for “S” was inspired by sound holes (a.k.a. “F-holes”) on string instruments appearing as an “S” because of differences between lettering practices between earlier eras and today.

The opening phrases of each instrument present the pitch sequence C-A-F-C-A-D-E, and the motive recurs throughout the composition as a unifying device.

Conceptually, the composition is inspired by the definition of “cascade” (from

Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Italian cascata, from cascare, to fall, from Vulgar Latin casicare, from Latin casus, fall
Date: 1641
1: a steep usually small fall of water; especially : one of a series
2 a: something arranged or occurring in a series or in a succession of stages so that each stage derives from or acts upon the product of the preceding b: a fall of material (as lace) that hangs in a zigzag line
3: something falling or rushing forth in quantity

The definition of “cascade” is manifest in a variety of ways:
• In a general sense, the work is inspired by the shape and sound of waterfalls: peaceful river, rushing river, precipice, crashing water, mist, return to calm.
• The descending presentation of the C-A-F-C-A-D-E pitch series is a cascade.
• The initial entrance order of the instruments from high to low is a cascade.
• Series, repetition, succession, acceleration and accumulation… all derived from the definition of “cascade”… are integral to the composition.