String Quartet #1


Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
5 minutes
Modern classical music
String quartet
Instrumental parts

This is a short five movement piece for string quartet. Each movement is only about one minute each. And each movement is one line of a tanka that I wrote about Snow (Yuki). I wrote the second movement first and all of the material in the other four movements appears in or is derived from the second movement. Given this, one can think of the first movement as a prelude with the second movement being the main movement. The fifth movement re-states the main motifs of the first four movements, combining them into one large polyphonic mass.

Unable to sleep I listen throughout the night to the silent song of falling snow in my yard. With the soft dawn, satori.

  • The first movement is built around the pentatonic scale F# G B C# D. (The Japanese Hirajoshi Scale; 平調�� )
  • The second movement is built around the pentatonic scale C# D F# G# A.
  • The third movement is built around the pentatonic scale D Eb G A Bb.
  • The fourth movement is built around the pentatonic scale C Dd F G Ab, but does not strictly adhere to the scale in places.
  • The fifth movement is built around the pentatonic scale C# D F# G# A, but does not strictly adhere to the scale in places

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