Passages is a three movement work for String Quartet that was conceived as an exploration of major and minor seconds as the seminal material for an entire composition. The first movement primarily utilizes the major second interval not only through the use of secundal harmony, but also the melodic and harmonic emphasis on the two whole tone scales. The interval of a major third plays an important role as it is created through the combination of two major seconds and likewise the augmented triad with its combination of two major thirds. The importance of the secundal accompaniment is highlighted by presenting the major third intervals only in broken form while the major second is used harmonically.
The second movement utilizes both the major and minor second intervals and their inversions, the minor and major sevenths. As notes are slowly combined the major and minor seconds create major and minor thirds and when the intervals are inverted, ninth chords are created through the pairing of two sevenths. These ninth chords move primarily homophonically as they present a haunting melody and its accompaniment.
The final movement is a set of energetic variations based on the harmonic progressions created by root movement of either a major or minor second. Major and minor triads are juxtaposed in a non-functional manner producing ascending or descending patterns. The melody is then free to explore the chromatic possibilities presented by the triads and this provides ample impetus for motivic variation.
Complementing the harmonic and melodic language through the work is the utilization of additive and traditional rhythmic presentations. In the construction of both melody and accompaniment, rhythmic alternations of two, three, or four beat groupings provide the motivation for musical expression.
Instrumentation: String Quartet
Duration: 17 minutes