Resolutions (2001) for eight musicians


Bb clarinet (doubling bass clarinet)

alto sax (doubling tenor sax)



double bass (requires low C extension)


percussion (vibraphone, marimba, suspended cymbal, snare drum)

Duration: 11-12 minutes


The repetitive, sectional structure of Resolutions is based on the Thue-Morse sequence, a self-similar infinite sequence of positive integers. The sequence is invariant under scaling by powers of two; in other words, if you take every other element of the sequence to form a new sequence, that new sequence is identical to the original. This piece uses the first thirty-two elements of the sequence, mapping each integer to a unique thematic, textural, or harmonic gesture. These gestures are varied as they are repeated.

I used the sequence to create a musical world in which forward motion is constantly at odds with recurrence, making the music seem simultaneously tense and static. I also wanted to create a musical work whose durational scale was unsettlingly ambiguous; the length of this piece could easily be twice — or half — as long, with only minimal structural adjustment. In fact, the piece does not really end at all; it simply stops on the verge of another iteration of the structural process.

Performance History