Playing Fields: A piece for orchestra in four movements

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

First Committee Member

Dennis Kam - Committee Chair


Playing Fields is a four-movement piece for orchestra, including saxophones, marimba, and piano. Each movement is a strikingly different portrayal of quartal harmonies, all grounded on a G, serving as a tonic, chord root, or pedal point. The two main movements, the first and the third, introduce static musical ideas (cross-fades, timbre, textures, melodies, rhythms) that are repetitive and slowly change throughout each movement, intending to give the listener the impression of stability undermined by a logical (yet unpredictable) organic development. To contrast these movements, the second and fourth movements are shorter, scored for soloists and chamber ensemble, and freely composed using canons and organum. An analysis of the formal proportions and complex developmental processes attempts to justify their utilization as both subservient and necessary to preserve the seemingly static and boldly simplistic slowly changing surface details of the music. Discussions of the origins of the titles and aesthetic goals reveal the composer searching for new methods to realize and express his intuitive musical ideas.



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