The small shifts in the timing of the instruments in relation to each other, the repetitions, only slowly morphing themselves through small shifts in accent into a new pattern, give the piece its truly beautiful, process-like character. The connection between content and form of the piece that has already been shown and the integration into the further space illustrate the fractal character of the piece as well. It is important for the understanding of the composition, to keep in mind that it fundamentally forgoes using an external conductor. Instead, the conductor is replaced by signals among the musicians themselves. Different variables in this network such as, for example, the breath capacity of the musicians determine the exact course of the process. Therefore, the piece can develop slightly differently each performance or with each new musician.
«The musicians inhale deeply and repeat certain notes as long as the breath carries them comfortably. Breath determines the length of the phrases.»
«And you say: How do I know exactly when to change (the chord)? And the answer is: It doesn’t matter. Because the notes in the chord that you are playing now and the notes in the chord that you are going to play are constant, they go together, they will fit, it will work. And this little overlap is really kind of nice.»
– Steve Reich
Based on the clear tonal centre of the base key A major, thirteen smaller parts with the duration of a few minutes titled sections 1-11 form, which are framed in the beginning and end by the pulses 1 and 2. Section 3 is again partitioned in section 3A and section 3B. Between the pulses and sections there is no pause, the transitions are seamless. The basic structure is made up by eleven chords that in the order ABCDCBA all sound in the pulses and form a prologue and an epilogue. In each section one of these chords is picked out and its triad a small piece is built. Therefore, almost all of these sections consist of the same sounds, but in a different order. Predominantly the notes A, B (in German notation: H), D, E and also C, F and G are used. The notes always vary only slightly what allows the morphing of their structural form into another and back again. The shape of the triad is looked at in the context of the bar and the shape of the bar structure within a repetition. These repetitions as the content of a segment and the distinct but similar sections within the whole piece, they all are akin to themselves. The form of the triads gradually mutates (with the bass clarinet or the vibraphone as indicator for the change) from one chord to the next and thus from section to section.
Also, the rhythm of the single parts of the pulse is always treated slightly differently. The instruments for the same lead melody are changed or the vocals start to mimic instruments and slowly replace them. Everything is in transition and mutates through iteration and thus from few pieces a complex pattern is generated.