Sometimes I like to pose little compositional questions to myself, while I write. How slowly can a line fall? How quietly can a certain instrument play? My string quartet 'almost all the time' began with a similar question. Can you build a piece of music the way a person is built? In other words, can a piece begin as identical little microscopic cells that then differentiate into other functions across time? For my piece the 'cell' would be a little 10 note strand of musical DNA, and no matter how the functions changed or how the individual parts separated, the core of each musical gesture would be the little 10 note strand. For this to work the way it works in a person, the DNA would have to present in every gesture, in every phrase, in every instrument, all the time. To make it musical I ended up cheating a little bit, so I called it 'almost all the time.'