for violin and marimba (Four-mallets)

Written: 1998/2018
Duration: 8'00"
Instrumentation: violin and 4 1/3 octave marimba (six mallets)
Written for the Paterson Duo
Premiere (Six-Mallet Version): Cornell Contemporary Chamber Players, Cornell University, Barnes Hall, Ithaca, NY, Fall, 1998.
PublisherBill Holab Music

View ScoreBuy Sheet Music | Buy Audio (six-mallet)

A version for marimba played with six-mallets is also available.


An experience that fascinates me is watching my wife Victoria braid her hair. Braids draws its inspiration from watching her create elegant, masterful braids, with names such as French Twist, Back Twist, Flip Through, Victorian Twist, Rolled Braid, French Braid, Rope and Herringbone. The names of these various braids inspired me to invent interesting musical analogues and ultimately to create this piece.

The book I consulted while writing this piece is Hair: A Book of Braiding and Styles by Anne Akers Johnson.

Press Quotes

Mr. Paterson’s works are notoriously whimsical... Watching his wife braid her hair, he was moved to compose a work for marimba, his instrument. and violin, hers. The seven-minute work did not literally portray the braids Victoria turned around to display on the back of her blonde hair when they took their bows, but it is clear the composer has delightful musical patterns in his grasp.
— Mark Greenfest, New Music Connoisseur
...each section of the one-movement piece could be heard to represent a different kind of braid. the audience agreed; it was met with great reception.
— Kristen Lamore, Society for New Music, Society News