Music for Pieces of Wood grows out of the same roots as Clapping Music: a desire to make music with the simplest possible instruments. The claves, or cylindrical pieces of hard wood, used here were selected for their particular pitches (A, B, C#, D#, and D# an octave above), and for their resonant timbre. This piece is one of the loudest I have ever composed, but uses no amplification whatsoever.
The rhythmic structure is based entirely on the process of rhythmic “buildups” or the substitution of beats for rests, and is in three sections of decreasing pattern length: 6/4, 4/4, 3/4. -Steve Reich