Step 1: Choose a favorite single sentence. The sentence should be from prose or poetry, but not a song lyric.
Step 2: Say the sentence out loud, slowly, several times in a row. Consider its shape, its tone, its cadence, and its content, and how these connect with each other.
Step 3: In some way that you can understand, map the exploration of the sentence from Step 2.
Step 4: Compose a piece of music that follows the map from Step 3. Note that the finished piece shouldn’t (or better yet: needn’t) include the spoken sentence (that is, it’s best if it’s purely instrumental), and it might last much longer than the sentence would take to say out loud.
Broken Is The Golden Bowl used the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe in his poem, Lenore.
Ah, broken is the golden bowl!
The spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll! — A saintly soul
Glides down the Stygian river!
Broken Is The Golden Bowl was written for Clarinet, Trombone, Violin, Viola, Cello and String Bass.