Jack Reilly says that the work is both influenced by the sixteenth century modal works of the polyphonist masters (Palestrina, Byrd, Frescobaldi, etc.), and the oeuvre of the Impressionist composers (Debussy and Ravel).
The work is built over four modes: Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Aeolian; and is notable for lacking dominant-like seventh chords, thus only using major and minor chords and their extensions (thus employing many added 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths). According to Reilly, these two factors give the work a modal and impressionistic flavor.
- Reilly 1992, p. 16.