The string quartet Ph(r)asen was composed in 2007 to a commission from the Merel Quartet. It is dedicated to Princess Melinda Esterházy de Galántha and to the musicians Mary Ellen Woodside, Meesun Hong, Alexander Besa and Rafael Rosenfeld, who gave its first performance on 13/14 November 2007 at the EuroArt Festival in Prague. Ph(r)asen was awarded second prize at the International Witold Lutoslawski Composition Competition in 2007. In the string quartet Ph(r)asen, I engage with different meanings of 'phase' and 'phrase'. The common or garden meaning of 'phase' is simply a finite space of time, whereas in physics it signifies one stage of a steadily flowing development or of a process in time. The theory of oscillations utilizes the concept for the momentary state of an oscillatory system, while astronomy employs it for the changing amount of light reflected from a heavenly object that itself emits no light, those changes occurring on account of its varying positions with regard to the earth and the sun (as in the phases of the moon). In my composition, phase shifts and the superimposition of different layers are of particular interest. This results in the musicians having to abandon the coordination of left and right hand that they have trained for so long, in order to allow them autonomy instead (this is especially the case in the third movement). A 'phrase' in music is a unit of meaning comprising several individual notes or motives. In linguistics, it is a part of a sentence, being made up of words that together form a unit. In my three-movement string quartet (1: 'In a dream'; 2: 'Restless'; 3: 'Silhouette'), I endeavour to do justice to this multiplicity of meanings.