Ritual Protocol was composed for Makoto Nakura, after study of ritual music in various cultures. The work relies upon an evocative, darkly-hued, three-chord progression pervasive throughout all three movements which, through its many repetitions, is intended to bring to mind the solemn and entirely focused behavior characteristic of those involved in many rituals I studied. The marimba and piano are often combined to create the illusion of a single, large keyboard instrument with the timbral possibilities of both instruments. In spite of the dramatic moments within, each movement begins and ends quietly. This suggests the gradual crescendo into ritual frenzy and the subsequent relaxing of tension and energy. It is also my method of imposing symmetry and clarity to the formal design of the entire work.