M. is a 10-minute work for solo violinist and tape that was created for and in collaboration with the violinist Miranda Cuckson (link). Each of M.’s three movements is based on a different popular song.

Throughout the piece, the relationship between the music I composed and the source melodies changes and evolves. At times the source melody is heard so clearly that if you knew the song you could hum along. At other times, the source melody is so heavily ornamented and decorated that it would be impossible to discern without detailed analysis. Occasionally, the violin plays a counter melody meant to imply the original, and there are some moments in which the violin composition has nothing at all to do with the original.

The accompanying tape parts appear suddenly and intermittently, juxtaposing the original recordings with outlandish elaborations of electronic bass and snare. In this way, the piece pits the nostalgic, historical feel of the original recordings with the hyper modern currency of contemporary pop and hip hop.

By blending commonly known and tangible elements, such as the source melodies, or the idioms of the electronic bass and snare, with avant garde experimental composition, the piece intends to create a musical world where each moment feels graspable, but still just beyond reach.

Included below is a link to the score and a recording of Miranda’s premiere performance.