music for viola
music for viola was composed for the 40th birthday of Jason van Eyk. The music material of the piece is based on the encryption of the word 'music' as it written or spoken in the world's 100 most common languages, in order of popularity. The letters are encoded into musical tones, the harmonics of a partially retuned viola, and supported at times with quiet vocalisations.
The list of languages used in the piece are roughly based on Ethnologue's list which groups languages by their use and makes a distinction between dialects and fully differentiated languages. Various melodic strands are therefore heard in the piece which have to do with the recurrence of 'Sangita' (or variations of it) which occurs in the many Indian languages on the list, and the European 'Mus/Muz/Miz' stem, which occurs in about 40% of the most common languages. The idea behind presenting this concept is not so much about highlighting the so-called 'universality' of music transcending linguistic difference, but rather as a metaphor to how the meaning of music just like the meaning of the word 'music' is never constant but in constant fluctuation.