My Song was an inspiration of two folds: first, Peter Serkin's musicality and virtuosity, and second, my attachment to Chinese folk music. The phonetic pronunciation of "My Song" (m'ai-sang) in Chinese can coincidentally be translated as "pulsating voices." And my :m'ai-song" (pulsating voices) is the folk music and dance of my native land.
The prelude-like first movement, in folklore style, is constructed through the development of heterophony, a typical device in Asian music. A humoristic and joyful folk song from Se-Tsuan inspired the second movement. The third movement is a savage dance in which the melody grows through a series of "Chinese sequences." This is a term of my own invention that describes a type of melodic development in Chinese instrumental music in which each repetition of the initial motive increases the number of notes, duration, and tessitura. The last movement evokes a lonely nostalgia.
My Song was commission and premiere by Peter Serkin on November 11, 1989 at the 92nd Street Y in the NYC.