In addition to the basic base pairs, she explains, "I assigned pitches for the amino acids," which are manufactured once HIV enters a human cell. She ordered the 20 directly encoded amino acids based on their affinity for water (with arginine as the most hydrophilic and isoleucine the most hydrophobic) and gave them notes on the A minor scale based on this property. In the piece, Pajak occasionally layers amino acid and nucleotide phrases with different instruments to create musical interest, although she has kept the sequence of the notes true to the genome.
Pajak decided to compose the piece in a minor scale to acknowledge the profound sadness the virus causes. Her past DNA-based pieces include a profile of the West Nile virus. She became curious about the HIV genome, especially when its complete structure was sequenced to single-nucleotide resolution in 2009, and decided to explore it "just for myself to see what it would sound like."