Lotus on Dense Orbit
for piano and computer-generated sound (2011)

ca. 13 min.
(The recording includes only the first half of music.)

Brendan White, piano
Ciminelli Hall, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, US, Oct 2011

CSound, Score11, Logic, and PureData

Program notes
Lotus on Dense Orbit for piano and computer-generated sound was composed during the spring of 2012. The music mainly depicts the image of lotus under the moonlight on the rippling water. To describe the myriad undulating waves and reflected/refracted lights, I adopted Chaos and Fractal theory to create various series of numbers which make the multiple periods of repeating cycles; these are called as attracting periodic fixed points.

In the piece, there is no distinction between the lotus, moonlight, and water-waves, as in Buddhism, which is called nondualism. They are all sounds and lights based on the same material, which is the overtone series from the progression of fundamentals: A-C-D-E, from which I depicted the image of emerging lotus from the waves of light and water. At the second half of the piece (which is not recorded here), the lotus suddenly breaks up into the infinite number of particles of lights scattered into the air, and then submerged into the waves of time and light.

Original handwritten score

Contratactus in Stile Francese (2018)for Baroque Trio Sonata with or without electronic (Recorder, Violin, Viola da Gamba, Harpsichord)

Duration: ca. 7.5 minutes

A Baroque quartet from Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
Eero Saunamäki, alto recorder
Jukka Rantamäki, violin
Jukka Rautasalo, violoncello
Jouko Laivuori, harpsichord
Sävellyspaja 2018, Sävellyskurssi Composition Masterclass
Pikkukirkko/Lilla kyrkan/The Little Church, Porvoo, Finland
Friday, June 29, 2018

Program notes
As Jukka Tiensuu pointed out in his article, "THE FUTURE OF MUSIC," it would be quite impossible to capture the implications of musical artwork in descriptive words. Here I will briefly explain the major ideas and musical materials I dealt with while composing the piece, but note that these elements are intricately intertwined with other resources which are not described here: from the explored / emerged yet unexplored ideas from my previous pieces, to a bird-song which I heard while walking in dusk during a transient season between the winter and spring (the piece was finished in mid-April.)

When I was asked to write a piece for a Baroque Trio (Sonata), the main idea came up instantly was the exquisite treatments of ornaments that were prevalent in Baroque music, especially the virtuosic playful game of lines; the crystallization of lines which only could be achieved by constantly teasing the time in music. Hudson's book, "Stolen Time: The History of Tempo Rubato" provided me a very detailed analysis on this fascinating topic, and some of the treatise really attracted my interests. These include “cascata”, “temps d'arrêt”, “anticipation and retardation”, and “fioritura.” All of these were techniques or skills with which Baroque musicians tantalized, charmed, and played with the time. I assembled these techniques, and normalized, modernized, personalized, and then deployed them in the piece.

Harmony is always the soul of my piece. For this piece I created a new tuning system and musical framework in which the melo-harmonic scales and formal structure are not based on the integer ratios of wavelength (string length), but based on the diameter ratios of a string. In this domain the inharmonic factor created by each string is different from the “real world”, so the timbre created by these strings is very unique and dissonant, but still rich and fully radiant. This harmonic “field” is rigorously generated from acoustical formulae, therefore the title “in Stile Francese” was appended to commemorate the scintillating French musical style of late 20st century.

Contratactus in Stile Francese is written for Sävellyspaja 2018 to be premiered by the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra.


On a Winter’s Night a Traveller, The Deeply Learned Clavier (2022–23), work-in-progress
for Solo Piano
피아노를 위한, “겨울 밤의 여행자에 대하여"

Duration: ca. 25 minutes

Program notes
As you can see here on my website, I recently replaced many images on my homepage with artificially synthesized images created by a Deep Learning application. Almost about a half of images that you see here are generated by the “discord.” The speed of development of AI and Deep Learning algorithms are truly remarkable, and the artists of the 21st century may have to compete with AI machines. Rather than compete with the technology, I decided to accept machines as my creative partners.

In 2022, I embarked on a new chapter of my research on Computer Music, in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. I began attending the MIT OCW’s Deep Learning course, as I did in 2010 to study differential equations which significantly contributed to my DMA research. For this, I began studying and analyzing Python and Keras programming languages and codes on the Google Colab platform to implement my own Deep Learning model. For about two months, I played with the code and could make the computer learn about 110 piano pieces written by Mozart. Then, after between one and six hours of each learning process (ca. 20-200 epochs in deep learning), the computer wrote a new piano work within its understanding of the music of Mozart. In other words, the computer wrote a pastiche piece in the style of Mozart, or even tried to counterfeit the works by Mozart.

Deep Learning generated Output 020, sequence size 25, temperature 2, 74 epochs of learning

Deep Learning generated Output 062-2, 109 learned works, sequence size 256, weight: 0.085, learning rate: 0.001, optimization: RMSProp, 200 epochs of learning, temperature 3.7

Deep Learning generated Output 063-6, 109 learned works, sequence size 256, weight: 0.085, learning rate: 0.001, optimization: RMSProp, 30 epochs of learning, temperature 3.9, seed piece: Fantasy in c minor KV366

Original handwritten score of On a Winter’s Night a Traveller, The Deeply Learned Clavier

Because of the limit of my access to the Google Colab platform, I couldn’t spend enough time on the deep-learning process of more than six hours for each output, and also the number of model data-works was not enough to generate a real Mozart-like piano work, e.g., having an Alberti bassline or crisp and concise phrase models which we can easily find in his oeuvre. However, those outputs/works generated by the computer implied various interesting features that we can often find in the tonal music repertoires, including ambiguous tonalities (in-between different keys), diatonic scales, repetitions, chords and arpeggios, oftentimes realized in awkward, crude and rudimentary, anti-contrapuntal and artificial, or even distorted and mechanic ways.

For about a month I listened to the outputs generated by the computer, and began tracing the trajectories of the computer’s thoughts. I was almost an archeologist who discovered a pile of unfinished, improvisatory, spurious sketches written by an unknown composer or had been misattributed to Mozart(‘s virtual clumsy pupil, if more accurately described.) During the discovery process, I tried to reveal the computer’s intentions, develop his/her imagination, and transformed it into my own artwork.

This project is currently a work-in-progress. Although I tried to complete it by January 2023, because of my other workload, I hope to finish the piece by the Spring or Summer of 2023. It is commissioned by the Boston-based pianist Ariel Mo, who beautifully world-premiered my Le Tombeau de Harvey in January 2022.

Random Dance (2015)
for Computer Generated Sound

Random Dance for Computer Generated Sound (output 001)

Random Dance for Computer Generated Sound (output 002)

Sequence 1: init.
Sequence 2: Polyphony
Sequence 3: Rhythm
Sequence 4: Chord
Sequence 5: Chord Random Walk
Sequence 6: Root Random Walk
Sequence 7: Granular Synthesis
Sequence 8: Ring Modulation
Sequence 9: RM with Random Walk with random gap
Sequence 10: Final total Random Walk!

Random Dance is an (microtonal) algorithmic composition played by a computer with an ideal imaginary piano which plays frequencies, not the tuned pitches.
Inspired by the molecular Brownian motion and also by adopting the random-walk algorithm in mathematics to the SuperCollider code directly, the computer generates different shapes, colors, and movements of frequency particles each time it is played, which reminds me of dancing gaseous molecules or crazy stars. Here I upload five of those, and it is made up with 10 movements, or named as “sequences” in the original code. This is a mono version.

Time Tree Sketch (2016–), work-in-progress
Thirteen Algorithmic Trees / for Sound Installation

In 2016, I wrote Goethe’s Garden for two pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart, by using a recursive fractal algorithm:

“ In my piece I have rendered the image of this primordial tree as the overtone series: not as a simple ascending integer series, but rather as a 2nd dimensional tree-type data structure: each of its inner nodes has its own overtone sub-branches.
This structural foundation of musical materials led me to try to portray trees “graphically” as well. To render the infinite variations of tree forms and physiognomies, I adopted Barnsley’s Fern model, which uses a transformation matrix with probability variables, in a mathematical formula of self-similarity: Iterated Function System (IFS.)”

The spatial geographical data generated by Barnsley’s algorithm is mapped onto the frequency domain, and sonified by reinterpreting the process of iteration as sonic events happening in different time-points. Through the sonification process, I generated more than a hundred versions of Barnsley’s ferns, and chose several outputs and refined, revised, and notated them onto the paper.

For Time Tree Sketch, I will use the other tree data that was not used in Goethe’s Garden, and will develop the recursive algorithm in harmonic and rhythmic directions in a deeper level to transform the shapes and colors of trees more dramatically and ecologically. The computer will infinitely create ever-changing sonified images of different trees (as Goethe dreamed), now without the limit of tunings, instruments, and time.

Here I upload three data sonification results that I generated for Goethe’s Garden.

Tree 57

init dur =  30 / max frequency =  4246.89 / dist factor =  1 / fund frequency =  28.5851 / max depth =  10 / each repeat =  3 / left leaf ratio =  1.3333333333333 / right leaf ratio =  1.1666666666667 / each repeat decrement =  -0.25 / duration decrement =  0
Frequencies (first three lines): 28.59 57.17 57.17 85.76 171.51 85.76 114.34 38.11 171.51 343.02 343.02 686.04 128.63 686.04 514.53 1372.08 1372.08 257.27 114.34 47.64 514.53 686.04 192.95 1029.06 214.39 2058.13 1372.08 257.27 686.04 1029.06 1543.6 1372.08 2058.13 257.27 1029.06 289.42 428.78 2058.13 428.78 2744.17 3087.19 343.02 228.68 95.28 385.9 2058.13 1543.6 343.02 2058.13 1286.33 1372.08 2058.13 257.27 4116.25 321.58

Tree 64

init dur =  30 / max frequency =  4246.89 / dist factor =  1 / fund frequency =  65.4064 / max depth =  10 / each repeat =  3 / left leaf ratio =  1.2083333333333 / right leaf ratio =  1.4375 / each repeat decrement =  -0.3 / duration decrement =  0.1
Frequencies (first three lines): 65.41 130.81 130.81 261.63 94.02 261.63 392.44 196.22 261.63 523.25 523.25 188.04 1046.5 196.22 1046.5 523.25 1308.13 523.25 2093 392.44 784.88 1569.75 392.44 188.04 117.53 1635.16 2616.26 392.44 1046.5 1569.75 1046.5 1046.5 3270.32 245.27 2093 327.03 3924.38 282.07 588.66 2093 3139.51 261.63

Tree 95

init dur =  30 / max frequency =  4246.89 / dist factor =  1.1818181818182 / fund frequency =  32.7032 / max depth =  12 / each repeat =  3 / left leaf ratio =  1.5454545454545 / right leaf ratio =  1.2222222222222 / each repeat decrement =  -0.3 / duration decrement =  0.2
Frequencies (first three lines): 61.66 139.87 139.87 317.32 317.32 103.13 512.39 225.86 317.32 413.07 719.88 182.08 937.11 937.11 233.97 413.07 719.88 2125.94 2125.94 182.08 1162.43 667.01 413.07 3432.88 413.07 4822.96 937.11 1513.2 937.11 1077.06 233.97 1513.2 5543.28 667.01 233.97 937.11 413.07 3432.88 2125.94 937.11


Lethe (2016) – A Musique concrète work, 2 channel fixed media
(for demonstration purposes only)

Pro tools with GRM tools plugin

ART POP (NON-CLASSICAL, DEMO), released under the name of dow_chic / ㄷㅏㅇㅜ시ㄱ

Before my formal musical training in the US, I wrote music with the computer (DAWs and sequencers) at my home studio. These demo tracks are the swan songs of my popular music period, which are inspired by pop and visual arts, especially works by Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Jean Dubuffet. In 2008, I made a series of pop-art/electronica/the Prodigy-inspired techno/big beat stereo fixed media tunes (or you can simply call these “tracks”), which I called "Art-Pop," and here I upload some of those.

I used Steinberg’s Cubase, Nuendo, and various VSTi plug-ins including Kontakt with commercial loop samples for these singles.

Savage Protocol (2008), 2 channel fixed media
The sample voices are from Spike Lee’s film, Do the right thing (1989), and the main theme is from Shostakovich 5.

Invincible Sailor aTTack!!! Allegro (2008), 2 channel fixed media
Sound samples from the well-known japanimation, Sailor Moon (セーラームーン, Sērā Mūn, 세라 문, AKA Usagi Tsukino—月野 うさぎ, Tsukino Usagi).

HAL 9000 (2008), 2 channel fixed media
Sound samples from the AI spacecraft machine, HAL 9000, from Stanley Kubrick's film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Semaphore Talking (2008), 2 channel fixed media
Sound samples from Ligeti’s Artikulation (1958)

Semaphore Talking 2, “Anti-pig Movement” (2008), 2 channel fixed media
Sound samples from Ligeti’s Artikulation (1958)
Image credit: Spirited Away

Now I see some inferior parts to be edited or revised (e.g., the middle atonal piano solo section), but more like the crude vitality and rawness of the piece, so decided to upload it here. This track was largely improvised on the keyboard, and took about three days for me to complete.

DPRK (2008), 2 channel fixed media

Popular Music Demo Track (Before 2008) - From my rock bands, single tracks as a singer songwriter, and freely composed film and game music

This is a demo track that I made with my old popular songs and music, which I wrote before beginning my classical music study in 2008. These include my solo single album songs, songs that I wrote for my band, CARTESS (1998-2000) and Nonself Formula (2000-2002), and film and game music that were made either for specific projects or freely composed. All songs are written by Dongryul Lee, all rights reserved.

Roland Tr-rack, Roland SoundCanvas 88-pro, Cubase, Nuendo, Shure SM58 mic, Giga-piano, BOSS multi-distortion pedals, Kontakt, Reason, many other VSTis

Copyright © 2022 by Dongryul Lee All Rights Reserved.