Bo Kim – Final Project

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Based on my previous project for Generative landscape, I created a more complex music score generator. I researched further on the history of graphical notation, and the various experiments of contemporary musicians that suggest new perspective on sound representation in modern music.

Brief explanation on graphical scores:
Traditional classical music is restricted to use the globally accepted musical notation. The performer has to be fluent and apt to this language in order to successfully perform the music as the composer intended. The fascinating part about graphical score is that it no longer constrains the ability of notation as a representation of a particular pitch, rhythm and instrument.Many contemporary musicians therefore do not bind themselves from composing and writing music in traditional forms. Non-conventional environments provoke more innovative and even radical sounds. The performer has greater power over the piece when specific guidelines no longer exist and intuition and impression step in.

Why does music have to be represented in even-sized ovals, #s, and <s? Why does the other side of the world have to follow European classical restrictions in order to compose and deliver sound that is universal? Does the complex musical language hinder amateurs ,non-professionals, people with disability from learning and exploring music anyhow? 

Inspired by this field of graphical notation in music, I decided to produce a generative music score of my own that enables the performer to interact, interpret and respond to the graphical elements presented. Instead of writing my own music I let the computer to improvise music under simple algorithms. The embedded video is an actual performance recorded, courtesy to Sean D. Kim who contributed as a guitar player. No specific guidelines was given about how read the scores. The generated score and the guitar performance were both “improvised”.

I hope this project inspires people to approach reading music differently and to even hear music in a different perspective.


Personal Sonata for Instrument X (ver.1)

Personal Sonata for Instrument X (ver. 2)


I personally prefer ver.2.
But they both turned out to be good study/sleeping music for me :)



Some of the references I used:

(Cool books that Golan kindly let me borrow):

Karkoschka, Erhard. Das Schriftbild der Neun Musik, 1966

Johnson, Roger. Scores: An Anthology of New Music, 1981

Musical Notation on Wikipedia  (Check out the history of musical notation in other cultures!)

Cage, John. Notations, Something Else Press. Inc.1969. 

Wehinger, Rainer. Artikulation, 1970.

Graphic Notation Project @ Pecha Kucha TLV

Stripsody by Cathy Berberian

Visualizing Music with p5.js by Jason Sigal


Bo Kim – Final Project


Bo Kim – Final Project Proposal

I have previously created for my generative landscape project, a generator that produces random(“improvised”) graphic notation of music that resembles John Cage’s music scores.

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I would like to develop this project further to a more complex and sophisticated musical notation generator. Based on the simple generator that I created before, the final project will consist graphic notations of greater variety and structure. I will research and reference other graphical notations other than John Cage.

I will collaborate this project with another music major student. The performer will have to intuitively respond and play the music produced on the screen and this performance will be recorded. Although it is me who provides the general framework of the program, it is solely the computer and program that composes the music. I’m excited to see the resulting interaction between the performer, the programmer, and the computer.

사진 Nov 23, 8 42 00 PM


Bo Kim – Looking Outwards 11


Colour Chaser by Yuri Suzuki (

Yuri Suzuki created a small device that detects and follows the drawn line. Whenever it crosses a color, it receives RGB data and translates it into sound. The project relates to my concept of music/sound responding to visual cues. I admire the playful potential of this project.

Nir Bitton, a graphic designer from Yale School of Art gives a short presentation on his graphic notation project. He composed music by using graphic notation that the player has to respond intuitively. The notations he created have caligraphic and abstract quality to it and to actually listen to the cello played as the music proceeds, enables the audience to develop a new perspective in reading music.

Nir Bitton’s another project that incorporates typography.

Both projects speculate how to visually represent sound and music. The process of evaluating visual elements are different but their attempt to relate sound with art that involves interaction are very inspiring.


Bo Kim – Looking Outwards 10

Bjork, an Icelandic artist, composer, musician, performer, released an interactive album “Biophilia”, the first digital application to join MoMA’s permanent collection. “Biophilia” is a hybrid software application that is downloadable via iOS and Android. The listeners are able to contribute to the songs by interacting with on-screen visuals. All of the album’s songs are available in the album as interactive experiences. Bjork attempts to broaden conventional interpretation of music through interactive technology.

Although Bjork originally started her career as a singer, she developed her interest in various fields including alternative dance, classical music, new media art, fashion, film and more. I admire her unconstrained exploration of the arts, collaborating with creators of various genre, achieving the title as a renaissance woman.

About Bjork’s exhibition at MoMA: (


Bo Kim – Looking Outwards – 08

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I found Aman’s review of Ryoji Ikeda particularly inspiring. He is a Japanese sound artist who uses various types of sounds and noises to create generative sound compositions. The minimalist graphics create stunning environment for the audience, providing a wholistic and  sensational experience to sound. Among other numerous generative and computational works that deal with sound, Ikeda’s works stand out with their immense and solid quality. They visually resemble of the Matrix or the bold drawings of Richard Serra while the high frequency sound compositions are produced with extreme delicacy. I’m jealous of Aman who was actually able to visit Supersymmetry in person.


Yoon & Bo Kim – Project 08 – Computational Portrait


Yoon and I collaborated on this project. We programmed the code together and our main concept was to reconstruct images through lines that “grow naturally”.

When the user clicks anywhere on the image, random number of lines are created and extended from where the mouse was clicked. The user is able to reveal clearer pixels of the image by the lines that are drawn.

The code that we used on our projects is the same but we incorporated and interpreted the code in different ways and used our own personal images. I used a photograph of my parents when they were my age. The photograph reminded me of the youth that I my parents once pursued. I first thought about blending two different images together (such as my own and my parents) but decided to rather take this project as a personal reflection of my parents’ “growth”. This project is a fragment of my family’s computational album, a journey of nostalgia that I didn’t experience but able to relate to.

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Looking Outwards – 07

Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat are artists who worked on the project called “We Can Dance”. They created a collaboration called Daily Tous Les Jours in 2010, which is a design studio with a focus on participation. ( Their works consist of various interactive installations that require public participation. This engagement is vital in completing their work.

Their lecture not only discusses about their general body of works but more specifically about works that involve choreography, an experimental interpretation on dance. Their goal is to create works that impact urban areas through artistic renovation. By installing projects in tiny cities and mundane places, they provide an energy and novel vibe to the scene. They seek for design opportunities in public locations and attempt to “re-enchant” everyday life.

Mouna and Melissa both speak during the lecture, each going back and forth narrating their artistic approaches. In between their speeches they show short clips of their works to provide the sense of their works to the audience.


Bo Kim – Project – 06 – Generative landscape


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John Cage, who was a musician and an artist well known of his conceptual compositions, created beautiful graphic scores that surpassed the traditional approach to sound and music. (great database about his works:

Cornelius Cardew said “that notation was a means of making people move, and by that definition, almost any image can be used to making music”

I wanted to interpret landscape in a musical perspective and connect the concept of random in programming with the concept of improvisation in music. My project is about ever-changing music “passing by”

As a homage to Cage’s works and referencing from his publication Notations (1969). I programmed a generator that produces “improvised” music score in Cage’s musical syntax. (John Cage Notations: