Roger Dean : selected compositions for improvisers

These are ‘referents’ (skeletal bases) for improvisation, 'comprovisations' in the US terminology. Some (such as #1-7) are within the jazz idiom, and use repetitive rhythmic and harmonic forms. Others, such as 8-14, are not specific to the jazz idiom, but provide detailed stimuli, such as defined motivic material, melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and otherwise, for group improvisation. Many, such as 15, 19 and others, suggest if not require that improvisers exploit idiomatic proficiency within jazz (or other genre), but then find new ways to break out of (lyse) those bounds, and yet be able to return within them cohesively. 21 is a series of process descriptions which imply musical, mutually interactive and structural processes which most improvisers find intriguing, perhaps perturbing, but usually stimulating. By the time of #53, I had begun to provide referents not only for musicians, but also for dancers, and for mutual interaction between sound, image, movement and other media; and to find new ways of articulating and stimulating these interactions. Later works, such as #58-61, exploit radio as a vehicle for such interactions between sound and verbal text, the latter used both as literary and sonic component. Subsequent works often develop the computer interactive large scale controlled and unpredictable processes, networked or otherwise.

All work available from Soma unless otherwise indicated. See relevant list of commercial releases.

#1. 1969/1a Unit A. Revised version renamed Red-Black LP#4
#2. 1969/1b Threely LP#3
#3. 1969/1c Threesome. (Initially called 'Unit B'). CD#1
#4. 1969/2 Wheeling. Written for Lysis and Ken Wheeler, premiered 1970 Cambridge, UK. LP#3
#5. 1970/21 A.S. Written for Lysis: a tribute to Alan Skidmore. Premiered 1970, Cambridge,UK.

Published score


#6. 1972/3 Peel LP#3
#7. 1973/1; 75/3 Electric Suite LP#3
#8. 1975/1 Quartet (for trumpet, piano, double bass and percussion) Manuscript score; LP#3
#9. 1975/2. Trio. Premiered 1975 London. LP#3
#10. 1975/4 Duo (for trumpet and piano) LP#3
#11. 1976/1 Cycle 1 (The Journey) for a slide mobile installation in collaboration with Pat Whiteread, premiered London 1976, and toured to regional art galleries. LP#4
#12. 1976/2 Solo : To Paul Bley. Additional version 1990 for trio of piano, double bass and percussion.

Printed score of 1990 version


#13. 1976/5 Cycles 2 (for 2 keyboards) LP#4
#14. 1976/6 Solo LP#4
#15. 1976/11 Quartet. For Ken Wheeler and Lysis. Premiered London 1976. LP#9; re-issued on CD#21
#16. 1979/1 Destructures 6. for solo trumpet, and large ensemble. Parts 1 and 2. Total duration : 33' 34". Recorded featuring Ken Wheeler, John Wallace, and Lysis, 1979. LP#9; re-issued on CD#21
#18. 1980/1a Autonomy 1. Rearranged 1990 for trio of contrabass, piano and percussion. Score
#19. 1980/1b,2,4-6 Suite: Time. A five part suite for jazz ensemble, exploiting an unusual range of rhythmic devices. Written for LYSIS and premiered by them on the South Bank London 1980.

Printed score of Part 2

Published score of Part 4

Recording of Part 3 on CD#1

#20. 1980/10-11. Autonomy 3 and 4.


Manuscript scores

Recording of Autonomy 3 on LP#10.

#21. 1980/12-15. Heteronomy 1-4. Process scores for improvisers. Premiered BBC Radio 3 1982.

Manuscript or printed scores

Brief recordings of #2 and #3 on CD#2

Full scale recordings of all on LP#10

#22. 1980/18 Even Sweet Time Varies. Premiered BBC Radio 3. Broadcast widely.

Printed score


#23. 1981/1 Piece A for Jazz Orchestra. Premiered Trinity College of Music, London, 1981, by the the incipient Loose Tubes Orchestra, RD directing. The piece was later renamed Loosely, as on its CD release.

Manuscript score. Released on CD#42 in 2012, in a performance recorded 2011, by the Kinetic Jazz ORchestra, with Roger Dean conducting.

#24. 1981/2 Study 1 for Jazz Orchestra. First performed by the incipient Loose Tubes ensemble, with the composer conducting. Manuscript score
#25. 1981/3 Study 2 for Jazz Orchestra. First performed by the Loose Tubes ensemble, with the composer conducting. Manuscript score

#26. 1981/1a The Debris of All Certainties. For violin, and two groups of improvising accompanists. First performed South Bank, London, 1981. First broadcast BBC Radio 3.

Manuscript score


#27-29. 1982/1 New Remembrances, a three part Suite: Falla and More; Remembrances 2; 1904. Premiered BBC Radios 1 and 2, 1982; Radio 3, 1983. Manuscript scores

#30. 1982/5 The Wings of the Whale. After Miroslav Holub, For quartet. Premiered Lysis, Radio 3 1982.


Manuscript and printed parts of score

Recording on CD#1

Recording of one section of the work also on CD#2

#31. 1982/8 A.A. For Arild Andersen: a jazz trio. Premiered Radio 3 UK 1983. Manuscript score
#32. 1983/1 Blues Multiple. For trumpet and piano. Written for John Wallace, and premiered by him with the composer 1983, UK. Performed Scandinavia, Asia, etc and broadcast on BBC-TV on Pebble Mill at One, as well as outside UK. 1990 broadcast on ABC nationally, in version for saxophone and piano. Recorded in version for clarinet and piano for Tall Poppies cd of Peter Jenkin.

Manuscript score


#33. 1983/1a Artforming for jazz orchestra. First performed by the Loose Tubes ensemble. Manuscript score
#34. 1985/2 You-Yangs : for improvising ensemble. After Fred Williams. Written after my first visit to Australia (1984) and premiered UK 1985. Broadcast UK and elsewhere. Original version for saxophones, piano, bass and drums. 1989 version for saxophones, piano and drums only.

Printed score


#35. 1986/1 Alela. For sequencer and ensemble. A permuted (allelic) rhythmic structure for improvisers. Premiered London 1986; first broadcast Hong Kong 1987.

Printed score


#36. 1986/2 Round Midday. For the Jazz Section, Czechoslovakia. Premiered BBC Radio 3 1986 by LYSIS. Manuscript score
#37. 1987/1 Djurdi-Djurda. Based on Aboriginal and Torres Island materials (from the Institute of Aboriginal Studies Recordings). Written for the ABC, and premiered by LYSIS in Sydney Opera House 1987 (ABC broadcast).

Printed score


#38.1987/2 Heteroduplex for two pianos. Commissioned by Radio New Zealand and the Arts Council of NZ, and premiered 1987 on Radio NZ by Roger Dean and Phil Broadhurst. Broadcast widely, later on ABC radio. Manuscript score
#39. 1987/3 Get 'In' Blues, for quartet and sequencer. Premiered BBC Radio 3.

Printed score


#40. 1987/4 The Horses. After the Norwegian artist and friend Frans Widerberg. Premiered Riverside Studios, London,1987. Not submitted
1989 15 works for austraLYSIS jazz/improvising repertoire(for Sandy Evans, Tony Buck and Roger Dean). Including 3 works for solo keyboard. All works premiered by austraLYSIS, 1989-90 in Sydney at the Edge, Newtown; the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in the 'Superimpositions' concert series; and some at the Strawberry Hills (for Sydney Improvised Music Association). Supported by the Australia Council. 10 works (both solo and ensemble) recorded for ABC 1990. These works included #41-3, 45-51 below.

Selected scores.

Recordings on CD#3

#41. 1989/2 Reins (for trio of saxophones, keyboards, and percussion/electronics) Score
#42. 1989/3 Take Five Again (for trio) Score
#43. 1989/4 Tones and Times (for trio, as above). Score
#44. 1989/5 Inventions and Rights, For Ten Part Invention (a ten piece jazz orchestra), Sydney. Score
#45. 1989/5a Seven is Even, for percussion solo. Revised 1991. Premiered 1991, by Daryl Pratt. Score.
#46. 1989/6 DyePulse for trio.



#47. 1989/7 Pinnacles. For trio. After the area in Western Australia of the same name.



#48. 1989/8 Reel Choice; for three improvisers.

Published Score (in Compositions for Improvisers, ed. Jeff Pressing, La Trobe University Press, 1994)


#49. 1989/9 Drums are....... A percussion feature for Tony Buck, and two other improvisers.



#50. 1989/11 Hardly Moving, for trio.



#51. 1990/1a Harry's Tune, for solo piano or trio. 'Townships' music, for Harry Miller. Premiered by Roger Dean (piano), ABC radio 1990.



#52. 1990/4 352 Sound Engines, for 2 pianos. Premiered ABC Radio, Random Round 1991, by Roger Dean and Chris Abrahams. Score
#53. 1991/1 TimeDances, a music/dance work. Premiered at The Edge, May 1991 by austraLYSIS and Kinetic Energy. Commissioned by Kinetic Energy with the aid of funds from the Australia Council. Score
#54. 1991/2 TimeDancesPeace, a music/dance work for austraLYSIS and Kinetic Energy. Premiered by austraLYSIS and Kinetic Energy, May 1991, and commissioned as above.


Video tape of performance

#55. 1991/3 Not Defying Gravity: Wimmera II. Commissioned by Kinetic Energy, with funds from the Australia Council. Based on a painting of Michael Johnson. Premiered austraLYSIS at The Edge, Sydney, 1991. The percussion part of this piece exists separately as #45. Score
#57 (1995) Petallica 1 (for 3 improvisers) Score

#58 (1995) Hybrid Vigour (for improvisers).

1. Pulsing Crossovers

2. Pitch Crossing

3. Cross-mutating

#59 (1995) Micronesia's Choice. Commissioned by Micronesia; for ten improvisers. Score
#60 (1996) Computer-interactive comprovisations for the austraLYSIS Electroband, written in MAX.

CR#24. Sloping is available on the Mikropolyphonie site as Real Audio, and with a MAX score.

#61 (1996) Postmetrical Modulism, an MAX score for digital instrument and computer-player. MAX algorithm
#62 (1996) Impacted Spaces, for percussion (4 players). Commissioned by B'Tutta. Score
#63 (1997) Flying High, a setting of a text by Komunyakaa, commissioned by Pamela Knowles; for jazz vocalist and ensemble. Score
#64 (1997) Flying, for brass quintet. A relative of #70, commissioned by Chaconne Brass (UK), for cd recording and premier performance Conway Hall, London, 1998 Score
#65 (1998) Intertwingling, an interactive hypertext performance piece, by Hazel Smith and Roger Dean, with improvised sound by the austraLYSIS Electroband Available on the web, at Overland Express (Australia). 2001 : available also at How2 (US)
#66 (2000) Interactive MAX works including, The Cart, The Gate, The Egg, and The Horse; Where; ReSampled; Where Ever?; Recorded Shape; Lucent Harmonic; Mousse; MSP (more sensory perception); ReSiling Harmonies; The Engine. MAX patches for improvisers. Recorded 2000.01.30 for release on Future Music Records (FMR, UK) on "Lysis Lives: Resounding in the Mirror", double CD, FMR CD73-0900.
#67 (2002) Evolution II, for wind players, computers, interactive patches Released on New Music Network Cd, 2002 (CR# 29).
#68 (2003) Sines of Tone 1 and 2, by Roger Dean Premiered Sydney 2003.
#69 (2004) The Improvising Space, by Roger Dean and Greg White For instruments and computer real-time spatialisation. Premiered Sydney 2004.
#70 (2004) Silent Exchange, by Roger Dean and Greg White A computer-interactive work in which newly generated sound is exchanged continuously but silently between two computer performers,and may or may not emerge in recognisable form. Premiered Sydney 2004.
#71 (2005) Alone Together A series of works for piano, duo piano, piano with prerecorded piano, and piano with computer-interactive processing. Performed Canberra and Sydney.
#72 (2007) VIPRE Piano 1, by Roger Dean Premiered at MARCS Auditory Laboratories, University of Western Sydney, VIPRE studio July 2007. Dedicated to Bill Duckworth and Post-minimalism
#73 (2008) Ubasuteyama, by Roger Dean and Hazel Smith Premiered at the Aurora Festival, 2008. Released 2008 on the “Music of the Spirit” double CD, Wirripang Records. Uses a new microtonal scale created by Dean, the 91 Primes scale, as discussed in an article in Leonardo by Dean.

#74 (2008) FiFu #1

and Pulsing Anticipations,

first of a series of pieces, each concerned with rhizomatic musical structures, in which motivic or harmonic streams fuse and fissure;

lead by continuous manipulation of drum and other loops.

#75 (2009) 8 comprovisations for a new austraLYSIS Multirhythm Band (acoustic quintet)  
#76 (2009) Subemergence;and Reconvening for the austraLYSIS Electroband (scores available). Premiered Sydney Improvised Music Association, the Sound Lounge, Seymour Centre, 2009. Subemergence is also used as sonic material in performances of Instabilities II, and on the completed web-release of this multimedia piece.
#77 (2009) Cloudspotting a comprovisation structure using acoustic sound-spotting
#78 (2009) Playing Intensities for two instrumentalists, pre-recorded piano, and sound diffusion. Like Electrointensies, concerned primarily with temporal patterns of acoustic intensity, but with a notated instrumental score, and spatial sound diffusion. Score available. Premiered Sydney Conservatorium 2009.