The Tiny Big Houses (Music)

Music by Dante S. Ryu

Inspired by The Tiny Big Houses by Christina Ryu

Date of Composition: 24 Aug 2016

Last Updated: 6 Oct 2016


  • Flute
  • Xylophone
  • Piano


The Tiny Big Houses is a piece of chamber music played by a flute, a xylophone and a piano. The music is inspired by a story written by Christina Ryu – The Tiny Big Houses, which is a story about a boy called Li. Online readers can listen to the music at the story page.

The xylophone starts the music with soft frequent notes, which imitates the happenings in the forest that Li lives. The flute then enter with long notes at the middle of its range, which represents the calmness in the forest. Its rhythm then goes syncopated, to describe the atmosphere that the fantasy story gives. However, it is not a horror story to the composer, so the piano enters to represent the beauty of this fantasy world. Accented staccato notes leads the music to the next part into another scene.

The second part is inspired by the scene where Li gets to learn his abilities; his power grows. It is wonderful, but abnormal at the same time. This idea is expressed with the mixture of duple time and triple time in different parts – although they are written with the same time signature, the piano part should be counted in 3 and the rest should be counted in 3.

It moves on by going darker. The tenuto notes and the accented low registered notes at the piano part contribute when building the heaviness and darkness in the atmosphere. More dissonances appear in the xylophone line to give a hint of fear. Then a development is played by the piano with pedal points. The decreasing parallel fourths describe the tension from a scene, where  something undefeatable is on Li.

Hoping Li to be safe from threats inspires the next part, where the pedal note still goes on at the left hand of piano part, and ascending on the right hand. Other parts can be seen as counterpoints on one hand, and a connected line that meet at the accented notes at the piano part on the other hand. At bar 30, it is not an end, but a pause to this part.

A pointillism part is arranged right in the middle of the last part of the music, as a pause. This part is inspired by the scene when Li goes to the houses. The part tends to imitate the composer’s imagination of the scene – Li bumping into people, things and does not know how to behave at an unknown place. Eventually, the situation forces him to run away.

The last part resumes as a coda.

Original Story