Cartographic musical notation


Disquiet Junto Project 0073: Faulty Notation

This week’s Disquiet Junto project is about earthquakes. Each participant receives a distinct section of a map of the San Andreas Fault. The section will be interpreted as a graphic notation score. The resulting music will, in the words of Geoff Manaugh of BLDG BLOG, “explore the sonic properties of the San Andreas Fault.”

Full instructions at



I’m never a particularly big fan of graphic notation projects … either there should be a structure or there shouldn’t. Nevertheless, I love maps so my take was on a piece inspired by the particular map. I was influenced by some of the contours and marks, but ultimately I wanted a cohesive piece first. The piece of the map I was provided with was:


I was inspired to use a couple of Soniccouture sound libraries (Abstrakt Bass and Bowed Piano), but the main melodic line came from Boscomac’s superb Air Piano Reaktor ensemble. I played some lines that I felt encapsulated the map in front of me. Just one take (clearly!) as I didn’t want to get too bogged down on going back in and effectively re-scoring (and my keyboard skills are limited).

Some chaotic loops were added to represent some of the fault lines and to stop the track simply being another wash of noise.


More on this 73rd Disquiet Junto project, which involves reading a map of the San Andreas Fault as if it were a graphic notation score, at:…073-faultynotation

This project was conducted as part of a course of study led by Geoff Manaugh (BLDG BLOG). More on his research at:…for-fault.html

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:


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