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Post from Musical Topography

Musical Topography | Projects | Quake | Portfolio

  • In this studio, we turned Earthquakes into music in order to give voice to this natural phenomenon. We wanted to focus on giving earthquakes a different spin and perception. Instead of earthquakes being seen as natural disasters that hurt people, we created a song that demonstrates the complexity and intrigue of earthquakes that are not normally seen. By turning a series of two thousand earthquakes in a 2-week period into individual notes, we created a song that shows the unseen side of earthquakes. The magnitude, and other values correlating to earthquakes, determine the pitch, duration, and velocity of each note.

    "Quake" is a musical composition that captures the intricacy and power of earthquakes. The song begins with the sound of an earthquake, low and rumbling. Notes start to play, scattered and sporadic, but as they increase in volume, they become more continuous, and form a melody. This part of the song shows the calm before the storm, but soon, a distorted version of those notes and disrupts the peace. The distortion is imposing, yet awe inspiring. Eventually, the rhythm tracks comes in, and pull composition together as they give it depth and movement. The rhythms show that there is a pattern to the chaos of earthquakes, but every so often, one of the rhythm tracks will differ, showing that there is entropy within the pattern. Later in the composition, the beats drop out and the bass gets louder to express the raw power and force behind earthquakes.

    Our song "Quake" in an expressing of the many facets of eathquakes- the melodic patters that appear in the seemingly random notes show that there is some structure to seismic activity, but the overlying, rumbling, unstoppable rolling earthquake noises in the backround demonstrate that, at their core, earthquakes are a powerful force of nature.