A Sonic Journey, For Orchestra (2021)

Additional Information

This short orchestral piece is based upon music that was specially written for a planetarium show for the visually impaired.  "Audio Universe: Tour of the Solar System". The starting point was to find some pitches that would represent the Sun and the eight planets.  The smaller rocky planets are represented by higher pitches and the gas giants by much lower pitches. The choice of pitches was based on my musical judgment so that when the Sun and all the planets were heard together, it would produce an exciting sound.  I ended up with a very low note for the Sun, which would act as a drone and hold everything together just as the sun holds the solar system together. 

Our advisor for making sure this worked for blind and vision impaired children, Amrit, told us that the rocky planets should sound different to the gas giants and use recognisable sounds. So, we chose woodwind instruments for the rocky planets and brass instruments for the gas giants. In the show, the sound of the Sun is quite different and is a mixture of synthetic and pre-recorded sounds.  I used these pitches and instruments to make the music for the show. I wanted the music to be exciting and also represent the vastness of space. The music begins and ends with the low drone of the Sun on the double basses. The music for the four rocky planets is in a dark minor key which contrasts with the brighter major music for the Gas Giants. The four notes of the rocky planets become the main theme for the music and the crescendo of music leading into the Gas Giants section is used to represent the taking off of the spaceship.  

A Sonic Journey was created by adding a new, contrasting, yet strongly linked idea to the music that had already been written for the show.



United Kingdom



This is a Sibelius 7.5.1 realisation using the Noteperformer 3 playback engine.
A Sonic Journey