Disquiet Junto Project 0311: Ceramic Notation

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, December 18, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, December 14, 2017.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0311: Ceramic Notation
Read a work of ceramics as a score in graphic notation.

Major thanks to Grant Wilkinson for instigating this week’s project.

Step 1: This week’s Junto project is our first graphic score in a while. The idea of a graphic score in this case is to read an image as piece of musical notation. Here, the graphic score is a photo of a sculpture, the sculpture a ceramic wall installation by Steven Geddes, who is based in London.

Step 2: To begin with, look at this photo of a piece by Geddes that is titled Notations:


Step 3: Study the image for its musical potential. Imagine the image — not merely the sculpture, but the photo of the ceramics — is intended as musical score. Ask yourself, What does it sound like?

Step 4: Compose a piece of music that is a musical interpretation of this score.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0311” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: Please consider posting your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co.

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, December 18, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, December 14, 2017.

Length: As long as you see fit. Three minutes feels about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0311” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 311th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Ceramic Notation: Read a work of ceramics as a score in graphic notation) at:


More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Subscribe to project announcements here:


Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:


There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is a photo of ceramic work by Steven Geddes, used with his permission. Image originally posted at


More from Geddes, who is based in London, at



The project is now live.

1 Like

Suss Müsik loves these “graphic score” projects. Looking forward to everyone’s contributions.


Loved this concept and inspiring image. Here’s an interpretation using some Elektron machines :




Here’s mine. Really enjoyed this one, great work as the score, and really drives simplicity.

I took the sequence of ceramic pots as the rhythm (obvious I know) and used this as three percussion parts. The two in boxes are the 4ms SMR run into Morphagene and mixed with layered backward copies of itself; the other is simply a Twincussion into a reverb. And a frozen version of the main loop in Clouds fades in at the end.

This probably sounds exactly like what people might expect, but hey, why not?





I thought of the pieces inside the rectangular shelves as purely rhythmic. I used a small plate inside a ceramic bowl for the top shelf and a rather large and cracked ceramic umbrella stand for the lower shelf. The center, more open, row is voiced with two ceramic bowls that ring out with pitch. Sequence order of the bowls is determined by the height of the pieces in the score.

I added to this sounds of a storm heard through a drafty window, and a swell of delay/reverb that reminds me of things being thrown about in a strong wind.

I used the ER-301 for all sounds. Ansibles Kria for sequencing. The sounds are sampled from my home. I used several different ceramic pieces, and a wood block.

The field recording was found on aporee.org:
Þingeyri, Iceland, wind
(alas23/sala 05.02.2016 23:30 Atlantic/Reykjavik)
storm through slightly open window


It’s my first exercise on graphic notation, didn’t’ have much time today so excuse me if I’m being this simple/straightforward in my interpretation of it

The image attached to the track shows how I translated the ceramic sculpture to a step sequencer on my DAW
Found 3 lines and 16 slots in the photo so I replicated that on a 16th note 4 bar grid

First line plays its pattern in E note, second plays a C and third an A.
On the track, after a brief beat-announcing intro you hear the patterns:
1, 2, 3, then 1, 1+2, 1+3, 2+3, and then the three at the same time.
Midway through it I start changing notes and added a synth pad bass sound and a brass section playing sustained harmonies, to make the whole thing a bit more “musical”

Created by DD Friday 15th December 2017 for Disquiet Junto Project 0311: Ceramic Notation




I’ve had a small case of the blues for the past few days. Didn’t really “read” the image as much as absorb it, then sat down to play. This is what came out. xo


I’ve interpreted the ceramics as notes. Those in the boxes are C# an octave apart, while those in-between are G#.

Then I’ve added a bassline and a couple of drum parts. See more discussion here.


Suss Müsik’s art school education included an instructor who advised his students to explore “the romance” of whatever we were drawing. The romance of the drape, the romance of the still life, the romance of the human form, etc.

According to his biography, the work of Steven Geddes is a conscious exploration of the “tactile, textural, sensuous[,] formal and expressive” properties of his chosen materials. Porcelain, woven fabric, pen-and-ink — these substances offer Geddes a rich tapestry of “disembodied recombinations” with which to disrupt our senses.

For this short piece, Suss Müsik composed a three-chord piano phrase to roughly match the three rows in Geddes’ Notations sculpture. Each phrase was then played as a single sequence for a duration of three equal lengths. Little ceramic pots were struck for the percussive bits, while a CR-78 emulator and acoustic bass provide the spine. The ghostly wails were played with an EWI device to evoke Geddes’ Scottish Highlands upbringing; a squawky Korg synth modulator creates “space, rupture, blockage.”

The piece is titled Notaichean, a loose Scottish Gaelic translation of the word “notes.”



So had to wipe the layers of dust off the keyboard for this one… been a while since i actually used one.
The resulting melody was then processed - mostly reverb/echo/delay to render it as close to inaudible as i thought fit


Hi All …


I saw the shelves as the 4 strings of my p-bass, so I used the image as a score, playing mainly two-note chords other than the two notes which don’t have a shelf above and below … put the resulting iPhone recording through a Zynaptiq pitch mapper … I particularly like the noise and unintentional ‘stopping-performing’ sounds after the long wait at the end …

Have a great week, everyone! :slight_smile:



The playlist is rolling:




played each as a note starting from C. each row represents a chord of sorts. but they overlap so on the next line i delete the notes as i get to them or keep them going if they appear on each row (eg. the second note on row 2 and 3).

i’m not sure how to explain that clearly

cello/bass clarinet/viola/violin samples. guitar fx, chorus, reverb.
mastered for hi freq ceramic sounds



i interpreted the image as rhythmic notation, and made three sequences of 14 rests and hits. the image also seems to suggest phasing, so after a certain number of repeats of each sequence, i offset them by one or two notes, resulting in a rhythmic evolution.

the sequences are played on a marimba, to which i’ve added some reverb and tape saturation.




Hi guys, I am Robert. The 0311 challenge drew me in your creative circle! My way of interpretation is rather directly: I have read the installation twice as a melodie line up and down: the first time one note next to the other (second intervall), the second time with one note in between (tird intervall). And I have read it once only as one line for a bass rhythm (long short short long short short long…). This was the composition basic: Two melodie lines and a rhythmic ground. The rest was inspiration or whatever it is. I hope you enjoy it!



Love your electronic interpretation! Good bass line and exuberant water sounds!

1 Like

Super! The rhythmic interpretation catches immediatly. Like the process and the minimalistic style!