Exoplanetary Interv (Disquiet Junto Project 0272)

Disquiet Junto Project 0272: Exoplanetary Intervals
The Assignment: Use music to express the relationships between planets.

Recently, scientists announced the discovery of a nearby star system, TRAPPIST-1. Orbiting its ultra-cool dwarf star are seven planets, three in the habitable zone. Remarkably, six of the planets form the longest known chain where each orbits at a resonant frequency of it’s neighbor. From the slowest, the planets orbit at: 1x, 4/3x 2x, 3x, 5x, 8x. If you think of those as vibrating strings, they form a chord or scale: the slowest planet is the root, then fourth, octave, octave and fifth, two octaves and major third, three octaves. Major thanks to Junto participant Mark Lentczner for having taken the lead in proposing and developing this project.

Step 1: You’re going to record a composition employing these ratios, as a scale or chord — or a polyrhythm for that matter — as a means to express a sense of these newly discovered planets. Keep this in mind.

Step 2: Consider those intervals, play with them a bit, and think about how they can be employed to represent independent yet interdependent bodies in motion.

Step 3: Review the information on the relative orbits of the TRAPPIST-1 planets here:


Step 4: Create an original musical composition that explores the exoplanets’ relationships based on Steps 1, 2, and 3.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0272″ (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: In this following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track.

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 wherever you are on Monday, March 20, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, March 16, 2017.

Length: The length of the finished piece is up to you. Three to five minutes feels about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0272″ 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, as well as the identity of the source track that yours accompanies:

More on this 272nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Exoplanetary Intervals: Use music to express the relationships between planets” — at:


Major thanks to Junto participant Mark Lentczner for having taken the lead in proposing and developing this project.

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 from NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt, T. Pyle (IPAC):



Major thanks to @mzero for proposing and developing this project.


I really liked the ideas behind this week’s brief, however I’m busy with a couple of other musical projects at the moment so (unfortunately) couldn’t spend as much time on it as I would have liked. I will return to it in the future and explore the ratios more thoroughly :slight_smile: Definitely a cool idea!

My (simple) approach was to use the ratios as intervals to build an ascending scale in C which was then staggered across six tracks (planets) with various Alchemy pads in Logic. Staggering the tracks gave instant dynamics to the piece - sometimes there’s just one pad playing, at the peaks there are all six (each with different notes). Each track was auto-panned (to suggest circular movement) at a rate corresponding to the speed of the planet’s orbit, i.e. slower panning for the outer planets, faster for the inner ones. If you’ve got good eyesight, the image for my soundcloud track demonstrates the method.



Really love the idea behind this week’s challenge. Decided to go with the modular being sent pitch cv over midi from Ableton. The piece repeats the intervals in ascending order. Full info on the modules used in the Soundcloud description.



Played C5,E4,G3,C3,F2,C2 on my Duesenberg. Mixed in ableton, added autopanner.



very lazy again - loaded some cello samples into protoplasm and played a 30 second drone. represented the near resonance with paulstretch: six different lengths and then each planet repeated if the orbits fit within the longest orbit (i feel like there was a better way of explaining that!)

().() .()…()…()…()


Just in case other people missed it, too: I created a page with lots of info about the intervals, including notes and frequencies:



I am looking forward to your piece!

The only minor lift and major fall I know, comes from the Leonard Cohen song. In other words, I am a dummy :slight_smile: though, I will try to use stuff from your page.

Great idea, btw.


this track is made from a wonky tuning fork recorded onto cassette tape loop. all sounds here are harvested from within that loop. it gets hazy. tape fuzz layer after layer hisses i want to just keep adding layers until the silence gets completely obliterated maybe next time. farther than lightyearsaway sways of matter. seas of distance how all in unison and apart wee are in relation to any other point in the ga laxy.

i messed with the pitches manually by hand with speed altering dial on handheld recorder while transferring the track into the compu & also sourced exact pitch change specifics from @mzero’s chart for fun bits of exactitude within chaos pattern-making!

“All seven planets of TRAPPIST-1 (dwarf star system) are likely to be “tidally locked” (one side of each planet permanently facing the star), making the development of life there “much more challenging”. A less likely possibility is that some may be trapped in a higher-order spin–orbit resonance. Tidally locked planets would typically have very large temperature differences between their permanently lit day sides and their permanently dark night sides, which could produce very strong winds circling the planets. The best places for life may be close to the mild twilight regions between the two sides, called the terminator line.”
-thanks wikipeedya!


Disquiet Junto Project 0272: Exoplanetary Intervals
The Assignment: Use music to express the relationships between planets.

Exoplanetary Ingredients:
Backround sound courtesy of NASA.
Electric Bass Guitar (Drake DIAZ CUSTOM5) 6 tracks
Reverb and filters

Exoplanetary Recipe:
1-Download some background sounds from NASA’s site, to create the right ambience.
2-Record a click track with 2 harmonics (D+G) on El. Bass, playing a 5 beat pattern (five 1/4th notes)
3-Create a simple, not really earthy harmony: E7#9 – EbMaj7 – G/D, performed on a warm synth pad.
4-Play that harmony in 4 short notes, rhythmic parts, with four El.Bass tracks.
5-Following Mark Lentczner’s excellent dissection on the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets: the ratios of the orbits are 8:5 , 5:3 , 3:2 (twice) and 4:3
So first harmony voice (bass1) performs 8 notes every 5 clicks, second harmony voice (bass2) perform its voice on 5:3 (5 notes every 3 clicks) etc.
6-Add a low bass part performing the tonics in a 3+2 beat pattern .
7-Add one instance of bFilter to each voice, play with its cutoff and drive.


It’s been a while since I don’t follow this “intellectual” modus-operandi instead of the usual “musical” one, trusting my ears.
Here I followed the exoplanet orbit’s ratios to create a coherent yet out of phase poly-rhythm. Recorded each track just listening to my 5 beat click (harmonics). Then I un-soloed every track to hear how this mess sounded like.
Well, it has that cosmological Steve Reich side that’s charming, but it still sounds as messy as it was supposed to.
Comments are welcome more than ever!
Love DD


Recently, scientists announced the discovery of a nearby star system, TRAPPIST-1. Orbiting its ultra-cool dwarf star are seven planets, three in the habitable zone. From the slowest, the planets orbit at: 1x, 4/3x 2x, 3x, 5x, 8x. Create an original musical composition that explores the exoplanets’ relationships.

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:


the bar is very high this week (so far) enjoying a lot what I hear.


The playlist is live:


1 Like

sorry, my file was corrupted, replacing now.


This was written for Disquiet Junto Project 0272.

This is the shortest piece I have written for the Disquiet Junto project, clocking in under two minutes. My original idea was quite different, but things forced me in another direction. While I could have gone on longer, I figured that I had already said what I wanted to say before allowing everything to get out of control.

The ratios employed took me to using the notes C, Db, D, F, B and D. I added D, B, D, C, Db and D as a following sequence to tidy things up.

This was written for Soprano, Tenor and Baritone Saxophones, Timpani, Cymbals, Vibraphone and Harp and the score is available at http://bit.ly/2nzUZPF


@mzero was wondering if you’ve used any static page generators to render this page? (something like jekyll or hugo perhaps?) in addition to being very informative, i also love the layout and colors!

Glad you like it. Nothing special here: Just hand authored HTML with Bootstrap CSS framework, and a tiny amount of hand authored CSS!



I wanted to use the proportion of the resonant frequencies to create a polyrhythm so I used Patterning on the iPad to program a drum loop where each track played for a number of beats in the same ratios as the planetary orbits (3, 4, 6, 9, 15 and 24 beats).
This with synced with a Numerology patch which triggered midi loops with the timing ratios taken from the resonant frequencies. I just pressed “play” and faded the individual patterns in and out as the song played itself.


I kept mine simple - made 2 tape loops with a track for each relative frequency starting on a root of C. Then I rode the 6 track faders and panned the sounds around a bit - It’s the first time I’ve done a track in stereo. Put everything through copious amounts of delay and reverb.




Using the harmonic orbital ratios from the Project Brief, I created a sequence following those notes, dropping the octave of the faster planets for musical sense. I also created a progression that transposed the sequence, by those same musical notes. Finally, I layered some drums, playing those same orbital ratios as a polyrhythmic drum parts for a six-piece drum kit.

As with all my Juntos so far, I am sure it would be possible to improve on this, sonically, given a bit more time. But time constraints are what gets me to a finished track in the first place, so as ever I am thankful to have that discipline enforced on me. Also, I found some great use of many of the (powerful) core Ableton midi devices (for randomisation mostly), and with three MaxForLive devices - Ultimate Step Seq for sequencing the notes, Robert Henke’s Note Modulator for transposition of the sequence (which I had to edit in Max to enable 64 step divisions), and RPE by Hyakken for the polyrhythmic drum part. The result was a Project that played itself! No midi clips necessary - start t he note sequencer, transposition sequencer, and drum sequencer, and let them do their thing. As a result, there is no automation here - I simply disengaged the Track Mute buttons to introduce each part. While I could have used more free-running LFOs (in either the synths, or in maxforlive) to add further movement, or indeed automated synth parameters, I think it sounds fine, and kinda retro, clean and as-is.

Synths used: TAL BassLine 101, 2x TAL Uno LX, Synthmaster, Strobe, Vacuum Pro. Drums from Ableton Live drum racks by Goldbaby.

Hope you enjoy.


I took the intervals from these 7 planets that were discovered the other day, and used them both as tonal intervals (-> “1x, 4/3x 2x, 3x, 5x, 8x. The slowest planet is the root, then fourth, octave, octave and fifth, two octaves and major third, three octaves.”) but as well as distance in time (first note repeats every bar, second note every 4/3 bar, next one every two bars etc.) and build this vibraphone pattern with it. The rest is arrangement and some acoustic guitar picking on a saturday morning after breakfast while the kids are playing.