Faculty Mentor

Lindsay MacKenzie

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-11-2022




Geology and geologic processes have featured in many pieces of classical music such as Alan Hovhaness’ symphonic works after Mt. St. Helens and Glacier Peak but these pieces are impressionistic and only take general inspiration from the geology of their subjects. This paper describes the creation of Tectonics (2021) a piece which incorporates and describes many geologic principles and processes, such as mantle convection, through the musical form of cannon, the formation of fold and thrust belts whose cross sections are directly visually recreated in the score, and the physical dynamics of earthquake waves demonstrated through variations of pitch and volume through time. The symphony also incorporates sonified data from actual earthquakes into its structure. This piece is an attempt to use music to communicate science to the public, a field which is only recently seeing developments and has few voices communicating on earth sciences topics which this piece.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.