Satellite Mapping
for solo piano (2012)
duration: 5’
GRT • 162


recording available
Satellite Mapping
Complete works for solo piano (1989–2014)
Amir Farid
Move Records, MD3402, 2016

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
In 2006 Google Earth was just a year or two old and provided an unprecedented ability to view the Earth as photographed from satellites in space on a home computer. One could view remote exotic locations as quickly as one’s own residence. Zooming in, the image would be highly pixilated – but gradually filled in with detailed resolution. This piece attempts to capture that process of detail gradually revealed. It is based on a fixed register chord of 16 pitches and is exclusively limited to those pitches. In musical terms, this begins with spacious chords, gradually developing more detail until finally revealed as an unbroken bit-stream of data flowing in rapid arpeggios across the full length of the keyboard. The piece was only half-finished in 2006, as I could only partially play what I could hear and notating the concept also proved elusive. Late in 2012, I came back to the piece and found a way through.

“The CD’s title work begins sparely before slowly passing to a roiling across-the-keyboard melange: an exercise in depicting the overwhelming detail that emerges as you hit the plus indicator on your Google map image. It’s an ingenious concept – the gradual crescendo in information...”
Clive O’Connell, O’Connell the Music, August, 2016

“When Google Earth first provided the ability to view Earth as photographed from satellites in space, it also sparked the idea for Satellite Mapping. This imaginative composition captures the concept of information being gradually revealed, in the same way that we can view locations from afar, then in increasing detail. The music starts in the hushed solitude of outer space, gradually filling up with more sound and finally taking us on an exciting journey of virtuosic arpeggios up and down the keyboard. A terrific piece.”
Gwen Bennett, Music Trust E–Zine, September 2016