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Sonification ≠ Music  

Carla Scaletti

Print publication date:
Feb 2018
Online publication date:
Feb 2018

...of musical expression. 21.3.1 Important Distinctions between Data-Driven Music and Data Sonification Despite the fact that sonification and music share much of the same technology and techniques, there are some important distinctions between data sonification and data-driven music, and it is in the interests of both music and sonification to maintain a clear delineation between the two activities. 21.3.1.1 Teams and the Auteur Data sonification tends to work best when it’s a team effort. At this point in history, it is rare for one individual...

An Introduction to Data Sonification  

David Worrall

Print publication date:
Apr 2011
Online publication date:
Sep 2012

... An Introduction to Data Sonification DAVID WORRALL The aim of this pragmatic introduction to data sonification is to provide an understanding of the origins and conceptual issues involved in this young, interdisciplinary, and quickly evolving discipline. It begins by summarizing different ways sonification has been defined, the types and classifications of data that it attempts to represent with sound, and how these representations perform under the pressure of real-world usage. The need for better tools for data sonification is raised and leads to discussion...

The Search for the “Killer Application”: Drawing the Boundaries around the Sonification of Scientific Data  

Alexandra Supper

Print publication date:
Dec 2011
Online publication date:
Nov 2012

...participant observation include two weeks of self-experimentation in learning sonification while based in an institution that is active in the field, as well as attendance at two ICAD conferences, two sonification workshops, and several sonification-related concerts and talks. “Sonification Is Defined As…” The first ICAD conference was held in 1992 at the Santa Fe Institute in an effort to pool the previously scattered activities of various researchers working on issues related to sonification and auditory displays. Despite being labeled an “international conference...

The Recording That Never Wanted to Be Heard and Other Stories of Sonification  

Jonathan Sterne and Mitchell Akiyama

Print publication date:
Dec 2011
Online publication date:
Nov 2012

...as 1490—sonification is a relatively recent approach to rendering information sensible and has been promoted variously as a corrective or a supplement to visual display. In her chapter in this volume, Alexandra Supper elegantly renders the shape of current debates about the definition of sonification and the policing of the term’s borders among people who work in the field. For our chapter we have chosen a broad definition of sonification to highlight both the range of practices that might be enclosed in its big tent and the connections between sonification and other...

Creative Sonification of Mobility and Sonic Interaction with Urban Space: An Ethnographic Case Study of a GPS Sound Walk  

Frauke Behrendt

Print publication date:
Mar 2014
Online publication date:
Jul 2014

... Chapter 7 Creative Sonification of Mobility and Sonic Interaction with Urban Space An Ethnographic Case Study of a GPS Sound Walk Frauke Behrendt This chapter explores how mobile media and sound are experienced and in particular how locative technologies such as GPS can be used for the creative sonification of mobility. This is realized by examining Aura — the stuff that forms around you (hereafter Aura ), a 2007 artwork by Steve Symons. In this work, participants equipped with headphones and a GPS-enabled backpack explore a city while...

Explorations in Cultureson  

Jacob Smith

Print publication date:
Dec 2013
Online publication date:
Dec 2013

...“Auditory Display” ; Ryan McGee , “Auditory Displays and Sonification: Introduction and Overview,” http://www.lifeorange.com/writing/Sonification_Auditory_Display.pdf . 8 . “Fractions of a Second: An Olympic Musical,” New York Times , February 26, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/26/sports/olympics/20100226-olysymphony.html . Thanks to Patrick Feaster to pointing out this auditory display to me. Also see a range of sonification techniques applied to rowing here: Stephen Barrass , “Sonification of Rowing,” June 21, 2009, StephenBarrass.com (blog)...

Performing Algorithms  

Kristin Erickson

Print publication date:
Feb 2018
Online publication date:
Feb 2018

...calculate the value of π , and if so, to what decimal place? Now I consider this imagined style of algorithmic music to be a type of sonification. Carla Scaletti defines sonification as ‘a mapping of numerically represented relations in some domain under study to relations in an acoustic domain for the purposes of interpreting, understanding, or communicating relations in the domain under study.’ 1 My idea of algorithmic music is sonification, where the domain under study is algorithms . I have explored this approach from a variety of perspectives over the years. In...

Remixing the Environment: Climate Change, Rhythm Science, and DJ Spooky’s Digging in the Landscape  

Kate Galloway

Online publication date:
Oct 2018

...were displayed in gallery exhibits and published in The Book of Ice . Image Courtesy of Paul D. Miller. Sonification and Digging in the Landscape The creative processes described previously are based in a certain notion of translation , where various forms of nonaural data are morphed into musical sound. This process has been referred to as sonification . According to the introduction to The Sonification Handbook , sonification is “the technique of rendering sound in response to data” ( Hermann, Hunt, and Neuhoff 2011 , 1). The term is used to describe...

Conversions: Sound and Sight, Military and Civilian  

Cyrus C. M. Mody

Print publication date:
Dec 2011
Online publication date:
Nov 2012

...sociological motivations. Sonification is usually practiced by high-end probe microscopists who build rather than buy their instruments. Sonification helps them present their work as distinctively fine-tuned and artisanal compared to the mass of probe microscopists. Prominent builders such as Jim Gimzewski use sonification to forge collaborations with artists (Roosth 2009 ), and other builders play their microscopes’ auditory output as background music during public talks. Those who buy their microscopes are much less likely to use sonification this way. Two Senses...

Beyond Me  

Kaffe Matthews

Print publication date:
Feb 2018
Online publication date:
Feb 2018

...their seasonal variety. Springtime fish-count data over rushing springtime flow really does make high-pitched energetic tunes; summertime slowing and becoming more chilled; sensuous, autumn lush and groovy; and winter, still and rich in monochromatic greyness. Using this direct sonification of river data to pitch and rhythm, the tunes created are also surprisingly tonal and singable for groups of eleven-year-olds or just inspirational for their own songwriting. The interesting point is that we had not only found a way to make music we never would have otherwise made...

The Absent Image in Electronic Music  

Eric Lyon

Print publication date:
Dec 2013
Online publication date:
Dec 2013

...mask. Fused Audio-Visual Compositions A nearly opposite situation obtains in the process called sonification , which is a special kind of articulation of visual (or visualized) data in sound. Sonification was originally intended for scientific purposes, to enable researchers to detect patterns aurally with much greater ease than they could by scanning the data. The Geiger counter, invented in 1908, is considered one of the earliest forms of sonification, converting ionizing radiation into audible clicks. More recently, data analysis was replaced with purely...

Thoughts on Composing with Algorithms  

Laurie Spiegel

Print publication date:
Feb 2018
Online publication date:
Feb 2018

...fascinated by abstract structures and at times attempted the design of algorithmic languages for music (Spiegel 1982 –1984, 1984 /1985 ), my own use of logically defined musical processes has often begun as self-simulation (perhaps a new form of self-expression), or alternatively as a sonification of an extramusical phenomenon, or at times an exploration of curiosity or hypothesis (‘what would it sound like if … ?’). These attempts have run the full gamut from small logic modules that decide one specific aspect of something I am otherwise more intuitively creating (e.g. stereo...

Form, Chaos, and the Nuance of Beauty  

Mileece I'Anson

Print publication date:
Feb 2018
Online publication date:
Feb 2018

...originally designed for a diffusion system as four stereo pairs with each cycled section delegated to a combination of the pairs with the individual channel distribution relying on nondeterministic operators. For me, the exciting possibility of such a music is the referential sonification of some of the core mechanisms behind formulaic growth in natural systems and the subsequent creation of a recognisable ‘piece’ of music, where random or chaotically driven nuance in timbre and cadence coalesce to form a sort of fluttering livingness. Moreover, these factors dictate...

Algorithmic Trajectories  

Alex McLean and Roger T. Dean

Print publication date:
Feb 2018
Online publication date:
Feb 2018

...results. David Worrall collaborated in developing this Python toolkit, and is well known for his pioneering work on computer music in Australia and on (algorithmic) sonification. Sonification is the sonic analogue of visualization, processes for (hopefully accessible) representation of data content in sound and image. With David and colleague Greg White, I made a 22:4 spatialized algorithmic sonification of multichannel brain EEG recordings (2002; http://www.icad.org ). Greg also contributed technical guidance in the early stages of austraLYSIS’s application of Max/MSP...

Sonic Interactions in Multimodal Environments: An Overview  

Stefania Serafin

Print publication date:
May 2014
Online publication date:
Jul 2014

...feedback, as in the case of the pip and pop effect ( Van der Burg et al. 2008 ). When feedback provides information about data under analysis, or about the interaction itself that is useful to refine the activity, then we talk about interactive sonification ( Hermann and Hunt 2005 ). A successful example of interactive sonification is the one proposed in Rath and Rocchesso (2005) . Here, the task of balancing a marble ball on a wooden stick is improved by providing augmented auditory feedback given by rolling sounds. Another interesting direction where knowledge on...

Algorithmic Synesthesia  

Noam Sagiv, Roger T. Dean, and Freya Bailes

Print publication date:
Apr 2011
Online publication date:
Sep 2012

...differently influenced from a person whose associations are distinct. Conversely, in the field of sonification, which seeks to make large quantities or rapid streams of data cognizable by representing them in sound, so-called zero-order transcoding involves complete synchrony between what is being represented and its sonic output. But, just as stock marketeers follow moving averages, representing blocks of data rather than individual events, so a range of sonification mechanisms perturbs this temporal relationship (see final section of this chapter). It is often...

The Body as Musical Instrument  

Atau Tanaka and Marco Donnarumma

Online publication date:
Jul 2018

...one of the loudspeakers. This creates a multilayered sound where disparate sonic forms can be precisely shaped by coordinating and fine-tuning whole-body gestures that address one or more DSP stages at once. The interplay between instrument and performer relies not only on the MMG sonification but also on strategies of interaction that include extracting expressive features from the muscle sounds, mapping dynamically those features to DSP parameters, and composing the piece sections in real time using neural networks. The MMG sensors on the forearms are analyzed for ...

Gesture and Morphology in Laptop Music Performance  

Garth Paine

Print publication date:
Apr 2011
Online publication date:
Sep 2012

...relationship (by which the instrument and performer may appear to dissolve into one entity) with their instrument, a relationship that is often communicated to the audience through their performance gestures. Computer-based music, however, heralded the dislocation of the excitation, sonification mechanism, dissolving the embodied relationship the musician previously enjoyed with the instrument while simultaneously introducing a broad range of possibilities that defy the limits of the human body, raising questions about the role of gesture in musical performance and the...

Empirical Studies of Computer Sound  

Freya Bailes and Roger T. Dean

Print publication date:
Apr 2011
Online publication date:
Sep 2012

...additional expressive component. 5. Sonification:Computational Representation of Nonmusical Data in Sound Sonification requires mention here as an example of using computer sound for a specific and empirically assessable functional purpose. Music may or may not have explicit or even implicit communicative and expressive purposes, but in any case, the meaning generated by a listener is a result of the creator's input, the sonic realization, and the listener's efforts. In partial contrast, the term sonification was introduced to distinguish sonic representation...

Engagement, Immersion and Presence: The Role of Audio Interactivity in Location-aware Sound Design  

Natasa Paterson and Fionnuala Conway

Print publication date:
May 2014
Online publication date:
Jul 2014

...relations of a narrative in a given space and their cultural understandings. Similarly, sound artists have developed works that are intended to be experienced in real-world locations and through familiar interactions. Christina Kübisch’s work in the 1970s first began exploring the sonification of interacting electromagnetic fields using small cubes with built-in speakers, which had to be held to listeners’ ears as they approached wires within an empty installation space ( Tittel 2009 ). This work later extended to the incorporation of wireless headphones in the experience...

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