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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...

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...

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...

A Cognitive Approach to the Emotional Function of Game Sound  

Inger Ekman

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

...action affordances (in the game) and provide (goal-related) cues. The capacity of listeners to use and make sense of various types of information has been thoroughly explored within user-interface design, suggesting sound can use various levels of symbolic mappings. For example, sonification harnesses the capacity to monitor multiple ongoing sound processes by presenting nonauditory data as audio information. Earcons convey information through musical symbols and audio icons employ a variety of mappings to express abstract information with environmental sounds. Finally...

Acoustic Scenography and Interactive Audio: Sound Design for Built Environments  

Jan Paul Herzer

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

... while relying on known musical figures, clichés, and conditioned functions of sounds. Even the guidance of visitors and the accentuation of specific purposes of a space are possible, and simplified, through modern technology. Bearing that in mind, special applications like the sonification of touch-screen commands or acoustic feedback in home-automation technology can be used purposefully and not only as a “gadget.” Additionally, the use of sound differs from other disciplines in architecture and interior design because of the simple fact that, in contradiction to...

Procedural Audio Theory and Practice  

Andy Farnell

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

...It is easy to get carried away with elaborate models based on accurate physical models. Think carefully about the precision and resolution of computed values throughout your code and strive for a good balance between cost metrics and perceived aesthetic quality. Even in critical sonification tasks, high precision may not actually have perceptual significance. Plasticity of tools : A good design, based on a well-researched model that is properly decoupled, will not pivot on the implementation framework, or any specific feature of it. This process allows the skill of...

Navigating Sound: Locative and Translocational Approaches to Interactive Audio  

Nye Parry

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

...Karlheinz . 1964. Texte 2: Aufsätze 1952–1962 Zur Musikalischen Praxis ed. Dieter Schnebel . Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg. Strijbos and Van Rijswijk . 2011. Walk with Me . http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/walk-with-me/id461519712 . Tittel, Claudia . 2009. Sound Art as Sonification, and the Artistic Treatment of Features in Our Surroundings. Organised Sound 14 (1): 57–64. Yates, Frances A. 1992. The Art of Memory . London: Pimlico. ...

Defining Sound Toys: Play as Composition  

Andrew Dolphin

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

...discusses a number of perspectives, and contextualizes artistic application of agents and agency primarily in a software-based context. The external agency could also be an object ( musique concrète ), environment (soundscape), mathematical equation (algorithmic composition), data (sonification), or an end user (interactivity). Sound toys frequently touch on a number of these categories of external compositional influence. However, it should be noted that the external agent could be considered as a component part of the composition process. Human organization, intervention...

Embodied Virtual Acoustic Ecologies of Computer Games  

Mark Grimshaw and Tom A. Garner

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

...determine the cognitive processing used to infer meaning from the sound data (primarily by way of determining the mode of listening). To a certain degree, game engines already respond to player emotions and it has been argued elsewhere ( Grimshaw 2008b ) that game audio engines are sonification systems that sonify player actions. In an FPS game, the player moves or the player shoots a gun and there is an appropriate sound played; thus, nonaudio data (the player’s actions) are sonified. It could be argued that this is already a sonic tracking of the player’s affective state—a...

Multisensory Musicality in Dance Central  

Kiri Miller

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

...logy 50 (3): 411–432. Smith, Jamin . 2010. Dance Central Review. Videogamer , November 4, 2010. http://www.videogamer.com/xbox360/dance_central/review.html . Sterne, Jonathan , and Mitchell Akiyama . 2012. The Recording that Never Wanted to be Heard and Other Stories of Sonification. In The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies , ed. Trevor Pinch and Karin Bijsterveld , 544–. New York: Oxford University Press. VGChartz.com . 2013. Game Database: Dance Central. http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=dance+central . Whalen, Zach . 2004. Play Along: An Approach...

Electronica  

Nick Collins

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

...utilize a chamber in Montreal as a reverberator, submitting samples to be processed. Ultimately, the computers took over. We play computer games and write game music. We write our own programs and defer composition to them. The chatter of our e-mails can form the source data for sonification. We are besieged by the digital and by digital art. And, speaking of this density of information … 4. Overload No more sonatas, no more cantatas. Is not the music of this world. I give myself to overload. — Silverberg 1989 , p. 166 Robert Silverberg, an author...

Early Hardware and Early Ideas in Computer Music: Their Development and Their Current Forms  

Paul Doornbusch

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

...Collider, and others are of great utility and can directly create sound as well as generate and manipulate MIDI data. Some of these programs will, for example, produce MIDI data from a photograph or weather data. The practice of generating sound, or music, from data sets is called sonification , and while it is arguably a peripheral activity for computer music composers, there is a crossover of activity. One of the main requirements to sonify data is to map it to musical or sonic parameters. Then, it can be put through a process to generate the sound or music. This...

A Historical View of Computer Music Technology  

Douglas Keislar

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

...describe such techniques and, more generally, visual arts that emulate music's dynamism and abstractness. The Jitter software package for the Max environment has been used in this manner ( Jones and Nevile 2005 ). Visual data can be derived from audio data and vice versa. The term sonification refers to the mapping of nonaudio data into sound. This term originated outside music, referring to practical techniques for data display with the goal to help the listener understand the information in the nonaudio data. However, the idea has inspired many composers, whose goal...

Sensor-Based Musical Instruments and Interactive Music  

Atau Tanaka

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

...reliable than with analog techniques. With this came the fundamental shift from artistic use of biofeedback to introducing the notion of biocontrol . While biofeedback allows the physiological state to be monitored and to be translated to other media by means of visualization or sonification, biocontrol seeks to create reproducible volitional interaction using physiological biosignals. Performance artists such as Laurie Anderson and Pamela Z have used the BodySynth of Chris van Raalte and Ed Severinghaus to capture theatrical movement to trigger musical accompaniment...

Sound and Player Immersion in Digital Games  

Mark Grimshaw

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

...d in real time according to the actions of the player (or players in a multiplayer game). The game engine, therefore, acts as a sonification engine by converting the nonaudio data, the player’s actions, and the player-derived game state into sound (Grimshaw 2008b, 119–20). In this case, the authentic audio samples in realism FPS games superimpose the indexicality of the real-world context with an indexicality derived from the sonification processes of the game. 10 The recording of a SPAS shotgun is heard not as the original recorded sound source in its real-world...

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