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Sonification ≠ Music  

Carla Scaletti

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

...new forms 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 ...

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

...considerations, it is no surprise that sonification frequently branches out into artistic contexts or invites participation from musicians (e.g., with the organization of concerts in the course of ICAD conferences). Clearly, a lot of boundary crossing is going on here. However, boundary crossing goes hand in hand with demarcation, and the practitioners of sonification are often quite adamant about drawing a boundary between sonification and music. Thus, at a talk given in the context of a festival for contemporary music, one sonification researcher greeted his audience...

Explorations in Cultureson  

Jacob Smith

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

...notation published in 1775, and a haunting sonification of illustrated instructions for a barrel organ made in 1650. 14 Feaster’s experimental eduction is just the kind of groundbreaking sonification technique that Manovich’s work can help sound scholars to appreciate and describe. Manovich’s categorization of culturevis can also shed new light on audio “remix culture.” Vernacular remix artists have been exploring the field of cultural analytics for decades, illustrating Manovich’s claim elsewhere that “electronic music” serves as one of the “key reservoirs of new...

An Introduction to Data Sonification  

David Worrall

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

...discussion of the value of collaborative research and a reflection on the relationship between music sound and science. 1. Defining and Classifying Sonification The nonmedical 1 definition of the term sonification has evolved since 1994 as its use in auditory displays has developed. For the purpose of discussing multivariate data mappings, Bly ( 1994 , p. 406 ) described sonification as “audio representation of multivariate data.” The sonification of univariate data is also possible, and thus Scaletti ( 1994 , p. 224 ) proposed a more formal working...

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

...Practice of Western Music from Gregorian Chant to Postmodernism . New York: Verso, 1994. ———. Repeated Takes: A Short History of Recording and Its Effects on Music . London: Verso, 1995. De Campo, Alberto, and Christian Dayé. “Sounds Sequential: Sonification in the Social Sciences.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 31(4) (2006): 349–64. Delatour, Thierry. “Molecular Music: The Acoustic Conversion of Molecular Vibrational Spectra.” Computer Music Journal 24(3) (2000): 48–68. Dunn, John, and Mary Anne Clark. “ ‘Life Music’: The Sonification of Proteins.” ...

Performing Algorithms  

Kristin Erickson

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

...frequencies and timbres algorithmically organizing through time. In my mind, algorithmic music was not the sound of a computer program’s final output, it was the sound of computation itself, an audible representation of algorithmic processes. How would a musical logic gate function? Could a performance 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...

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

Kate Galloway

Online publication date:
Oct 2018

...scientific measurements into music through an algorithmic intermediary. In either instance, Miller’s sonification of the environment functions like a portrait in sound, whether this portrait happens to be highly realistic or relatively abstract. Despite the fact that Terra Nova sounds more like Philip Glass than typical rap music, Miller’s roots in hip hop and rhythm science are evident in the music’s iconic construction. In general, hip hop makes more frequent use of sound as icon when compared to most other musical genres. Sample-based music, and more broadly r...

The Absent Image in Electronic Music  

Eric Lyon

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

...14 incorporated taped music, films, and a live performer speaking through a gas 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...

Thoughts on Composing with Algorithms  

Laurie Spiegel

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

... those subtle subjective phenomena so that others can also perceive them, to make shared what has been private. Music can also be structured to represent in an abstracted form something we experience or perceive in the world around us, a narrative drama or a data set or structure or set of relationships that can be represented in sound. Such sonic captures can run the gamut from dramatic program music to the sonification of astronomical data. Music can also be a form of soothing for other or self, providing experiences of flow, energy, peace, physicality, emotion...

Beyond Me  

Kaffe Matthews

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

...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, but that it provided an irresistible way into listening, awareness, and thinking for children who have this river rushing...

Form, Chaos, and the Nuance of Beauty  

Mileece I'Anson

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

...characteristics created a self-generating stochastic music within a linear composition. It was 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...

Algorithmic Trajectories  

Alex McLean and Roger T. Dean

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

...2 are amongst the 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...

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...

Improvisation of the Masses: Anytime, Anywhere Mobile Music  

Ge Wang

Print publication date:
Sep 2016
Online publication date:
Feb 2015

...Audience participation in mobile music performance, including sampling the audience, visualization of geo-tagged sound and images captured from daily life, and sonification of live Twitter data. Roles are shifting Mobile music is fundamentally blurring the conventions of traditional music-making—it asks us: who are the music makers? Can anyone make music? What does it mean to consume this type of user-created music? Where might that interaction take place, and when? And just how deliberate does the act of making music need to be (or need not to be)?...

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...

Gesture and Morphology in Laptop Music Performance  

Garth Paine

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

...Cascone, a recognized exponent of laptop music performance, commented that “if computers are simply the repositories of intellectual property, then musical composition and its performance are now also located in this virtual space. The composer transfers his or her mental work into the computer, and it is brought to life by interacting with it through the interface of a software application” (2000, p. 95). For Cascone and others, a laptop music performance presents a dichotomy by which the virtualization of the sonification-excitation mechanism and the subsequent ...

Origins of Algorithmic Thinking in Music  

Nick Collins

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

...feed not just data to a Brain [computer], but cultural things! He wants to play music to it!’ ( Hodges 2012 , 251). In as much as computer-era algorithmic composition is one manifestation of radical experimental music technique, we might go on to consider many further precedents through novel compositional ideas. Lejaren Hiller points to mappings from data to music, such as Renaissance ‘eye music’ experiments as early graphical scores, and Charles Ives’s 1907 baseball game sonification ( Hiller and Isaacson 1979 , 47–48): ‘notes set on paper like men on a football...

The Body as Musical Instrument  

Atau Tanaka and Marco Donnarumma

Online publication date:
Jul 2018

...signal receivers, for performers to “tune in.” This list of sound sources includes what Cage described as “Body” to join the sonification of communication waves and urban activity. David Tudor’s Rain Forest (1968), while not explicitly using body signals, perhaps demonstrates the environmental links imagined at the time between technology and the surrounding world. In Rain Forest , sound transformations, of the sort inspired by electronic music, were realized without the use of electronics and instead by transmitting sound sources through resonant physical materials...

Algorithmic Synesthesia  

Noam Sagiv, Roger T. Dean, and Freya Bailes

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

...sonification. Contemporary Music Review 25(4): 311–327. Eitan, Z., and R. Y. Granot. 2006. How music moves: Musical parameters and listeners' images of motion. Music Perception 23:221–247. Galeyev, B. M. 1988. The Fire of “Prometheus”: Music-kinetic art experiments in the USSR. Leonardo 21(4): 383–396. Hubbard, E. M., and V. S. Ramachandran. 2005. Neurocognitive mechanisms of synesthesia. Neuron 48(3): 509–520. Ione, A., and C. Tyler. 2003. Neurohistory and the arts. Was Kandinsky a synesthete? Journal of the History of the Neurosciences 12(2): 223–226...

Sonic Interactions in Multimodal Environments: An Overview  

Stefania Serafin

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

...disciplines where sound has played an important role. Within human–computer studies, auditory display and sonification have been topics of interest for a couple of decades. In sound and music computing, researchers have moved away from the mere engineering reproduction of existing musical instruments and everyday sounds in a passive context, toward investigating principles and methods to design and evaluate sonic interactive systems. This is considered by the Sound and Music Computing Research Roadmap to be one of the most promising areas for research and experimentation...

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