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John E. Bower Department of Music Sonification and Data Representation.

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1 John E. Bower Department of Music Sonification and Data Representation

2 Sonification Concept Tools Implementation

3 Sonification is the representation of some data through metaphorical structures of sound Absolute, quantitative data is interpreted qualitatively The ideal is overt, but reticent immediacy and clarity of message Interpreting the realization can be a learned activity A successful sonification should efficiently convey the metrics of the source data without an inappropriate amount of user fatigue Concept

4 Ambient Device’s Orb

5 Concept John Hancock Building Boston, Mass.

6 Michael Winslow? Tools

7 Progeny from the Music-N languages developed by Max Mathews et al at Bell Labs, Princeton, and Stanford Universites in the 1960s Csound evolves in the 1980s under Barry Vercoe at M.I.T. Freeware GNU LGPL Runs on most every platform, from an Amiga to a Sharp Zire Proprietary “assembly” language “Batch” processing paradigm: sound is rendered from a pair of text files, one denoting user-designed “patches”, the other the parameters to inform those patches Most mature computer music app with close to 500 opcodes Not ideal for real-time use Csound

8 Original author: Miller Puckette Initially developed at IRCAM, Paris Available commercially as Max/MSP for Mac/Win32 jMax is the open-source (GNU GPL) version implemented in Java with a C-based rendering engine for OSX, Linux, Win32, IRIX Created specifically for real-time use Graphical “programming” paradigm Extensible by external C plugins Well-supported and used by musicians, media artists, clinicians, architects, etc. “Clone” app, PD (Pure Data), by Puckette available as an open-source app for OSX/Linux/IRIX/Win32 Max/MSP | jMax

9 Max “graphical” patch

10 Original author: James McCartney Originally a commercial app; open-source (GPL) with SuperCollider3 Available for OSX/Linux; Win32 port somewhat likely Object-oriented programming language based upon Smalltalk but with C language family syntax Ideal for real-time use Operates on a distributive paradigm (not shared-memory) facillitated by OSC networking protocol Extensible with Smalltalk/Objective C classes, C++ plugins Arguably the most powerful/efficient language to date: “bleeding edge” Documentation? What’s documentation????? SuperCollider

11 Much like a musical composition, elements of a sonification may include: Pitch and register Rhythm and tempo Phrase and cadence Timbre and orchestration “Modality” Spatialisation The sonification may be overtly musical or ambient (musical or naturalistic) in design Implementation

12 Peep, a network “auralizer” by Michael Gilfix First presented in a paper at Usenix, 2000 Discrete events are mapped to short, naturalistic sounds; for instance, a user logging in may be represented by a cricket chirping Continuously variable states such as system load are mapped to continuous sounds like water or wind Peep Research: examples

13 Conducted by IBM Research Division’s David A. Rabenhorst et. al. System for complementary visualization and sonification of semiconductor models in the FIELDAY program Program examines any two of the electrostatic potential, electron concentration, and hole concentration of the model in complementary windows A 3D cursor navigates one window visually while the sonification generates sound based upon the 3D vector gradients of the chosen scalar field at the same focal point in the solid as displayed in the second, non-focused, window Allows the user to simultaneously concentrate on one data field visually and one aurally Research: examples IBM Research

14 The scalar data field is sonified by a musical triad with voice doubling on each individual component (six voices total) Each signed component of the 3D vector gradient maps to both the detuning and stereo location of a note in the triad Rough precision of each vector gradient (x, y, z) is measured by the panning (direction and intensity) of the doubled-tone, fine precision by the intonation difference (up to +- one semitone) between the two notes The three structural components of the triad are assigned sounds with different spectral characteristics to facilitate differentiation between the voices Static vector gradients have their volumes attenuated so they are not as present in the sonification as actively-changing gradients Research: examples IBM Research, continued

15 Tools developed at FSU by Myke Gluck for visualization/sonification of GIS data Tools are intended for general users One represents data through melodies that undergo variations in tempo, key, articulation, and embellishment Others utilize: Range depiction (pitch, volume, timbral quality: “brightness”) Multiple tones (octaves represent data classes, particular notes within an octave represent data values) Different musical scales (diatonic, pentatonic, etc.) Different chord qualities (major, minor, etc.) Research: examples Spatial Data Mining

16 Collaboration between biologist Mary Anne Clark and artist John Dunn at Texas Wesleyan University Sonification designed with the following: Alpha and beta regions of proteins differentiated by changes in instrumentation and/or pitch Pitch material determined by assigning a fixed pitch to each amino acid, or assigning pitch based on a frequency histogram of the amino acids with the more “consonant” intervals representing the most frequently occurring amino acids Register determined by the water solubility of the amino acids, with the most insoluble getting the lowest pitches, the most soluble the highest Research: examples Life Music: Protein Sonification

17 IBM’s Sonnet “visual” programming language for interface design. Possessed features for adding sound to interfaces to monitor data flow and limit GUI clutter. Used internally at IBM. Never materialized commercially? Spatialisation of air traffic data with aural cues for aircraft proximity, rate of approach, various “emergency” situations, etc. (NASA Ames Research Center) Various tools designed to monitor smog conditions in Los Angeles, Yellowstone forest-fire data; monitoring of patient blood oxygen level, blood pressure, and other vitals for operating theater use; sonification of nuclear power plant control room data; stock and other financial trends Research: examples Other research

18 Short user study of sonification examples, each utilizing a different means of interpreting data Indicate on the sheet your perception of either an increasing, decreasing, or unvarying metric for each example Please rate each example with a “fatigue” level from 1 to 10 as well as a clarity ranking from 1 to 10 At the end of the sheet, please indicate if you have demonstrable musical training Implementation

19 John E. Bower john.bower@duke.edu www.stillmovement.org Sonification and Data Representation


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