6 Sonification Techniques and Methods

In the meantime, various methods of sonification have emerged, of which those that are most frequently implemented are audification, parameter mapping, and model-based sonification.

Audification is the most direct form of conversion. In this case, data measurements are made audible via a loudspeaker directly after their conversion from digital to analog mode. The manipulation options primarily involve playback speed.

Parameter-mapping sonification assigns controllable sound features such as volume, pitch, spatial positioning, or filter characteristics, to different measured values. As is the case with audification, the data are played back sequentially.

The model-based sonification method (MBS) developed by Thomas Hermann of the Neuroinformatics Group at Bielefeld University enables major sonic complexity with freely selectable parameters that at the same time are readily comprehensible. In the process, high-dimension data-point clouds become virtual objects that when adequately stimulated create sound.

In terms of structure, this is similar to medical percussion, in which the auditory display does not occur sequentially along prescribed dimensions, but rather sheds light on the overall state of a complex data set. Interactive sonification is a recent development primarily associated with MBS. The concept on which it is based accounts above all for the fact that with the differing stimulation of real or virtual sound objects, one achieves different acoustic responses and thus a more differentiated impression. In an everyday situation, one might compare this to rapping on a melon in order to judge its degree of ripeness. In the case of digitally virtual objects, tangible desks should intuitively enable haptic access to interactive sonification.