Composing and Decomposing Electroacoustic Sonifications: Towards a Functional-Aesthetic Sonification Design Framework

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Tsuchiya, Takahiko
Freeman, Jason
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The field of sonification invites musicians and scientists for creating novel auditory interfaces. However, the opportunities for incorporating musical design ideas into general functional sonifications have been limited because of the transparency and communication issues with musical aesthetics. This research proposes a new design framework that facilitates the use of musical ideas as well as a transparent representation or conveyance of data, verified with two human subjects tests. An online listening test analyzes the effect of the structural elements of sound as well as a guided analytical listening to the perceptibility of data. A design test examines the range of variety the framework affords and how the design process is affected by functional and aesthetic design goals. The results indicate that the framework elements, such as the synthetic models and mapping destinations affect the perceptibility of data, with some contradictions between the designer's general strategies and the listener's responses. The analytical listening nor the listener's musical background show little statistical trends, but instead imply complex relationships of types of interpretations and the structural understanding. There are also several contrasting types in the design and listening processes which indicate different levels of structural transparency as well as the applicability of a wider variety of designs.
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