Listen: A data sonification toolkit

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Wilson, Catherine M
Lodha, Suresh K
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Data sonification is the representation of data using sound. Although data sonification has been a subject of research for the last fifteen years, much remains to be learned about how data should be mapped to sound, what constitutes a good mapping, what kinds of data can be meaningfully sonified, what attributes of data can be meaningfully sonified, and how sonification should be combined with visualization. On the basis of the work done so far, we expect that sonification will soon be used routinely in scientific visualization. In order to encourage the incorporation of sonification into the research environment, a flexible, adaptable, extensible, portable, and interactive toolkit is needed. A primary goal in the design of Listen was to provide such a toolkit for use in exploring data of any type. Listen, is an object-oriented, modular system. It provides incremental functionality; researchers can begin using sonification with a minimum investment of time and resources. Once sonification has proven its value, researchers can implement more sophisticated capabilities. Listen can be easily adapted by the user to a particular environment and extended when additional functionality is required. A key feature of Listen is that it can be easily incorporated into an existing visualization system. Some key words in this essay are sonification, visualization, interactive, portable, and MIDI.
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