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Title: Hearing Nano-Structures: A Case Study in Timbral Sonification

Hearing Nano-Structures: A Case Study in Timbral Sonification We explore the sonification of x-ray scattering data, which are two-dimensional arrays of intensity whose meaning is obscure and non-intuitive. Direct mapping of the experimental data into sound is found to produce timbral sonifications that, while sacrificing conventional aesthetic appeal, provide a rich auditory landscape for exploration. We discuss the optimization of sonification variables, and speculate on potential real-world applications. We have presented a case study of sonifying x-ray scattering data. Direct mapping of the two-dimensional intensity values of a scattering dataset into the two-dimensional matrix of a sonogram is a natural and information-preserving operation that creates rich sounds. Our work supports the notion that many problems in understanding rather abstract scientific datasets can be ameliorated by adding the auditory modality of sonification. We further emphasize that sonification need not be limited to time-series data: any data matrix is amenable. Timbral sonification is less obviously aesthetic, than tonal sonification, which generate melody, harmony, or rhythm. However these musical sonifications necessarily sacrifice information content for beauty. Timbral sonification is useful because the entire dataset is represented. Non-musicians can understand the data through the overall color of the sound; audio experts can extract more detailed insight by studying all the features of more » the sound. « less
Authors: ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:1037693
Report Number(s):BNL--96963-2012-CP
R&D Project: NC-001; TRN: US201207%%509
DOE Contract Number:DE-AC02-98CH10886
Resource Type:Conference
Resource Relation:Conference: 18th International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD2012); Atlanta, Georgia; 20120618 through 20120622
Research Org:Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) Center for Functional Nanomaterials
Sponsoring Org:USDOE SC OFFICE OF SCIENCE (SC)
Country of Publication:United States
Language:English
Subject: 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; AESTHETICS; COLOR; EXPLORATION; OPTIMIZATION; SCATTERING sonification; scattering; functional nanomaterials