[talks] K Wolf generals

Melissa M. Lawson mml at CS.Princeton.EDU
Thu May 2 13:50:38 EDT 2013

KatieAnna Wolf will present her research seminar/general exam on Wednesday May 8 
at 2PM in Room 402.  The members of her committee are:  Rebecca Fiebrink, advisor, 
Adam Finkelstein, and Szymon Rusinkiewicz.  Everyone is invited to attend her 
talk and those faculty wishing to remain for the oral exam following are 
welcome to do so.  Her abstract and reading list follow below.

Sonification refers to the technique of “rendering sound in response to data and interactions” (Hermann et al. 2011). Sonification has been used in both the field of auditory displays as a means of conveying information and the field of computer music as a form of music composition. While these two domains both use sonification to transform data to sound, their objectives are not the same. The goal of sonification in auditory displays is to render the sound in such a way that a trained listener is able to interpret the data based on the sound. In musical composition the goal of sonification is to create music, where the data does not necessarily need to be interpretable through the sound, and individual composers may have different objectives depending on their creative motivations. 

Toolkits have been developed to help support sonification for auditory displays by allowing users to input their own data and specify the mapping of the data to sound parameters. Tools related to supporting sonification for music composition have been limited to domain-specific data. The goal of our project is to make the process of creative sonification easier for composers by developing more general tools. To accomplish this goal we first seek to understand why people use sound (to convey information) and data (for musical compositions) as opposed to other mediums, and how they currently utilize tools and technologies to design sonifications. In this talk we present the motivations for using sound and data and review current sonification tools. We also present our own sonification tool,  SonNet, which supports music composition using computer network data. Through a pilot evaluation of SonNet with computer music composers we concluded that being able to understand the behaviour of the network data was an important step in developing musical sonifications. 

In addition to reviewing and gathering information on current creative sonification tools, we are conducting structured interviews with several computer music composers who have experience using data to drive their compositions. Through these interviews we intend to gather information on how composers actually utilize creative sonifications in their compositions and the challenges that composers face when working with data. We hope to gain insights into the relationship between the composers and the data, including why composers choose a certain set of data, how closely composers know the data, and what tools composers use to interact and learn about the data. By combining the analysis of these interviews with our work on domain-specific sonification applications and literature on creativity support tools we intend to develop sonification tools for composers as a step towards our goal of making creative sonification easier.

[1] T. Hermann, A. Hunt, and J. G. Neuhoff, editors. The Sonification Handbook. Logos Publishing House, 2011. (Chapters: 1-16)

[2] J. Lazar, J. Feng, and H. Hochheiser. Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction. John Wiley & Sons, 2010. (Chapters: 1-5, 7-11)

[3] M. Edwards. Algorithmic composition: Computational thinking in music. Communications of the ACM, 54(7):58-67, July 2011.

[4] R. Fiebrink, D. Trueman, C. Britt, M. Nagai, K. Kaczmarek, M. Early, M. Daniel, A. Hege, and P. R. Cook. Toward understanding human-computer interaction in composing the instrument. In Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, 2009.

[5] A. Hunt and M. M. Wanderley. Mapping performer parameters to synthesis engines. Organised Sound, 7:97-108, 2002.

[6] S. K. Lodha, D. Whitmore, M. Hansen, and E. Charp. Analysis and user evaluation of a musical-visual system: Does music make any difference? In Proceedings of the International Conference on Auditory Display, 2000.

[7] C. McKinney and A. Renaud. Leech: Bittorrent and music piracy sonication. In Proceedings of the Sound and Music Computing Conference, 2011.

[8] A. McLean and G. Wiggins. Computer Programming in the Creative Arts. In Computers and Creativity, pages 235-252. Springer, 2012.

[9] B. Shneiderman. Creating creativity: User interfaces for supporting innovation. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 7(1):114-138, 2000.

[10] B. N. Walker and J. T. Cothran. Sonification sandbox: A graphical toolkit for auditory graphs. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Auditory Display, 2003.

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