An Introduction to Data Sonification

David Worrall

in The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199792030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

An Introduction to Data Sonification


This article presents a pragmatic introduction to data sonification. Its aim is to provide an understanding of the origins and conceptual issues involved in this young, interdisciplinary, and quickly evolving discipline. It begins by summarizing different ways sonification has been defined, the types and classifications of data that it attempts to represent with sound, and how these representations perform under the pressure of real-world usage. It also discusses continuous data representations (CDRs) that treat data as analogically continuous. They rely on two preconditions: an equally spaced metric in at least one dimension and sufficient data to afford a high enough sampling rate for aural interpolation between data points. Most commonly, CDRs are used for exploring data to learn more about the system that produced it. The need for better tools for data sonification is raised and leads to discussion of the value of collaborative research and a reflection on the relationship between music sound and science.

Keywords: data sonification; continuous data representations; collaborative research; music sound; science

Article.  10017 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music

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