What is sonification?

Think of visualization: you take data of some kind and make compelling pictures with it. The information is translated into size, shape, color, height, etc.

Now think of visualizing for the ears.

Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to represent information: you take data of some kind and create sound with it. The information is translated into pitch, volume, stereo position, brightness, etc.

I like to think of it as finding the music in science.


Why do this?

The same reason anyone does anything: I like it.

Beyond that, scientists increasingly find themselves relying on multi-media to communicate their work to uneducated audiences, whether they be students, colleagues, or potential funders.

Sound is dynamic. It is the first sensation we process in an environment. It has an embrace that silent images don’t have on their own.

Sound has the potential to engage us, to inform us, to bring us into the world of the area we are studying.

I’ve had the privilege of interacting with some top researchers in a number of scientific fields.


Come visit the Borland Project Space (125 Borland) Weekdays 8:30-5:00. Browse, listen, and (hopefully) enjoy some examples of my work.

-Mark Ballora