AI and Society 27 (2):213-222 (2012)

Abstract
Sound can be listened to in various ways and with different intentions. Multiple factors influence how and what we perceive when listening to sound. Sonification, the acoustic representation of data, is in essence just sound. It functions as sonification only if we make sure to listen attentively in order to access the abstract information it contains. This is difficult to accomplish since sound always calls the listener’s attention to concrete—whether natural or musical—points of references. Important aspects determining how we listen to sonification are discussed in this paper: elicited sounds, repeated sounds, conceptual sounds, technologically mediated sounds, melodic sounds, familiar sounds, multimodal sounds and vocal sounds. We discuss how these aspects help the listener engage with the sound, but also how they can become points of reference in and of themselves. The various sonic qualities employed in sonification can potentially open but also risk closing doors to the accessibility and perceptibility of the sonified data
Keywords Sonification  Aesthetics  Historic context
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DOI 10.1007/s00146-011-0341-7
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