Sonification & sounds from data

‘Sonfication is about discovery, not justification’.

I was recently impressed by reviewing the sort of “stellar sonogram” video below, and had never imagined how this topic, which I thought of mainly as a creative distraction, is so highly formalized in the scientific community.
That said, I’d like to open a space for posting everything about this discipline and practice: experiments, readings, sound samples, ideas, etc.
Obviously, I think of VCVRack outcomes on top of that!


Have a look at Virtual ANS. This guy makes great software.

I’ve imported JPG/PNGs into this for ‘outer spacey’ sounds :slight_smile:



Nice, thank you! It resembles iZotope Iris interface, at first sight, I’ll go and have a look at it asap!

Sonification is a relatively new area. A colleague of mine is one of the principal leaders in the field, and former president of ICAD - look it up. He has written a serious text on the subject - contact me for details if interested (to avoid a commercial post). Most people doing sonification work use csound and python and similar.

Part of the idea of sonification is to find patterns in very large datasets that are hard if not impossible to see through statistics, graphing, and numerical analysis, relying on the remarkable auditory abilites we have developed over millions of years evolution.

I’m not sure if this forum is the best place to discuss such an in-depth specialist subject area, and I’m not sure that VCV Rack and modular synths have much to offer in that area.

You can find resources through here:

Of course, you can always turn this scientific research into art - noting stopping you!


@andrew.bernard Thanks for your answer and informed opinion!
I just started up to study and get a deeper sense of what’s involved in the term “sonification”, which I got only a superficial idea on, having encountered it at first with relation to musical and artistic expressions. Just think that in sound design practice we know the term is also simply referred to the practice of adding sound effects or musical comment to a silent media, be it for demoing or production purposes! A mainly aesthetical outcome is also the case of the NASA example, in my opinion; it does surely implies informational content, but the algorythm is simple and it mainly impress us for its pleasant acoustic outcome.

So, your note confirm the impression I tried to express in my brief topic description, that I was missing the dense scientific measure of this field of study. I may say that musical or aesthetical approaches are only a little part or, better, a peculiar, even marginal, application of a discipline that is rooting on solid scientific principles. I can definitely see a big jump in scale and context, when looking at the strict scientific etimology of the term sonification.

Whereas the purely expressive goal tends to simplify the algorithmics and target a direct analogic derivation more or less matching some common listening patterns, I see that the scientific studies are developing an incredible complexity of formal algorhytms (“operators”) and high-formalized analytical interpretations of big data set. Also, I understand that the “sonificated” data try to convey additional and deeper pure informational content, with respect to the same data being interpeted.

At the moment, following the ICAD resources you kindly pointed me to, I have been able to download this “handbook” (it’s 586 pages long!) to get some deeper grasp on the topic. I’ll try to give it a reading… while also having fun with generative experiments with modular music in my little spare time. :slight_smile: Real thing is, there are so much fascinating concepts and disciplines in the acoustic realm, and there are already at least as many Rack modules popping up in the meantime…

Thanks again, best!

I am sure in the last months (tnx to this community) I had found one module that generates audio from a jpg/png…but I can’t find it no more, I’m pretty sure it was not in the official library :expressionless:

take a look also here Anyone have a video oscillator? Reaper maybe?

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Emile from Bidoo


Old post and topic. But I found the video below, and I thinks it clearly and neatly makes the point about the topic, and also about the perspective and questions submitted it in my initial post.

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You might find Brian Foo work interesting, he does amazing work sonifying databases