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Sonification – experimental off-topic

posted on #1
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I sometimes follow up on ideas that are way off the beaten path and this is one of them.

I have recently experimented with sonification, basically the translation of non-audio information into sound.
In a business setting one application may be to create a beat (rhythm and/or sound) that represents the smooth running of the business to which additional sounds are added as negative events (loss of a customer, collegues sick etc.) take place.

The result of this would be a benchmark sound that represents “all is well” versus a sound that signifies “problem”, rather like an engineer listens to a machine to determine if it`s running smootly rather than looking at technical data.

Still with me?

So this new idea came up in a discussion with another loopie. Can we create a collection of different 20 second soundbites that represent a “good day” and a “bad day”? How would loopies sonify their personal well-being when limited by a 20 second rule? Would the soundbite be focused on a particular instrument, a beat, a combination…..?

I have posted this here before actually uploading any tracks because I wanted to first wanted to find out what the community thinks of the idea (apart from the fact that it`s a mad and bonkers idea 😊 )

One additional potential outcome could be the creation of a wikiloops mood collection that everyone can use for their own purposes when creating loop mixes

Any thoughts?
(Heavy stuff, I know)
posted on #2
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Fascinating idea. Is it your thought to interpret this non-audio information subjectively as a musician, or to collect raw data and translate it through some sort of mathematical process into sound? As I'm sure you know, this latter process has been experimented with -- the "sound" of planets in their orbits, even the music that can be extracted from DNA gene sequences.
posted on #3
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Oh no, the idea would be to let everyone contribute their own 20 second segment. I just think it would be interesting to create a loopie catalogue of 'feel good' or 'feel bad' loops. Just think of the many different instruments, sounds, effects, beats people might use as their mood signal.
posted on #4
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Hey MySounds :)
That's not just a nice idea, its a bunch of ideas, and since you asked for opinions, here's mine:

I'd say, "sonifying" some kind of data to be able to hear the state of some application (of course me thinks of turning the wikiloops visitor flow into sound, first) is interesting. Me thinks, different metrics like "currently online users", "servers CPU load" and "database load" might be represented by different sounds, or one could increase speed tied to one of the metrics (many visitors = quick tempo).
Now, let's think this thru a little:
Assumed there was a beat resembling the number of visitors, that could be varied in speed,
and there was a bassline resembling the system load, then one would ideally need a bassline that can be adjusted in tempo so it matches the drums at all times. So, if tempo is out of bounds, you may say little CPU load is resembled by the low E, and increase the bass rootnote as the CPU load rises. That could work, BUT...
If you want to integrate a third permanent metric, let's say database load represented by guitar and would let the guitar respond by shifting notes as well, your statistic would sound bad most of the time, simply because your notes don't harmonize.
If your stats read
500 visitors per minute -> 145 BPM
10% cpu load -> Bass is on F
25% database load -> guitar is on G#
then that might sound really bad, see what I mean?
So, maybe another approach that would workaround any disharmonic experiences would be to map the "loads" not on notes, but to note-lengths, then that might be interesting :) Just let the bass switch between full notes, halfs and quarters, 8ths, 16ths etc to indicate what is going on,
that might give you one song that gets faster and slower, and more or less hectic on bass and or guitar - and you could lean back and say: "yeah that's a quite fast tune right there, but look, the bass is all calm, all is good." :)

I also like the idea of incorporating extra sounds for certain events, applied to wikiloops one could include a cheer when someone supports wikiloops, or some sound when a new track has been uploaded, a little "bling" whenever someone gives a thumbs up... sure, that'd be cool, too.

Now, where I was left puzzled was your idea to have a lot of people record their positive or negative sounds.
I'd agree that it'd be interesting to have some sort of mood declaration on wikiloops tracks, but I don't really get how you'd want to use the desired collection to sonify some sort of data.
If you programmed something that implemented a logic like "if event A happens, play a random sound from the "positive mood" collection", then the audible result would be much harder to interpret, and you have little chance to have some sort of musical result -
if you'd collect vocals only that might sound like a live audience going "boo" and cheering "yay" depending on what happens.
If you do allow/ask for instruments, you may find that some feel very positive about quite harsh sounds, which may not be interpreted as positive signals... hope you see what I'm trying to point at :)
posted on #5
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Different modes are often used to express feelings if you know the scale & key you can join in. Many Korean shows in some parts will use just a piano I can often tell whats happing by the backing track without seeing the video. Classic Chinese operas during speaking parts will often use different percussive instruments thinking is usually a tic tic sound then a cymbal that changes pitch upward when they get a idea using percussion you can add almost anything.
posted on #6
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what an interesting discussion :) I think music is something that is an inate part of being and it is woven through our lives so deeply that certain songs can take us directly back to a moment in time and rekindle thoughts and feelings and emotions. It is very powerful but also can bring healing, it can be calming and soothing, or can lift mood and reduce stress, bringing happy or sad memories and also be a means of escape. For me, music is like breathing... it is the very oxygen that sparks my life. The Loops is an amazing thing almost with a life of it's own in that you never know where a track will take you :) What an adventure !
Edited by Shi on Mai 14 2022 18:44
posted on #7
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Here I answer to the first discussion point "Sonification". I think our Waterval experience with sonification of audio data might add something to this discussion.

In order to convert non-audio information into sound, "translators" are needed. How can I translate "table" into grades?

Methods may be infinite, but rules are needed. The easiest way is via the alphabet. Letters can be made audible via appropriate octave repetitions and the use of easily processable midi tone numbers. If we also classify these, we can arrive at note values. A second external translation system is helpful, here Morse, which encodes letters in different “lengths” and produces a rhythm.

But emotions are missing from this music and they are not evoked either. Therefore, "human" post-processing wanted to correct something in the mix.
As an example we take the welcome text from Wikiloops: wikiloops.com is a meetingplace... which was implemented in track #239095. Make up your own mind :)
posted on #8
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Yes. Lots of ideas!

I try to simplify basic feelings by relating sounds to color qualities and emojis

Bright :-)

Grey :-|

Dark :-(

Vivid :-D

In a few seconds it is easy to expose a feeling
Edited by josepssv on Mai 16 2022 15:24
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