Sonification techniques provide a well-documented methodology for auditory display of data, which can be particularly useful when combined with other display types for the presentation and analysis of complex data streams (including multidimensional data arrays). Creativity in sonification often becomes a function of the chosen mapping scheme, whereby deliberate specification of data mapping to auditory events provides opportunities to creative expression. Thus, such techniques can be used as part of the music creation process, if mapping strategies are carefully designed with specific musical outcomes in mind. Increasingly this particular type of sonification is therefore referred to as musification. However, the creative decision making process involved in designing these mapping strategies can by its nature compromise the presentation of the data in terms of accuracy, and perhaps in terms of overall utility. This article reviews an example of this work with both creative and utilitarian ends, and considers techniques for the evaluation of the success versus the utility that musification of complex biological or biomedical data might achieve, whilst maintaining the necessary integrity of the source data.
Note: this work builds on, and concludes, work which has previously been documented at two international conferences.(1) It therefore includes a certain amount of duplication from the respective papers involved but attempts to bring the findings together and address comments from peers at both events. The total amount of duplication is less than 20%, and the relevant papers are cited in the present article in the interests of full disclosure. The intention is not to repeat existing work but rather to tie it together in a complete package.
Williams, Duncan (2016) Utility Versus Creativity in Biomedical Musification. In: Journal of Creative Music Systems, Vol. 1, No. 1. Available at http://openmusiclibrary.org/article/986288/.