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Pitch and Sonification

From: Gregory Kramer

I am often asked, when I speak about auditory display in general and
sonification (data controlled sound for purposes of monitoring and analysis),
how the non-linear perceptions of pitch, pitch ambiguities, and so on, effect
its usefulness as a display variable.

For most sonifications, absolute values are not an issue, _relationships_ and
_trends_ are.  As such, the subtlety of the perceptual ambiguities is usually
absorbed, I think, by display ambiguities.  This is not true, I suspect, for
all tasks.  Our acute perception of pitch, or its wide range, or its surfeit
of JND's, or however you may care to think of it, makes it an excellent
display medium for minute variations.  In some cases it may important to
design a display to accomodate (via data scaling, or whatever) for frequency
to perceived pitch nonlinearities.

I bring this up in the context of this discussion to point out that much of
the knowledge gained in the cited research has an emerging application,
sonification, in addition to that most often mentioned, ie. music.

Gregory Kramer
Clarity/Santa Fe Institute
Nelson Lane
Garrison, NY  10524
fax: 914-424-3467
email: kramer@santafe.edu