, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 213–222 | Cite as

Aesthetic strategies in sonification

  • Florian GrondEmail author
  • Thomas Hermann
Original Article


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.


Sonification Aesthetics Historic context 



Some historic aspects mentioned in this article have been published by the first author together with Theresa Schubert-Minski in the book see this sound Grond and Schubert-Minski (2009). The authors want to acknowledge further fruitful discussions with the participants of the Science by Ear symposium February 2010 in Graz. Finally, these thoughts were evaluated and compiled after integrating the important feedback from the sonification symposium March 2010 in Aix-en-Provence.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CITEC Cognitive Interaction Technology Centre of ExcellenceBielefeld UniversityBielefedGermany

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