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The use of sonification as a means of representing and analysing data has become a growing field of research in recent years and as such has become a far more accepted means of working with data. Existing work carried out as part of this research has focused primarily on the sonification of DNA/RNA sequences and their subsequent protein structures for the purposes of analysis. This sonification work raised many questions as regards the need for sequences to be set to music in a standard manner so that different strands could be analysed by comparison, and hence the orchestration and instrumentation used became of great importance. The basic principles of sonification can be rapidly extended to include many different data elements within a single rendering, and thus the importance of orchestration grows accordingly. Existing work on the use of rhythmic parsing within a sonification had suggested that far more information could be represented when orchestrated in a rhythmic manner than when simply reconstituted in single musical block. The principle was further extended to include the allocation specific instruments and pitches within rhythmic patterns so that each sonic event would convey the data it was intended to represent. To this end a fictional database of employees in a company was created as a means of developing the principles required for more effective sonification through orchestration. The employee database was intended as a means of using a straightforward data set to analyse the effect of basic changes in instrumentation and orchestration rather than the data itself. The allocation of chord intervals or melodies to different data elements allowed the data to be represented in different ways at output in order that these differences would eventually highlight some form of framework for effective sonification of data sets with multiple elements.
Cullen, C. & Coyle, E. (2004) Orchestration within the Sonification of Basic Data Sets. ICAD 04:The 10th Meeting of the International Conference on Auditory Display, 2004.