Skip to main content

Embodied Aesthetics in Auditory Display

  • Stephen Roddy (a1) and Dermot Furlong (a2)

Aesthetics are gaining increasing recognition as an important topic in auditory display. This article looks to embodied cognition to provide an aesthetic framework for auditory display design. It calls for a serious rethinking of the relationship between aesthetics and meaning-making in order to tackle the mapping problem which has resulted from historically positivistic and disembodied approaches within the field. Arguments for an embodied aesthetic framework are presented. An early example is considered and suggestions for further research on the road to an embodied aesthetics are proposed. Finally a closing discussion considers the merits of this approach to solving the mapping problem and designing more intuitively meaningful auditory displays.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Antle A.N., Corness G., Bakker S., Droumeva M., van den Hoven E., Bevans A. 2009. Designing to Support Reasoned Imagination through Embodied Metaphor. In Proceedings of the Conference on Creativity and Cognition. Berkeley, CA: ACM Press, 275–84.
Antle A.N., Corness G., Bevans A. 2011. Springboard: Designing Embodied Schema Based Embodied Interaction for an Abstract Domain. In D. England (ed.) Human-Computer Interaction Series: Whole Body Interaction 2011. Berlin: Springer.
Augst B. 1965. Descartes's Compendium on Music. Journal of the History of Ideas 26(1): 119132.
Barrass S. 2005. A Perceptual Framework for the Auditory Display of Scientific Data. ACM Transactions on Applied Perception (TAP) 2(4): 389402.
Barrass S. 2012. The Aesthetic Turn in Sonification Towards a Social and Cultural Medium. AI & Society 27(2): 177181.
Barrass S. 2013. ZiZi: The Affectionate Couch and the Interactive Affect Design Diagram. In K. Franinović and S. Serafin (eds.) Sonic Interaction Design. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Barrass S., Vickers P. 2011. Sonification Design and Aesthetics. In T. Hermann, A. Hunt and J.G. Neuhoff (eds.) The Sonification Handbook. Berlin: Logos.
Brand J., Hailey C. (eds.) 1997. Constructive Dissonance: Arnold Schoenberg and the Transformations of Twentieth-Century Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Brazil E., Fernström M. 2006. Investigating Concurrent Auditory Icon Recognition. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Auditory Display, London, UK.
Brazil E., Fernström M. 2011. Auditory Icons. In T. Hermann, A. Hunt and J.G. Neuhoff (eds.) The Sonification Handbook. Berlin: Logos.
Bregman A.S. 1994. Auditory Scene Analysis: The Perceptual Organization of Sound. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Childs E. 2002. Achorripsis: A Sonification of Probability Distributions. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Auditory Display, Kyoto, Japan.
Chion M. 1994. Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen. New York: Columbia University Press.
Damasio A. 2008. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. London: Random House.
Darcy W.J. 1994. The Metaphysics of Annihilation: Wagner, Schopenhauer, and the Ending of the ‘Ring’. Music Theory Spectrum 16(1): 140.
Degara N., Nagel F., Hermann T. 2013. SonEX: An Evaluation Exchange Framework for Reproducible Sonification. In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Auditory Display, Lodz, Poland.
Descartes R. 1647. Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dewey J. 1934. Art as Experience. New York: Minton, Balch and Company.
Diniz N., Deweppe A., Demey M., Leman M. 2010. A Framework for Music-Based Interactive Sonification. In The 16th International Conference on Auditory Display, Washington, DC, USA.
Diniz N., Coussement P., Deweppe A., Demey M., Leman M. 2012. An embodied Music Cognition Approach to Multilevel Interactive Sonification. Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces 5(3–4): 211219.
Dunn J., Clark M.A. 1999. Life Music: The Sonification of Proteins. Leonardo 32(1): 2532.
Fauconnier G., Turner M. 2002. The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities. New York: Basic Books.
Gardner H. 1987. The Mind's New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution. New York: Basic Books.
Gaver W.W. 1989. The SonicFinder: An Interface that Uses Auditory Icons. Human-Computer Interaction 4(1): 6794.
Gaver W.W. 1993. How Do We Hear in the World? Explorations of Ecological Acoustics. Ecological Psychology 5(4): 285313.
Goßman J. 2010. From Metaphor to Medium: Sonification as Extension of our Body. In The 16th International Conference on Auditory Display, Washington, DC, USA.
Grant M.J. 2005. Serial Music, Serial Aesthetics: Compositional Theory in Post-War Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Grond F., Berger J. 2011. Parameter Mapping Sonification. In T. Hermann, A. Hunt and J.G. Neuhoff (eds.) The Sonification Handbook. Berlin: Logos.
Hampe B., Grady J.E. 2005. From Perception to Meaning: Embodied-Schemas in Cognitive Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Harnad S. 1990. The Symbol Grounding Problem. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 42(1): 335346.
Hunt A., Kirk R. 2000. Mapping Strategies for Musical Performance. In M. Wanderley and M. Battier (eds.) Trends in Gestural Control of Music. Paris: IRCAM – Centre Pompidou.
Husserl E. 1931. Ideas, trans. W.R. Boyce Gibson. London: George Allen & Unwin.
Imaz M., Benyon D. 2007. Designing with Blends: Conceptual Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction and Software Engineering Methods. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Johnson M. 1987. The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Johnson M. 2007. The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Kane B. 2007. L'Objet Sonore Maintenant: Pierre Schaeffer, Sound Objects and the Phenomenological Reduction. Organised Sound 12(1): 1524.
Kant I. 1929. Critique of Pure Reason, trans N.K. Smith. New York: St Martin's Press, 1965.
Lakoff G., Johnson M. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Lakoff G., Johnson M. 1999. Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books.
Lakoff G., Espenson J., Goldberg A., Schwartz A. 1991. Master Metaphor List. Manuscript (revised version). Berkeley: Cognitive Linguistics Group, University of California at Berkeley.
Leman M. 2008. Embodied Music: Cognition and Mediation Technology. Cambridge, MA: The Mit Press.
Leplâtre G., McGregor I. 2004. How to Tackle Auditory Interface Aesthetics? Discussion and Case Study. In Proceedings of the 10th Meeting of the International Conference on Auditory Display, Sydney, Australia.
Maes P.J., Leman M., Lesaffre M. 2010. A Model-Based Sonification System for Directional Movement Behavior. In Proceedings of the 3rd Interactive Sonification Workshop, Stockholm, Sweden.
Magee B. 1999. Confessions of a Philosopher: A Personal Journey through Western Philosophy from Plato to Popper. London: Random House.
McGilchrist I. 2009. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
McKinnon D. 2013. Dead Silence: Ecological Silencing and Environmentally Engaged Sound Art. Leonardo Music Journal 23.
Neuhoff J.G. (ed.) 2004. Ecological Psychoacoustics. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.
Neuhoff J.G., Heller L.M. 2005. One Small Step: Sound Sources and Events as the Basis for Auditory Graphs. In Proceedings of the 11th Meeting of the International Conference on Auditory Display, Limerick, Ireland.
O'Callaghan C. 2010. Sounds and Events. In C. O'Callaghan and M. Nudds (eds.) Sounds and Perception: New Philosophical Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Quinn M. 2001. Research Set to Music: The Climate Symphony and Other Sonifications of Ice Core, Radar, DNA, Seismic, and Solar Wind Data. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Auditory Display, Espoo, Finland.
Roads C. 1996. The Computer Music Tutorial. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Roddy S., Furlong D. 2013a. Embodied Cognition in Auditory Display. In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Auditory Display, Lodz, Poland.
Roddy S., Furlong D. 2013b. Rethinking the Transmission Medium in Live Computer Music. Paper presented at the third Irish Sound Science and Technology Convocation. Available at:
Rosch E. 1999. Principles of Categorization. In E. Margolis and S. Laurence (eds.) Concepts: Core Readings. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Schopenhauer A. 1884. The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1, trans. E.F.J. Payne. New York: Dover, 1969.
Searle J.R. 2004. Mind: A Brief Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Steels L. 2008. The Symbol Grounding Problem Has Been Solved. So What's Next? In M. de Vega (ed.) Symbols and Embodiment: Debates on Meaning and Cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Terrugi D. 2007. Technology and Musique Concrète: The Technical Developments of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales and Their Implication in Musical Composition. Organised Sound 12(3): 213231.
Todes S. 2001. Body and World. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Tolentino L., Birchfield D., Megowan-Romanowicz C., Johnson-Glenberg M.C., Kelliher A., Martinez C. 2009. Teaching and Learning in the Mixed-Reality Science Classroom. Journal of Science Education and Technology 18(6): 501507.
Uttal W.R. 2004. Dualism: The Original Sin of Cognitivism. London: Routledge.
Varela F.J., Thompson E.T., Rosch E. 1991. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Vickers P., Hogg B. 2006. Sonification Abstraite/Sonification Concrète: An ‘Aesthetic Perspective Space’ for Classifying Auditory Displays in the Ars Musica Domain. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Auditory Display, London, UK.
Wakkary R., Hatala M., Lovell R., Droumeva M. 2005. An Ambient Intelligence Platform for Physical Play. In Proceedings of the 13th Annual ACM International Conference on Multimedia, Singapore, 764–73.
Walker B.N., Kramer G. 2004. Ecological Psychoacoustics and Auditory Displays: Hearing, Grouping, and Meaning Making. In J. Neuhoff (ed.) Ecological Psychoacoustics. New York: Academic Press.
Walker B.N., Kramer G. 2005. Mappings and Metaphors in Auditory Displays: An Experimental Assessment. ACM Transactions on Applied Perception (TAP) 2(4): 407–12.
Walker B.N., Nees M.A. 2011. Theory of Sonification. In T. Hermann, A. Hunt and J.G. Neuhoff (eds.) The Sonification Handbook. Berlin: Logos.
Worrall D. 2010. Parameter Mapping Sonic Articulation and the Perceiving Body. In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Auditory Display, Washington, DC, USA.
Worrall D. 2011. A Method for Developing an Improved Mapping Model for Data Sonification. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Auditory Display, Budapest, Hungary.
Worrall D. 2013. Understanding the Need for Micro-Gestural Inflections in Parameter-Mapping Sonification. In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Auditory Display, Lodz, Poland.
Xenakis I. 1985. Arts/Sciences: Alloys. New York: Pendragon Press.
Zbikowski L.M. 2005. Conceptualizing Music: Cognitive Structure, Theory, and Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zbikowski L.M. 2012. Music and Movement: A View from Cognitive Musicology. In S. Schroedter (ed.) Bewegungen zwischen Hören und Sehen: Denkbewegungen über Bewegungskünste. Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Organised Sound
  • ISSN: 1355-7718
  • EISSN: 1469-8153
  • URL: /core/journals/organised-sound
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 79 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 210 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.