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Proceedings Paper

The sound manifesto
Author(s): Michael J. O'Donnell; Ilia Bisnovatyi
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Paper Abstract

Computing practice today depends on visual output to drive almost all user interaction. Other senses, such as audition, may be totally neglected, or used tangentially, or used in highly restricted specialized ways. We have excellent audio rendering through D-A conversion, but we lack rich general facilities for modeling and manipulating sound comparable in quality and flexibility to graphics. We need coordinated research in several disciplines to improve the use of sound as an interactive information channel. Incremental and separate improvements in synthesis, analysis, speech processing, audiology, acoustics, music, etc. will not alone produce the radical progress that we seek in sonic practice. We also need to create a new central topic of study in digital audio research. The new topic will assimilate the contributions of different disciplines on a common foundation. The key central concept that we lack is sound as a general-purpose information channel. We must investigate the structure of this information channel, which is driven by the cooperative development of auditory perception and physical sound production. Particular audible encodings, such as speech and music, illuminate sonic information by example, but they are no more sufficient for a characterization than typography is sufficient for characterization of visual information. To develop this new conceptual topic of sonic information structure, we need to integrate insights from a number of different disciplines that deal with sound. In particular, we need to coordinate central and foundational studies of the representational models of sound with specific applications that illuminate the good and bad qualities of these models. Each natural or artificial process that generates informative sound, and each perceptual mechanism that derives information from sound, will teach us something about the right structure to attribute to the sound itself. The new Sound topic will combine the work of computer scientists with that of numerical mathematicians studying sonification, psychologists, linguists, bioacousticians, and musicians to illuminate the structure of sound from different angles. Each of these disciplines deals with the use of sound to carry a different sort of information, under different requirements and constraints. By combining their insights, we can learn to understand of the structure of sound in general.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 November 2000
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4109, Critical Technologies for the Future of Computing, (17 November 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.409214
Show Author Affiliations
Michael J. O'Donnell, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
Ilia Bisnovatyi, Univ. of Chicago (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4109:
Critical Technologies for the Future of Computing
Sunny Bains; Leo J. Irakliotis, Editor(s)

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