Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

VJ Manzo, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Scott Barton, Reader

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Charlie Roberts, Reader

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Jennifer deWinter, Department Head




Sonification is the process of mapping non-musical data to sound. The field is comprised of three key areas of research: (1) psychological research in perception and cognition, (2) the development of tools, and (3) sonification design and application. The goals of this research were twofold: (1) To provide insights to the development of sonification tools within the programming environment Max for use in further sonification/interdisciplinary research, as well as (2) provide a framework for a musical sonification system. The sonification system discussed was developed to audify spectrometry data, with the purpose of better understanding how multi-purpose systems can be easily modified to suit a particular need. Since all sonification systems may become context specific to the data they audify, a system was developed in the programming language Max that is both modular and responsive to the parameterization of data to create musical outcomes. The trends and phenomena of spectral data in the field of spectroscopy are plotted musically through the system and further enhanced by processes that associate descriptors of said data with compositional idioms, rhythmically, melodically, and harmonically. This process was achieved in Max by creating a modular system that handles the importing and formatting of spectral data (or any data in an array format) to send that data to a variety of subprograms for sonification. Subprograms handle timing and duration, diatonic melody, harmony, and timbral aspects including synthesis and audio effects. These systems are accessible both at a high level for novice users, as well as within the Max environment for more nuanced modification to support further research.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Interactive Media and Game Development

Project Type


Date Accepted





Max, Music Technology, Sonification, Spectrometer, Spectroscopy