To explore intersections of art and science is to acknowledge that there are differing degrees of knowing, understanding and experience. This article describes three data sonification projects the author worked on using datasets from researchers. The sonifications were created to be used within scientifically informed musical performances by Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart. The projects posed particular design challenges for the author as he sought to create “data art” that had “sonification integrity.”
Ever since 1819, when Theophile Laënnec first put a block of wood to a patient's chest in order to listen to her heartbeat, physicians have used auscultation to help diagnose cardiopulmonary disorders. Here the authors describe a novel diagnostic method based in music technology. Digital music-synthesis software is used to transform the sequence of time intervals between consecutive heartbeats into an electroacoustic soundtrack. The results show promise as a diagnostic tool and also provide the basis of an interesting musical soundscape.