Aquarium Fugue

Designing an interactive sonification system for educational exhibits...

Primary Skills:

Study Design

Data Collection & Analysis

Max/MSP and PureData

Sonification Principles

Music Technology

A fugue is traditionally defined as a type of musical composition where a theme is presented and then repeated by multiple voices that enter at different times. Taking from this classic sonic architecture, this spin-off research from the Accessible Aquarium project aims to develop an interactive component to the sonified dynamic aquarium scene. The goal is to allow users to play alongside the fish - harmonizing, echoing, or complementing the various melodies that the live fish will be producing through our system.

Aquarium Tank
A user moving a toy stingray to play the Aquarium Fugue game

From this research, we intend to understand more about the perceptual mechanisms underlying sonification mappings. How many notes should be presented in the vertical axis? Should the settings be any different for other users such as children? These are examples of the kinds of effects we are attempting to find.

Fugue Screenshot
Original mockup showing Kinect tracking, graphic rendering, and control interface

My role in the project has been distributed on many levels. I have been engaged as a research designer and tasked with planning experimental setups. I have served as a developer - coding systems and test scenarios in Max/MSP, PureData, and Processing. More recently, I have transitioned into a project coordinator role, combining aspects of research design, coding, and data analysis. This project was presented at the 2012 International Conference on Auditory Display.

Aquarium Room
Graphic showing the complex system composition for real-time tracking

Any future findings from this project will likely have a powerful two-way effect. First, we will learn more about the effective universal design of the prospective system itself. Second, we will achieve a greater understanding about how humans inherently map physical dimensions to sound parameters. It is our desire that these findings will combine with those from the Accessible Aquarium project to provide an informative and fully-encompassing harmony of the perceptual domains in which this project resides.

© Copyright 2014 Riley Winton