Financial Times’ Data Visualization Editor Alan Smith let us know about some new work they’ve been doing to explore using data sonification to create generative soundtracks for data visualizations.
He also shared a video, embedded above, that explains their approach to creating a soundtrack to an animated data visualization of 40 years of US economic data, using the data itself to trigger vocals and music.
Smith cites two main reasons for their interest in data sonificication: making the visuals more memorable, by communicating information in multiple ways; and making animations accessible to readers with visual disabilities.
- Historical yield curve data are freely available from the US Treasury.
- The data animation was created using the open source data visualization library D3.js, with WebMidi.js generating simultaneous MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) note messages.
- Apple’s Logic Pro X was used for sound generation.
You can see additional details, along with the final visualization, at the Financial Times site.