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Data journalism

Sonification: make beautiful music with your data


What does data sound like?

There are two reasons why this can matter. Firstly, all these visuals are excluding anyone with any kind of visual disability from accessing them. Secondly we are always looking for new ways to visualise data. Sound opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

To make this process easier and better, we are launching TwoTone, a visual platform to turn data into sound. Produced with New York data design studio Datavized, you can upload datasets and then turn those datapoints into musical instruments.

Previously, to make data into music, you’d need to have expert coding skills. Now, anybody can do it.

It’s simple to use, and some of the tracks produced by the numbers can be strangely beautiful. Take this example of a ‘day in the life’ from Basque country. See if you can work out when people get up to go to work, or leave to come home, just from the sound of the data.

There are loads more examples here — The Datavized team have worked with open data sites from across the world to open up their datasets to the world of sonification. Here are some more key links:

What can you do with it?

Simon Rogers is Data Editor at Google and Director of the Data Journalism Awards

About Simon Rogers

Data journalist, writer, speaker. Author of 'Facts are Sacred', from Faber & Faber and a range of infographics for children books from Candlewick. Edited and launched the Guardian Datablog. Now works for Google in California as Data Editor and is Director of the Sigma awards for data journalism.



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About me

Data journalist, writer, speaker. Author of 'Facts are Sacred', published by Faber & Faber and a new range of infographics for children books from Candlewick. Data editor at Google, California. Formerly at Twitter, San Francisco. Created the Guardian Datablog. All opinions on this site are mine, not my employers'. Read more >>

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