Musical Borrowing in Sonification
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Sonification presents some challenges in communicating information, particularly because of the large difference between possible data to sound mappings and cognitively valid mappings. It is an information transmission process which can be described through the Shannon-Weaver Theory of Mathematical Communication. Musical borrowing is proposed as a method in sonification which can aid the information transmission process as the composer’s and listener’s shared musical knowledge is used. This article describes the compositional process of Wasgiischwashäsch (2017) which uses Rossini’s William Tell Overture (1829) to sonify datasets relating to climate change in Switzerland. It concludes that the familiarity of audiences with the original piece, and the humorous effect produced by the distortion of a well-known piece, contribute to a more effective transmission process.
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