Sonification is the process of using sound to represent information or scientific data, for example. With the accelerated publishing of data and implementation of application programming interfaces (API), we have access to every type of data imaginable, and the ability to create our very own data streams, accessible to all.

Cryptocurrencies need no introduction, suffice to say that crypto is something that’s currently of interest to me and I thought it would be cool to hear what the prices of various cryptocurrencies sounded like, as opposed to the normal charts and graphs used to visualise price movement.

In order to achieve the sonification I needed to pull data from various exchange API’s, then I would have to represent that data using sound. The most obvious relationship that could be created and used in this sonification is that of the price ($) to frequency (Hz), the higher the price the higher the frequency. The software used to produce sound is called Max by Cycling ’74. Sublime Text is used to run the Python script, which processes the API requests and writes to text files on the local device, read by Max and assigned a tone. Much of the Python script is adapted code from an online tutorial by YouTube channel CRI.

To make things interesting, eight cryptos were implemented, meaning that we can hear the combined signals simultaneously to create a unique sound that would change over time. Another sound option is to assign the price ($) to the sound loop interval (MS) to produce a pulse. The higher the price, the longer the interval. The choice of what cryptos to include was made based on whether or not It would be within the limits of human hearing, its popularity, and a couple of my own choices.

This particular clip was captured in August 2018. If I were to run the sonification again today (24th November 2018) and capture the exact same crypto selection, some of the prices have fallen below what would registered by our hearing, though a sub woofer would help.

Audio begins about one minute in. Hope this has been of some interest, and thanks for reading my first Trybe article.

Feel free to get in touch. Thanks.

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