Created by transcoding/sonifying a data set of the energy distribution of rock schist under slow compression. Composed for the Sounds of Matter: Call4Sounds competition (

This music is inspired by the poetic nature in which Ferroic materials break. The semi-crystalline structure of Ferroic materials and their mathematically predictable, and subsequently functional, structural failures, find strong corollaries with music’s use of semi-symmetric pitch and rhythmic entities to create patterns of tension and release. Beyond this larger formal homology, all of the sounds in the piece were created by sonifying a data set of the energy distribution over time of a slow compression experiment on schist. With the data stored as a normalized audio buffer, I created pitched, percussive, and ambient sounds by taking the sine of data values accumulated at audio sampling rate. Ultimately, I leveraged the data to produce the overtone series of several low frequencies. Given the fractal nature of the data, this resulted in repeated melodic structures, such as the descending ½-step, descending fifth, ascending whole-step motif heard in the second section. Subsequent wave shaping, variable playback rates, and frequency modulation were used to create different timbres. The power-law distribution of the data was particularly suitable for creating the crashing/rending sounds heard in the first section. The data was also transcoded into spectral information and used to drive a subtractive synthesis process.

Although my main concerns and objectives for this music were artistic and aesthetic, I hope this music will also aid in the researcher’s goals of understanding the dynamics of domain walls in Ferroic materials and the mechanisms that lead to their functionality.


EP of ambient music made using my webcam as the input/instrument.

EP of ambient music made using my webcam as the input/instrument.

Up With the Lark (2016) - Barbie Diewald

Cave for Solo Double Bass, Interactive Electronics, and Video (2013)