Workshop “Create music from (deep) space and Wall Street”


Did you ever wonder how the universe would sound like if you could hear it, what sounds can be derived from our financial markets and if it is possible to make music with them and if so how this can be practically done? In this workshop you will learn all about it and much more.

Central theme of the workshop is how abstract scientific data such as for example data originating from (deep)space (emitted by various astrophysical objects such as nebula, pulsars, stars,… ), our solar system (for example data from NASA’s GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental) Satellite,, or data coming from financial systems can be used in an innovative way to compose, perform music or create multimedia installations. To this end the focus will be put onto the two creative practices that make this possible: data sonification and interactive sound synthesis. With data sonification we hereby understand the rapidly expanding field of transforming any given numerical abstract data stream into sound. Interactive sound synthesis on the other hand encompasses all synthesis techniques where the generated sound is being influenced by one or more external data sources.

This two day workshop is organized into two sessions

Sesssion 1: 4 hours

In this first session you learn to get acquainted with the basic principles of data sonification and interactive sound synthesis and sound design. Data that will be used in the first day is static data. Using the open source software platforms Pure Data or Purr Data every student learns to build his or her own synthesizer. Subsequently he or she learns to enable the synthesizer to be connected to various external data sources. We will work with data from NASA’s GOES satellite as a concrete working case.

Concrete program:

  • Background and general introduction to data sonification
  • General introduction/basics of Pure Data
  • Gathering data to be used for sonification
  • Perform offline sonification of data

Sesssion 2: 4 hours

The second day of the workshop is based around the use of online data and the use of the techniques for musical artistic purposes. You learn to work with online data streams. Subsequently each student learns how to transform these data streams in to artistically meaningful sound (scapes) and music using the right data sonification techniques. The techniques from the first session will serve here as a starting point.

Concrete program:

  • Developing sonification strategies/instruments for artistic purposes
  • Introduction to processing and OSC (open sound control) protocol for data streams
  • Capturing, processing and transferring online data streams to Pure Data
  • Sonification of online data streams

All techniques and methods in this workshop are explained in a straightforward and practical way. In doing so this will enable each student afterwards to seamless integrate the knowledge he or acquired int the workshop into his or her own creative practice.

The workshop is open to everyone. Open to novices, curious minds, musicians, sound sculptors, artists, scientists,… No experience or technical pre knowledge required. All the concepts and methods in this workshop will be explained in a hands on and practical way.

Requirements for this workshop:



  • Puckette, M. (2007) The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music.
  • Farnell, A. (2011) Designing Sound.
  • Kreidler, J. (2009) Programming Electronic Music in Pd.
  • Boulanger R. (2001) The C Sound Book. Perspectives in software synthesis, sound design, signal processing and programming. The MIT Press
  • Welsh, F. (2006) Welsh’ Synthesizer Cookbook
  • Welsh, F. (2010) Welsh’ Synthesizer Cookbook, Vol2 (Harmonic Catalogue).
  • Vermeulen, V. (2014) Affective Computing, Biofeedback and Psychofysiology as New Ways for Music Composition and Performance. In: eContact! 16.3 Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium 2013. Link:
    Vermeulen, V. (2012) The EMO-Synth, An Emotion Driven Music Generator. In: eContact! 14.2 Biotechnological Performance Practice. Link:


Practical details:

Duration of the workshop (8 hours total)

-If you would like to have more info on the workshop please send an email to