Welcome to Listen Live!

Listen Live is an internet radio station that plays a real time musical sonification of actual water data gathered at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

The Hubbard Brook Listen Live Radio Station plays the last four days (96 hours) of hourly water cycle data as music. The music is created by a process called sonification of data. The sonification maps specific elements of water data to specific musical instruments, as explained in the Audio Key, creating a kind of forest symphony. The listener can then hear the levels of water moving through the forest in precipitation, stream flow, soil water, evaporation and transpiration, as well as several of the drivers of the water cycle, including air temperature and wind. Each hour of data starting from oldest to most recent is played with a duration of 200 ms, so each day plays back in 4.8 seconds and all four days takes 19.2 seconds followed by a 2 second pause. The same musical phrase will repeat throughout the hour until until new hourly data are uploaded to the station and the oldest hour is dropped.

The player is optimized to run on most computer systems. If you experience technical difficulties, please go to the Play Options tab for other ways to access the Hubbard Brook Listen Live Radio Station.

Station Status:

Listeners: /

Audio Key

All sonifications use the following instruments and algorithms to translate the data into musical elements to create a forest symphony.  To create the rhythm of the music, every hourly data observation is played back at the rate of 200ms per hour. Every day therefore goes by in 4.8 seconds.

Data Instrument Comment Sample Sound
Temperature Flute Goes up and down on a daily basis, with warmer temperatures corresponding to higher notes
Precipitation Cymbals Cymbal crashes (containing higher frequencies for larger events)
Stream Flow Bass Guitar and French Horn Bass guitar and French Horn play only the stream flow data change points, plus every few seconds even if the data does not cause a different note to be produced. This creates a sustained feel in the bass without being overwhelming to the music by playing every single unchanging data point value.
Soil Water Guitar Accents the changing levels/notes by increasing the volume of them. As the level/note stays the same, each following guitar note is lowered in volume down to a minimum volume and then stays at that level until the next change in data triggers a new note.
Evapotranspiration African Marimba Bass-tenor african marimba (sounds like a drum and goes up and down during the daylight hours of the summer).
Snow Levels Chimes Celeste tones. These are only heard in winter
Wind Direction Solo Violin Pitches start low at 0 degrees North and move higher every 12.4 degress over 4 octaves or 29 notes moving thru 90 degrees (East), 180 (South), 270 (West). The highest pitch will be 359 degrees. NOTE: this is currently only part of Listen Live, not the prerecorded years.
Data Instrument Jan 1-June 25 2015
All Variables See instrument assignments per variable
Temperature Flute
Precipitation/Stream Flow/Evapotranspiration Cymbals/Bass Guitar and French Horn/African Marimba
Soil Water Guitar
Wind Direction Solo Violin
Data Instrument Jan 1-7
All Variables See instrument assignments per variable
Temperature Flute
Precipitation/Stream Flow/Evapotranspiration Cymbals/Bass Guitar and French Horn/African Marimba
Soil Water Guitar
Wind Direction Solo Violin
Data Instrument Spring Melt
All Variables See instrument assignments per variable
Temperature Flute
Precipitation/Stream Flow/Evapotranspiration Cymbals/Bass Guitar and French Horn/African Marimba
Soil Water Guitar
Wind Direction Solo Violin
Data Instrument June 19-25
All Variables See instrument assignments per variable
Temperature Flute
Precipitation/Stream Flow/Evapotranspiration Cymbals/Bass Guitar and French Horn/African Marimba
Soil Water Guitar
Wind Direction Solo Violin

Background

Scientists have been studying forest ecosystems for many years, in order to understand and protect these treasured resources. Scientists routinely collect, measure, and track an array of variables that influence the physical, chemical, and biological processes governing the health and productivity of a forest.

Graphs, such as line and bar charts, are frequently used to analyze and track these processes and variables. Graphs can portray a lot of information, making it easier to see interrelationships among variables and how the data changes over time. But graphs aren't the only way we can interpret and understand what is happening in a forest. Through a novel process known as data sonification, scientific data can now be mapped to auditory values, resulting in a musical symphony of the data.

Data Sonification is the representation of data with sound, and is the auditory equivalent of scientific data visualization. Sonifications connect data to pitch, timing, scales, and timbre as played by different instruments, and lets us 'hear' multiple lines of data simultaneously, just like we listen to a song, where there are many instruments, each having their own part to play in the music, be it melody, bass, harmony, counterpoint or rhythm. Sonifications engage different neural circuitry in our brains than the visual and reasoning centers, making scientific data available in new ways. This is uniquely true for the visually impaired.

Musically-Encoded sonifications of hydrometeorological data from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest have been developed by Marty Quinn of Design Rhythmics Sonification Research Lab and the University of New Hampshire. You can tune in to our Internet radio station on the Listen Live tab, and hear the last four days of recent data from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest as interesting music, enjoy datamusic from years past using the Audio Archive tab, or experience a unique combination of the Waterviz visualization and musical sonification coming together in ‘Hurricane Irene’ on the Look & Listen tab.

Play Options

The station may be accessed using any Shoutcast capable Internet Radio Station app and searching for Hubbard Brook Listen Live, or use the options below.

To play the station using Windows Media Player

Use http://smoke.wavestreamer.com:9603/listen.asx?sid=1 or click here

To play using Winamp & iTunes

Use http://smoke.wavestreamer.com:9603/listen.pls?sid=1 or click here

Alternatively use the following .M3U (Universal) link to play the station in most media players use http://smoke.wavestreamer.com:9603/listen.m3u?sid=1 or click here.

Listen to Past Years

We have archived yearly data from 2010 through 2014 in the audio files below. In these examples, the data is played back at the rate of 100ms per hourly data point.

2010


2011

2012

2013

2014

2010-2014

Hurricane Irene: A Combined WaterViz and Sonification

In this example, hydrologic data collected at Hubbard Brook are used to create both a visualization and a sonification for the month of August 2011. Note that there are a number of rain events during this month, with Tropical Storm Irene occurring on August 28th. The data are played back at the rate of 100ms per hourly data point.