This book offers a comprehensive introduction to the field of Sonification and Auditory Display. Sonification is so inherently interdisciplinary that it is easy to become disoriented and overwhelmed when confronted with its many different facets, ranging from computer science to psychology, from sound design to data mining.  In addition, each discipline uses its own jargon, and–because the research comes from such diverse areas–there are few agreed upon definitions for the complex concepts within the research area.

With The Sonification Handbook we have organized topics roughly along the following progression: perception – data – sound synthesis – sonification techniques – central application areas.  While the chapters are written in the spirit of reviewing, organizing and teaching relevant material, they will hopefully also surprise, encourage, and inspire to new uses of sound. We hope that this book will support all sorts of readers, from students to experts, from HCI practitioners to domain-experts,  those that seek to dive quickly or more thoroughly into Sonification, to see whether it may be useful for their application area. Due to their thematic richness the chapters can best be seen as providing mutually complementary views on a multi-disciplinary and broad emerging field. We hope that together they will help readers to better understand the whole field by looking at it from different disciplinary angles.

We decided to publish this book as an OpenAccess book because auditory display is still a small but growing community, and the easy access and sharing of information and ideas is of high importance.  Free availability of publication and material lowers the barrier to enter the field and also matches the spirit of the ICAD community.
An online portal at provides digital versions, supplementary material such as sound examples, videos and further descriptions.

The publication has been made possible and supported by the EU COST Action IC0601 “Sonic Interaction Design” (SID). In addition to providing publication costs, the COST Action SID supported the book with author involvement and expertise, in the reviewing of chapters, sharing forces with the strong involvement in authoring and reviewing from ICAD.  We take this opportunity to thank all authors and reviewers and all who contributed to make this book possible.

There are few books available that introduce these topics. A well established and respected source is Auditory Display, edited by Gregory Kramer in 1994.  This book hopes to set the next stepping stone, and we are happy that Greg relates these two books together in a Foreword to “The Sonification Handbook”.

Bielefeld, York, Wooster

Thomas Hermann, Andy Hunt, John G. Neuhoff
September, 2011