Human Movement and Moving Sounds

The Human Movement and Moving Sounds project is a research project by Natasha Barrett.

About the project:

Can we understand human agency through the way in which sound behaves, even if the sound is itself unrecognisable and there is no visual stimuli? This question is profoundly connected to the broader investigation of the cognitive embodiment of human physical action. My hypothesis is that 3-D spatial motion, and the manner in which the sound moves in space, is a key element.


To investigate this hypothesis, listeners evaluate test sounds featuring different spatial and non-spatial sound attributes. The test sounds are made by the sonification of 3-D motion trajectories in precise higher-order ambisonics, and avoid allusions to known instrumental sounds. Some motion trajectories are from real performance articulations, while in others, the human motion qualities have been progressively removed. The sonifications are themselves rendered using Cheddar [link below] and exploit our perceptual abilities to hear spatial motion in sound alone.


Most listeners are inexperienced in terms of their conscious attention to spatial sound. To avoid confusing the results with subjectivity and skill differences, a special test and analysis has been designed in collaboration with Marta Crispino at the department for biostatistics (Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology). The outcome of Crispino's analysis will show both the ranking of sound features (space, pitch, volume, rates of change and dynamics) and indicate the strength of each component in the results.


By Diana Kayser
Published June 17, 2016 1:21 PM - Last modified Nov. 19, 2016 12:43 AM