A Map of Music (Audio) Technology

Every year that I have been pursuing this field I learn more aspects to Music (Audio) Technology that I was never aware of. From an engineering perspective to an artistic perspective, I feel like, my pursuit with Music Technology is a constant Matryoshka doll game.

In an effort to answer people’s questions of  “What do you do exactly?” , I made this map in order to understand a connection between every way of looking at Music (Audio) Technology. This helped me also get a better idea of the ways in which to approach a question/curiosity in the field. Maybe it will help you too. 

The Journey of Sound 

Sound is a vibration that propoagates as a transverse wave of pressure through a transmission medium.

So as I see it, the journey of sound has three stages: (Like the Samsara philosophy)


“Sound” begins with its creation. Some kind of physical interaction which creates the initial pressure wave vibration.
At this stage we can ask, What created this sound? What are the properties of the creation? Can we mathematically model the different creation processes? Can we think of creating in new ways?


As “sound” is transmitted through the transmission medium it changes, gets modified, bounces on the walls, gets filtered, gets echoed etc. All sorts of intentional and unintensional modifications take place.
At this stage we can ask, What kind of modifications? Can we make intentional manipulations? Can we remove undesired modifications and add desired modifications?


Finally the “sound” gets consumed – perhaps at a microphone, or in a human ear (or in an animal ear) and is ingested. A transducer might try to record the sound in an analog (tapes) or digital (digital codecs) way, while a human hearing system will take extra steps as it tries to extract information from this sensory input.
At this stage we can ask, What was the information in the sound? Was it speech/music/noise? Did the consumer like it? What emotions does it bring about? Can it be consumed in other ways? 


With this kind of approach to observing Sound, I have created the following map. Vertically down it follows the 3 stage journey just described. The horizontal axis represents different types of sounds from (most structured/least entropic on the left to least structured/most entropic on the right).

I am making an interactive way to explore this space of sounds, and shall be adding my pursuits in each aspect.

If you can think of any thing i might have missed or wrongly classified, do comment or send me an email. This is a constant effort of understanding sound and I shall be happy to have more people on this journey with me.

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