Ad-hoc synthesis of auditory icons
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This article introduces ad-hoc synthesis, an approach to designing auditory icons and synthesis algorithms that emphasizes the perception of the sounds by users instead of the analysis of actual sources and sound. We describe two substractive synthesis algorithms for generating and controlling wind and wave sounds in real-time by means of high-level parameters. Even though these sounds are not audiorealistic, they convey information in a non-intrusive way and therefore are suitable for monitoring background activities. These sounds capture the main invariants of the sounds they imitate, enabling users to recognize and understand them easily. We then push the approach further by showing how an auditory illusion, i.e. a sound that does not exist in the real world, can be used to convey the notion of speed in a natural and non-intrusive way.