Sonifying Walking: A Perceptual Comparison of Swing Phase Mapping Schemes

Prithvi Ravi Kantan, Sofia Dahl*, Erika G. Spaich*, Roberto Bresin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


Past research on the interactive sonification of footsteps has shown that the signal properties of digitally generated or processed footstep sounds can affect the perceived congruence between sensory channel inputs, leading to measurable changes in gait characteristics. In this study, we designed musical and nonmusical swing phase sonification schemes with signal characteristics corresponding to high and low ‘energy’ timbres (in terms of the levels of physical exertion and arousal they expressed), and assessed their perceived arousal, valence, intrusiveness, and congruence with fast (5 km/h) and slow (1.5 km/h) walking . In a web-based perceptual test with 52 participants, we found that the nonmusical high energy scheme received higher arousal ratings, and the musical equivalent received more positive valence ratings than the respective low
energy counterparts. All schemes received more positive arousal and valence ratings when applied to fast walking than slow walking data. Differences in perceived movement-sound congruence among the schemes were more evident for slow walking than fast walking. Lastly, the musical schemes were rated to be less intrusive to listen to for both slow and fast walking than their nonmusical
counterparts. With some modifications, the designed schemes will be used during walking to assess their effects on gait qualities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ISon 2022, 7th Interactive Sonification Workshop, BSCC, University of Bremen, Germany, September 22–23, 2022
Number of pages8
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventInteractive Sonification Workshop (ISon 2022) - Virtual
Duration: 22 Sept 202223 Sept 2022


WorkshopInteractive Sonification Workshop (ISon 2022)
Internet address


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