While working on an environmental design project for the visually impaired with Viirj the other night, I was excited to find myself using this free resource called the Sonification Handbook. We were particularly interested in creating earcons for blind users who will be navigating in space and I thought chapter 14 did an excellent job describing how transformational earcons are combined to create complex auditory messages.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with earcons, I’ve included an excerpt from one of the Giulio Rosati’s papers
"Earcons were originally developed by Blattner and coworkers, who defined them as 'brief succession of pitches arranged in such a way as to produce a tonal pattern sufficiently distinct to allow it to function as an individual recognizable entity.' Earcons are abstract, synthetic tones that can be used in structured combinations to create auditory messages. Many acoustic and musical features can be used to communicate information by means of structured sounds: pitch, intensity, timbre, rhythm, and space."