SCOTTISH SOUNDSCAPE - Visualizing the Scottish Accent

I first began my fascination on Scottish accents and its traits based on a few fun facts:

+ The Scottish accent is the only accent Apple’s SIRI voice recognition is unable to decipher even though it has a super advanced system

+ The Scottish accent is apparently the most popular accent choice for call centres due to its impression of ‘friendliness’ and ‘trustworthiness’

+ In Britain, many accents and dialects are now ‘diluted’ and ‘homogenised’ but researchers have recently found out that the Scottish accent is in fact flourishing and remained distinctive for more than a century

This project is where I visualised the distinct Scottish accent ( without the use of words, just colours and visuals ). I want to be able to explain the Scottish accent to others from different parts of the world in an interesting way.

After recording tracks of Scottish people speaking from different regions, I have exported them into Ableton Live, a music editing application. Based in the amplitude, intonation and rhythm the way the local speaks, it is able to translate into corresponding musical notes. These are graphs extracted from Ableton Live and organised into different regions. These musical graphs can be played from different instruments.

For me, accents are not weird or awkward , instead they are unique and should be represented in a tentative way. I came across artists who have attempted to translate sounds into 3D printed sculptures. I used collected recorded tracks from different regions, import them into processing and turn them into these unique sculptural objects. The parts that are spikier are parts that are pronounced with more stress. The application Sonic Sculptures is able to do FFT analysis on the sound track to come up with the shapes and structures. These then could be 3D printed.

For example, the Shetland accent is visualized as follow, with its own track playable by any instrument.


I have also came up with ideas to put together the research and outcomes of the project. Here is a mockup of the website with details on each aspect of the research and interactive areas to access the information. I have also branded the project ‘Scottish Soundscape’.