Road to 270 Sonification


Part of the TrevoCon seriesControl (disambiguation)

The Hipster Modular Ableton Live Set is a template for sonifying the 2020 electoral college data. 

As a general rule, all roads should make sound. In California, we have a musical road. We also have the largest number of electors. Coincidence?

For today, if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that everything should make sound. So, aside from voting, the most useful thing we can call do is sonify the electoral data (thanks to Adam for spawning this idea). To realize this in an obvious and easily shared way, here is a 51-track Ableton Live set where the sound on each of the tracks reflects the geographic position of the state, the amount of votes and the status of the votes.

Here is the aesthetic behind this sonification:

  1. Latitude – geographic position (up and down) is mapped to pitch (with a range of approximately 2 octaves for the continental U.S.
  2. Longitude – geographic position (left and right) is mapped to pan position (CA panned left and NY panned right).
  3. Electors – The number of electors is mapped to a note playback probability (0% – 100%). CA, for example, has 55 electoral votes, so note playback is mapped to 55% 1/16th notes
  4. Blue vs Red – When a state is called, the timbre for the track is changed. In the initial setup, blue is mapped to a sharp percussion sound while red is mapped to a resonant piano sound. Uncalled areas receive a mix of the two.
  5. Mixing – In order to hear the effects, the blue, red and uncalled tracks are sent to mix busses, allowing for solo-ing and mixing.

The Musical Road is located on Avenue G in Lancaster, California in between 30th and 40th Street West. Originally designed and constructed by Honda as part of an advertising campaign, The Musical Road became the first road of its kind in the United States. The popularity of the musical road began shortly after the original stretch along Avenue K was launched and word quickly spread of its new groove. The roads feature intermittent grooves similar to rumble strips found on highways. The grooves are spaced so that a series of pitches play when a car drives over them at around 55 mph. It was designed to replicate the finale of William Tell Overture.

Play with this graphically at:

The following Ableton Live screen capture shows one track with the instrument rack for CA (vertical position of 32, 55 electors and blue).



The map shows pan and pitch position. The middle of the state is used for mapping.








This Set uses the Kaigen-R v2 Max for Live device. It is included in the template. Get more Kaigen devices here.

View more patches in the TrevoCon series