Cymatics: Observing the effects of sound waves on matter

For the past few days, we have been reviewing research and watching videos to observe the effects of sound on water. Today, I want to introduce you to the world of cymatics.

Cymatics is a the study of wave phenomena, particularly sound waves and their visual representations. Cymatics gives us the ability to view and understand how sound effects matter, by showing us a visual representation.

Cymatics, from Greekκῦμα, meaning “wave”, is a subset of modal vibrational phenomena.

The term was coined by Hans Jenny(1904-1972), a Swiss follower of the philosophical school known as anthroposophy, which is a topic of conversation in its own right, but for today’s purposes, let’s just stick to cymatics.

Typically the surface of a plate, diaphragm or membrane is vibrated, and regions of maximum and minimum displacement are made visible in a thin coating of particles, paste or liquid. Basically, as the particles become excited by exposure to a frequency and different patterns emerge depending on the frequency and shape of the plate.

We have seen the amazing crystals formed by water exposed to different frequencies (including music and words) but one of my favorite demonstrations of cymatics comes from Nigel Stanford. Check out one of Nigel’s amazing cymatics demonstrations:

He has some incredible videos on his web page worth watching if you are interested in seeing more.

Quantum theory postulates that all matter is energy in vibration. Those things we commonly refer to as matter, are vibrating at very so slow speeds, making them appear to be solid. However, everything is energy and all energy is vibrating. Although we can not see these slow vibrations with the naked eye, everything is energy and everything is vibrating.

Now, having watched the videos for the past few days, do you think anything different about sound and the effects of sound vibrations on particles of matter? It certainly causes me to pause and speculate about the music and sounds I expose myself to. Still not convinced? Come back tomorrow as we learn about a concept called entrainment.


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