Cymatics. The Science of Sound



noun (functioning as singular)

1. Physics: the study of wave phenomena, esp sound, and their visual representations

2. A therapy in which sound waves are directed at the body with the aim of promoting health

Swiss scientist Dr. Hans Jenny coined the term Cymatics (greek for ‘wave’) in the 1960’s after seeking to empirically document the fact that all matter following exposure to a vibration responds with it’s own unique ‘frequency signature’. He essentially sought to explore the ability of sound to create form-he wanted to ‘see’ sound.

Substances such as sand, fluid and powder are put atop a metal plate which then is attached to an oscillating device which produces vibrational frequencies. These frequencies are visualized in geometric sound patterns. Visualizing ‘sound’ allow us to see various changing behaviors of an energy field.

New Age medicine has taken the general system study of cymatics and has used it to create a new healing modality. All human cells, tissues and organs have a natural resonant frequency and cymatic therapists posit that by applying various audible frequency combinations (sound waves) they can promote natural healing with the malfunctioning systems returning to healthy vibrational states. Although the science on this particular field of study is ongoing and cloudy is spots, cymatics itself and its implications are pretty damn cool.

New Zealand based artist and musician Nigel Stanford materialized music via cymatics in a music video with the goal of “creating a video where every sound had a corresponding visual element”.

“I looked for interesting science experiments that showed how sound waves affect things, figured out what looked good, and then wrote musical parts for each experiment.” 

And there you have it.

Science +Sound = Rad