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Cymatics: Sound Made Visible

Cymatic pattern to show 3-d sound waves

By Diana Domingo, MA, CYT

Cymatics is a burgeoning field surrounding the Study of Wave Phenomena & Vibration. A Greek word meaning “waves’ coined by physician and scientist Hans Jenny, Cymatics allows us to see how the universe works at a deep and fundamental level. It makes sound visible.

Pictured here is a cymatic pattern created in liquid by holding down a note steadily / creating a drone on a key board or tone generator.

While many think of sound waves traveling two-dimensionally, as depicted on many graphs from photographs and audio software programs, sound travels three-dimensionally through space taking on varying shapes based on its source, speed, frequency, amplitude, direction, origin and the material it is passing through.

Jenny spent years conducting meticulous experiments using audible sound, ancient alphabets of Hebrew and Sanskrit, and tones to excite powders, pastes and liquids into mandala-like forms. The images he produced from his experiments over a large span of time were not only visually and artistically stunning, they created a powerful bridge between empirical scientific study and the creative forces that move through and animate all of reality. In them, we see the a variety of patterns found throughout nature, art, communication and architecture.

Through his deep understanding, he found:

The more one studies these things, the more one realizes that sound is the creative principle. It must be regarded as primordial. No single phenomenal category can be claimed as the aboriginal principle. We cannot say, in the beginning was numbers or in the beginning was symmetry, etc. They are not themselves the creative power. This power is inherent in tone, in sound.”

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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