Coined by Hans Jenny, Cymatics (meaning wave) is a division of modal vibrational phenomena. Cymatics is a meeting between music and science. It is the art of visualizing audio frequencies. Real experiments are visible and are woven by music in a masterly way. Music is ordered sound, and therefore the sound waves that produce it interact with matter. Generally vibrations are transferred to a surface of a plate, diaphragm or membrane, and regions of maximum and minimum displacement are made visible in thin coating of particles, paste or liquid.
The excited medium brings up different patterns, depending on the geometry of the plate and the driving frequency. Numerous experiments have been performed on the principles of Cymatics. Have a close look at few selected Cymatics experiments.
The Chladni dish takes into consideration the effects of resonance on a flat plate filled with sand. The plate vibrates by sound effect (acoustic excitation) and geometric deformations are found, characterized by peaks and valleys. There are certain frequencies formed in it.
Chladni dish works with grains of sand, and generates abstract shapes according to the frequency of the sound generated. This way, the sand on the flat plate accumulates in the valleys and forms the beautiful patterns of the video.
The experiment of hose-pipe brings into play an effect that seems to make water freeze in the form of a spiral. This experiment usually happens but with the involvement of a camera trick. If the sound box is vibrating at the same camera frame rate, the water will be in the same position with each frame and will appear to be frozen, or even contrary. The same thing happens when filming the caps of a moving car at the right speed.
3 Cymatics-Ferro fluids
In this experiment, a liquid is seen dancing on the cone of an amplifier. The physics of two points are mixed and effect is achieved. Resonant frequencies confirm that the fluid is excited and an apparent move is obtained when the camera is recorded.
Ferro fluids are the mysterious materials and are liquids that get polarized in the presence of a magnetic field.
The use of motorized super magnets was necessary, and the fluid consumed a long time to form the ball of evil. It was not really helpful to anyone who had to work with rhythms. The solution was to place magnets on a plate and see the ripples generated when they were turned off.
4 Cymatics- Rubens Tube- Plasma Ball
The Rubens Tube allows passage of propane gas inside it. When musical notes are played that match the resonant frequency of the tube, it forms high and low gas pressure zones and this affects the height of the fire flame. A Rubens Tube creates beautiful forms with fire to the rhythm of the music. Sound waves penetrate one end of the tube and modulate the gas outlet through the holes. The shape of the amplitude of the flames follows a pattern related to sound.
5 Cymatics- Tesla Coil
The Tesla coil is a high voltage device capable of generating electricity arcs in the air. The reels generate a series of sparks per second, and a rough, distorted musical note is heard. Some coils allow control over the time of the sparks, and also the pitch and play tunes.
6 Cymatics- Speaker dish (plate on speaker)
In the speaker dish experiment, a plate of liquid is taken on a sound box. It won’t be wrong to term it as a mix between the Chladni plate and the Hose pipe effect. The liquid used in this case was semi-frozen vodka, due to its more dense appearance.
7 Cymatics- Alexander’s Experiment
A balloon is gently held in the fingertips. The balloon is brought close to the mouth and the eyes are closed. Then a low-pitched ‘oo’ sound is made while focusing attention on the fingertips. The sound should be easily felt through the fingers. This experiment is a wonderful reminder of the bubble nature of sound because a balloon is bubble. The trembling of its surface, almost as though you could see the trembling sound bubble coming out of your mouth as you speak.
8 Cymatics- Drum and Speaker
Cymatics patterns are easy to create using a simple drum placed on top of a speaker (with the speakers pointing up into the shell of the drum. Then you just add salt, flour, or any kind of light powder. The recommended stuff is Poppy Seeds but you can use many different types of material and interestingly any color, which, as the skin vibrates, the colors tend fall into their own specific spectrum which is another great phenomenon of cymatics.
You then simply have to fire a frequency through the speakers, this can be done using an electronic keyboard, or a tone generator as long as you can produce a waveform signal at a specific pitch.
Nigel John Stanford on YouTube