Music, Science

Cymatics: Explained in Six Minutes (With No Words)

December 28, 2014

As far as my infant brain can understand it, Cymatics is the study of “visible sound,” a subset of modal phenomena. For example, when you play a note on a piano, guitar, or other digital or analog instrument, it produces a unique vibrational frequency. When that vibrational frequency passes through a thin coating of particles or liquid, it can reveal striking geometric patterns that are inherent to nature. Thus, every note has its own vibrational frequency, which in turn produces its own inherent geometric pattern when played. Like an aural fingerprint.

The Magic of Science: Cymatics

This phenomenon can also be linked to Sacred Geometry, which is a fringe field of study that binds religious, spiritual and philosophical ideas into one multidisciplinary worldview that explores universal laws and principles that date back to ancient mathematics, such as pythagorean geometry. In fact, sacred geometric patterns can often be seen in churches, mosques, monuments and temples, spanning various religions and faiths all around the world. These “universal” patterns can largely be seen in religious art (such as Hindu or Buddhist mandalas), which are symbols that (in turn) speak to sacred meanings, and has even been linked to quantum mechanical laws of the universe.

Cymatics music video by Nigel Stanford and Shahir Daud.

Sadly, these ideas are insufficiently explored in modern Western culture. In my experience, contemporary urban living giddily ignores the unseen processes that make my reality possible. To wit, I’m constantly bombarded by useless distractions, a la multiple TV streams (Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, ad infinitum), Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, and the Internet at large. Truth is, I’m not disciplined enough to use these windows of knowledge wisely. I choose dessert, every time: social media, hilarious GIFs, silly YouTube videos and wacky memes. Sometimes, it’s enough to want to devolve back into the primordial soup I (at least in theory) came from (I’m looking at you, Pangea), and call it a good use of many millennia.

However, the above video — produced by Shahir Daud and Nigel Stanford — takes at least one abstract concept (namely cymatics) and puts it into a framework we can all get behind: a music video. Wait, so I’m being educated and entertained — all at once?

Nice. Thanks Shahir and Nigel.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about the music itself (being somewhat of an incorrigible snob), but I’m mostly interested in the science itself, so I bop my head anyway. Check it out!

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