Cymatics – the science of making sound visible – is a fantastic tool for musicians. It reveals the intricate, kaleidoscopic and stunningly beautiful patterns that music traces in the air. I also believe that it enables us to listen in far more detail. People (even musicians!) can find it hard to hear the rich detail of overtones in every single musical sound we make. Every single note we play is really a complex chord if we expand our awareness to hear the detail. Cymatics demonstrates this beautifully.
How does it work?
When a musical sound encounters a membrane (such as your ear drum), it imprints an invisible pattern of energy, which your brain then converts into “music” If the sound encounters a membrane such as water, this invisible pattern of energy can be photographed or filmed, capturing beautiful geometric patterns that reveal the hidden realm of sound. If we could see our music as we perform, we would see myriads of holographic bubbles, each with a beautiful geometric pattern on its surface.
Here is a brief video, courtesy of acoustic engineer and cymatics researcher, John Stuart Reid, showing the “sound print” of a Tibetan singing bowl: