The Art of Seeing Music– Swastika Thakur

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

I have read numerous poems and literary pieces revolving around the intangible and indescribable beauty of music. When I read about cymatics, I was shook. Music could be seen? It all seemed like a joke until I created a cymatic model myself and tried it out. The results were indeed very interesting.

Cymatics is the science of making music visible. In other words, it expresses how matter reacts to vibrations caused by sound. Through this, it's evident that objects around us are continuously vibrating at their own frequency.

The patterns that are created are a result of nodes and internodes that form on the surface of every body under the influence of vibration. Each surface does not vibrate uniformly to different frequencies and hence the formation of unique patterns takes place. These patterns change with every change in frequency and are as unique as snowflakes.

While reading online, I found a very comprehensive study on Cymatics by You Jin Oh and Sojin Kim where they found out:

According to this relationship,

▪ The patterns should depend upon the density of the material taken as a screen, since wave velocity depends upon both density and bulk modulus, which affect the nature of material.

▪ A change in frequency would mean an inversely proportional change in its wavelength which would in turn mean a change in wave velocity.

After reading a lot about cymatics online I created a homemade cymatic setup using a balloon as a screen, salt granules(you can use coloured sand as well!), a plastic bottle with a slit (for my phone to enter), and a tone generator online.

In my independent project, I observed that:

▪ There was no change in cymatic patterns when frequency used was below or above audible range ( audible range is between 20-20,000 Hz).

▪ While keeping frequency constant, I increased the amplitude and saw that excitement between salt granules was much more as compared to the previous, smaller amplitude.

▪ Hence, energy increased with increase in amplitude.

Later on, I also conducted an experiment to observe cymatic effects on water, using a Tibetan meditation bowl. However, the effects were merely detectable to the naked eye as frequencies generated were not uniform enough.

Cymatics is increasingly gathering fame. It is being used in therapy procedures. As our body is majorly made up of water, some therapeutic scientists feel that certain cymatic frequencies could have a healing effect on the human body. Some others believe that since all our tissues are said to vibrate at different frequencies, cymatics could help in healing injured tissues or cells by bringing them back in unison, such that they start vibrating at their original frequencies and hence, heal on their own.

It could also be used by individuals who were deprived of the joy that music brings due to hearing disabilities. Just like Braille, cymatics could help them understand music like everyone else.

There is currently not much research taking place on the subject, since it’s considered more of an art than a field of science and musicology. However, I’m sure that cymatics will reveal an entirely new perspective to the very existence of music, a world that is yet to be unveiled by scientists.

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