Cymatics A Bridge to the Unseen World
Seeing sound with the CymaScope Sound is an invisible force that permeates every aspect of our lives. With the exception of music, many manmade sounds are jarring while the sounds of Nature tend to flow over and around us like soothing waters, lifting our spirit, inspiring us, exciting us. Yet if we could see sound our world would be even more beautiful than we could imagine. It would be a world filledith shimmering holographic bubbles, each displaying a kaleidoscopic pattern on its surface. To see sound is to open a new window onto our world, one that has been veiled in mystery until recently.
To understand the concept of visual sound a little more fully it will be helpful to explore how the vibrating atoms of air that create sound relate to light and life. At the moment of these atomic sound collisions something quite magical happens: Light is created.
The Origin of Cymatics
Cymatics—the study of visible sound— can be traced back at least 1000 years to African tribes who used the taut skin of drums sprinkled with small grains to divine future events. The drum is one of the oldest nown musical instruments and the effects of sand on a vibrating drumhead have probably been known for millennia. However, perhaps the first scientist to notice the phenomena was Leonardo Da Vinci. One day e noticed dust behaving oddly on a wooden table: ‘I say then that when a table is struck in different places the dust that is upon it is reduced to various shapes of mounds and tiny hillocks. The dust descends from the hypotenuse of these hillocks, enters beneath their base and raises itself again around the axis of the point of the hillock.’ Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor and scientist who studied visual soundintensively is most widely known as the“Father of Cymatics.” Jenny coined the word kymatik, (‘cymatic’ in English) from the Greek ‘kyma’ meaning ‘wave,’ to describe the periodic effects that sound and vibration have on matter (even though, as we mentioned earlier, sound is not actually a wave!) His books are rich sources of cymatic imagery, which he observed and described in great detail, although he left scientific and mathematical explanations to scientists who would come after him. Jenny invented the ‘Tonoscope’ and was the first to suggest that such a device might one day assist deaf individuals to acquire speech.