Can We ‘See’ Sound?

Vitamindz Education

SUITABILITY LEVEL: P6

Sound waves are not always invisible. Any time you see the result of a vibration, you are “seeing” sound. For instance, when a drum is hit, it causes the drum skin to move up and down very quickly or vibrate. This is the frequency of the sound.

Cymatics artists make use of this to make the invisible visible. So, you may be thinking, what is Cymatics art then? Cymatics is the study of the visualization of sound energy using a physical medium such as sand or water to give a graphic representation to sound waves. Cymatics artists let us “see” sound in the form of intricate patterns.

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIgmiDnmVdU&list=RDCMUCeQEKFH31vvD-InkTGSvCrA&start_radio=1&t=23s

Japanese artist, Kenichi Kanazawa visualizes sound vibrations using no special tools except sand, a steel table, and mallets. He starts by sprinkling white sand on the tabletop, before using a small mallet to rub the metal surface to create sound vibrations. Just like magic, the sand starts to vibrate, and a geometric pattern takes shape. He then picks up a larger mallet that produces lower vibrations, and the pattern begins to change. A third mallet changes the course of the sand again, creating a final star-like motif.

Image Source: https://www.core77.com/posts/102887/Using-a-Specially-Designed-Vibrating-Tabletop-to-Create-Live-Art
Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC7FRVrEWxU

The patterns resulted from the sand being pushed away happens where the standing waves on the metal plate are the strongest and gathers where the standing waves are weakest. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? 😊

References:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHhVGWj5q5Y
https://www.mx.kef.com/blog/cymatics-the-art-of-the-visualization-of-sound
https://www.openculture.com/2020/11/artist-kenichi-kanazawa-makes-amazing-geometric-designs-out-of-sand.html
https://mymodernmet.com/cymatics-kenichi-kanazawa/


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