What Music Looks Like

This one is awesome.

Cymatics is field of endeavor that explores capturing sound in a physical medium. As an area of exploration cymatics appears to be mainly about science and technology, although some see it as an opportunity to engage in mystical thinking about sound.

Nigel John Stanford is a musician from New Zealand who got into cymatics.  The result was this amazing video. Watch it through to the end.


At the end of the video Stanford is being zapped by a Tesla coil while wearing a Faraday suit.

As Stanford explains in an excellent Behind the Scenes piece, the music was written after the filming was completed.  From a compositional point of view, it’s a good example of how external factors (e.g., the time it takes for the sand to settle into a pattern on the Chladni plate) can play a role in the creation and development of a musical piece. This is something that continues to fascinate me when I compose and play music as Parametric Monkey. Pieces go to places you didn’t anticipate because of both musical and non-musical factors you didn’t think of beforehand.

Behind the Scenes includes a series of short videos about how each of the effects shown in the music video was created. What you see in the music video is even more amazing if you take the time to look at these short videos and see what went into creating each of the effects. For an example, here’s the short video about the Tesla coil and the Faraday suit.


Behind the Scenes also bravely and honestly points out that some of what you see in the video that might be understood initially as a direct visual reflection of the sound you are hearing is in fact not quite that.  No matter, the video is awesome.

About Kevin Murnane

I am a cognitive scientist, a freelance writer and author (Nutrition for Cyclists: Eating and Drinking Before, During and After the Ride), a musician (Parametric Monkey - stream on Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube), a bookstore owner (Monkey Books - first edition mystery, science fiction, fantasy and more, listed on ABE books, Amazon and Biblio), and a retired house painter, children's theater actor & owner, and university professor. I'm also a regular contributor to the technology section at Forbes and I write a cycling blog called Tuned In To Cycling. You can follow me on twitter @TheInfoMonkey and contact me at murnane.kevin@gmail.com.
This entry was posted in Music and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s