Holographic Modelling Techniques applied to CymaScope imagery by Digital
Artist and Musician, John McGowan
The holographic nature of sound was postulated several years ago by John
Stuart Reid; it assumes that every atomic particle of air carries all the data
that describes a particular sound. The holographic concept for sound found
recent support with esteemed acoustician, Andrew Munro, who visited the
CymaScope laboratory in July 2014. Now the principles of holographic sound
have been used by Digital Artist and Musician, John McGowan, who applied VFX
modelling techniques to a MusicMadeVisible (MMV) video that he commissioned.
MMV is an experimental medium being developed by the CymaScope team in which a
physical analog is created by imprinting musics vibrations onto a water
membrane in the CymaScopes vizualising cell.
The music used for this experiment was Mr McGowans own composition titled
Stretch. He commented, I was inspired by the CymaScopes ability to render
music visible in quasi-3D and for my Master of Science project I had the idea
that if I could model quasi-3D imagery into full 3D, the technique could
enlighten and educate, providing a visual tool to help show the true nature of
sound. I used VFX techniques including particle dynamics, texturing and
modelling methods. I analysed and modelled the individual frames from the
MusicMadeVisible video, interpreting the shapes using Maya Nurbs modelling
techniques (Autodesk Maya 3D Software). Colours and wave like effects were
added to the particles by using scripted mathematical expressions in Maya, as
well as having a separate translucent layer of the geometry with a 'soap
bubble material applied. Finally, the many layers were assembled in Nuke
The project took around 4 months to complete. John
Stuart Reid commented, John McGowans achievement is highly significant and
has provided not only a launch pad from which a new audio-visual entertainment
medium could emerge but also a technique to diffuse knowledge concerning the
spherical nature of sound in a new and powerfully visual way. It also carries
the potential to help advance scientific understanding of the nature of
The video, titled 'Holographic Music,' can be viewed on YouTube, here:
Consultant, Andrew Munro, visits the CymaScopelaboratory
is one of the world's foremost authorities on acoustics and head of Munro
Acoustics, a company specialising in the design of high-end music, film and
broadcast studio facilities.
A member of the Institute of Acoustics, Mr Munro's clients include the BBC and
many of the world's famous opera houses and auditoria. The meeting with John
Stuart Reid, research director of Sonic Age America LLC and Sonic Age Ltd (UK)
was historically significant, representing the first time that the CymaScope
instrument has been demonstrated to an acoustics consultant. The cymascopic
principle was demonstrated in relation to several applications including
rendering visible the Mereon pattern, which may prove to be the energetic
pattern that resides at the heart of Creation.
centred on the holographic nature of sound, which John Stuart Reid postulates
infers that every atom and molecule in air carries all the data inherent in a
given sound, no matter how complex. The quasi-3D aspects of cymascopic imagery
were also discussed, a phenomena involving sub-surface sonically-induced
Mr Munro commented, "As someone who is committed to discovering
why sound consistently evades more detailed analysis than current practice, I
was curious to see the CymaScope operating. When I saw the highly detailed
sonically-induced patterns appearing before my eyes through the visual capture
of standing waves in water, I realised that a daunting task lies ahead in
de-mystifying such complexity and I look forward to learning more about this
CymaScope imagery chosen
for major ecological hotel project
The CymaScope team was
approached by Arqka.com, designers of the Amma Center in Mexico, a
ground-breaking project that will house hotel guests in ecologically designed
Believed to be the first hotel of its kind in the world, the design is based
on 22 adobe-constructed pods, each incorporating many ecological design
features. The feature for which the designers asked for the assistance of
CymaScope.com was the requirement for each of the 22 pods to relate to a
specific chakra of the body. To achieve this we captured a set of 22
CymaGlyphs based on musical notes in 432 tuning.
We also carried out research to support other associated design elements of
the pods, incorporating color,
fragrance, crystals, astrological signs and several other aspects associated
with each of the 22 chakras.
The resulting CymaGlyphs contain a unique set of beautiful geometries, used by
the hotel designers in their choice of textiles and textures for wall and
floor finishes and for fabric designs, unique to each pod.
The CymaScope team have worked with Karmin, the pop duo team comprising Amy
Heidemann and Nick Noonan who are enjoying growing success in many parts of
the world with their unique brand of pop music.
Their Pulses video features a five note sung sequence and a seven word sung
sequence, made visible on the CymaScope. We are delighted that Karmin decided
to add a humorous introduction to the Pulses video, with George Takei (Star
Trek helmsman character, Sulu) providing the voice over. George's fun
explanation provides the basis by which the viewer can fully appreciate the
CymaScope imagery within the Karmin video.
Both sequences show that it is possible for complex, fast-moving sounds to be
transcribed to a visual analog, paving the way for MusicMadeVisible full
length videos in the future. In addition to entertainment applications the new
technique holds promise for the science of phonology since all the major
nuances in speech can now be captured and rendered visible for study.
also be benefits for profoundly deaf people since complex music can now be
transcribed to a visual analog.
first sounds of a snail eating, made visible on CymaScope
For the first time, the sounds of a Mesodon zaletus snail, eating carrot, have
been successfully imaged on the CymaScope. The snail rasping sounds were
recorded by Malacologist, Marla L. Coppolino, assisted by sound engineer, Lang
Elliott, and contain a variety of sonic 'plop' events as pieces of
carrot were torn off by the snail's radula, its tongue-like protuberance.
Surprisingly, some of the plop sounds contain structure, making it possible
for the periodic geometry within the sounds to be captured on the CymaScope
CymaScope team member, John Stuart Reid, commented "When the snail makes
sounds by eating crunchy food, the sonic energy radiates away spherically. The
sounds then reflect off the inside of the snail's mouth and these surfaces
modify the sonic periodicities, in much the same way that the sound of a hand
clap is modified by the walls of a canyon. In the case of the snail, the
reflective surfaces of its radula and mouth add another level of data to the
snail's eating sounds."
Reid hypothesizes that these modified sounds could be thought
of as being quasi-holographic in nature, that is, they may contain embedded
spatial data relating to the surfaces in the immediate vicinity of the snail's radula. He suggests the possibility that some of the images contain structures
representing parts of the snail's radula and mouth cavity. It is hoped that
further research will shed more light on this hypothesis which, if
demonstrated to be correct, will add to a growing body of evidence that sound
has quasi-holographic properties.
Marla Coppolino commented, ''Snail morphologies contain some of the inherent
geometries of Nature, something that has been of interest to me for decades.
To have the snail rasping sounds made visible with a CymaScope supports the
notion that some animals don't need to vocalize in order to make sounds from
which vibrational data can be obtained.''
A video of the
sounds made visible can be seen in our 'Videos' section:
A wonderful new
documentary, ''The Grounded'', by Kroschel Films, features the CymaScope.
The film is to be premiered in New York on January 10th and is an exposition
of what some authorities
consider to be the greatest health re-discovery of all time - grounding people
to earth which has the
effect of neutralising free radicals in the body and improving sleep and
The film maker, Steve
Kroschel, filmed a sequence of Schumann Cavity Resonance in the laboratory of
the first time it has been captured on 35 mm film stock.
Visit to Prague
Filmharmonic Orchestra for recording of the Grounded score.
Left to right: Composer: Stuart Mitchell, filmmaker: Steve Kroschell,
CymaScope representation: Annaliese and John Stuart Reid
Halo Drum imaged for first time on CymaScope
In collaboration with musician, Matthew Calder, we imaged a short Halo Drum
melody as part of our ongoing development of MusicMadeVisible in which the
complex harmonic structures within music are made visible in real time video
mode. A Halo Drum is an instrument similar to a Hang Drum and the results of
experiment can be seen in our Musicology section:
The Hang Drum was invented in 2001 by the Swiss company, Panart. Matthew told
us: "I first came across the Hang Drum in 2002 and immediately fell in love
with its unique sonics and musical range. As a percussionist the initial
temptation was to play it like a drum, but it soon became clear that the
harmonics and subtleties of the Hang leant to a much more meditative
expression of playing. More recently I have been playing a newer instrument by
Pantheon Steel, the 'Halo'. Although it shares a similar form to the Hang Drum
it is larger and has a very different character.
The Halo has a
smoky, darker timbre with considerably greater projection. It also has more
sustain, so its harmonics can be more readily captured on the CymaScope. The
way the individual notes resonate creates a truly captivating sound. It is a
great pleasure to see the Halo imaged on the Cymascope and to be part of a
The clarity of the
video imaging is superb and looking through the frames one by one, the way
they flow into each other is fascinating."
Halo Drum, C3 note, still moment from the CymaScope video
CymaScopic discoveries at the
The 2013 Mereon Conference took place in August at the UK laboratory of
CymaScope.com, in a research-oriented cooperative venture with The Mereon
Institute and its Lambda Lab research arm. The agenda of the conference
included, deepening relationships between team members, conducting key
experiments in the laboratory and defining additional research projects.
One of the most exciting moments, considered to be 'Mereonic-Cymatic history',
occurred when a cymatic event was seen beneath the water's surface that had
been predicted. Lynnclaire Dennis, on the far right of the photograph,
we saw on Dr Louis Kauffman's face said it all as three camera angles into the
CymaScope Visualising Cell provided a glimpse of a phenomenon that has been
'articulated' and 'anticipated' for 28 years. It only became observable when
the Mereon Prime Frequency was captured at 45 and 90 degree angles.
Furthermore, shooting from multiple angles provided clear evidence that now
reinforces our hypothesis that the Mereon Prime Frequency is tying cymatic
knots. The ability to see below the surface reveals that the CymaScope data is
The Mereon team is currently writing a paper to present this important
John Stuart Reid and The
May 26th 2013
Cymatics featured on Discovery Channel
The Discovery Channel in the USA and Channel 5 in the UK, recently aired a
documentary titled "The Da Vinci Code: The True Story", in which the truth
behind Dan Brown's novel is revealed. Aspects of the chapel were featured in
Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code.
The documentary features, among other items, the famous Rosslyn Cubes, a
series of 213 carved cuboids that decorate the Lady Chapel in Edinburgh's
famous Rosslyn Chapel. Each cube carries a cymatic pattern in raised relief;
many people over the last few decades have attempted to decode the patterns to
reveal what was thought to be music, each cymatic pattern representing a
No one had succeeded until father and son team, Thomas and
Stuart Mitchell, focussed their considerable musical talents on the challenge.
The secret of the cubes was indeed musical and the music that they decoded has
been named the Rosslyn Motet.
The film maker asked CymaScope.com if we could confirm Stuart and Thomas'
musical code, on-camera. Using an electromechanical Chladni plate we were able
to find patterns that strongly resembled the patterns-versus-frequencies
discovered by the Mitchells.
This exciting development has showcased cymatics to millions of viewers and is
sure to help popularize cymatics as an emergent science.
The patterns we confirmed can be seen on Thomas Mitchell's web site:
The 'Stave Angel' points to musical notes. One of the
cymatic cubes is seen above his head
The same cymatic pattern created by stroking the bow gently
at one corner of the CymaPlate
John Stuart Reid examines a scale model of a Rosslyn Cube,
carved in sand stone, courtesy of Rosslyn Chapel. The cuboids are surprisingly
Cymatics at the San Francisco Exploratorium
When the team at CymaScope.com was contacted by Karly Sue Smith of the Bay
Area Artists, we were immediately taken by the name of the opening event
planned for the New Exporatorium: The Seeds of LIfe. This title is
particularly resonant with the CymaScope team because our work has repeatedly
shown that the creation of life on earth seems to have been intimately
connected with sound. When we see what appear to be living, dynamic forms in
sonically imprinted water, when in fact the forms are merely life-like in
their dynamism and shape, leads us to believe that sound may have been the
very seed of life in the primordial oceans.
We were delighted to support the new Exploratorium's Gala event and hope that
one day children and adults will be able to see such dynamic, cymascopic seeds
of life in an Exploratorium exhibit.
Here's what the Exploratorium say about their centre:
"The Exploratorium is a twenty-first-century learning laboratory, an
eye-opening, always-changing, playful place to explore and tinker. For more
than forty years, we've built creative, thought-provoking exhibits, tools,
programs, and experiences that ignite curiosity, encourage exploration, and
lead to profound learning. Dive in and discover what we're all about."
March 3rd 2013
Cymatics comes of age as an emergent science:
The Mereon Matrix
In recent years, our research at CymaScope.com has focused
mainly on developing the CymaScope as a scientific instrument, to bring it to
the point where it can accurately render and replicate sonic frequencies.
However, we have remained aware that the governing dynamics of cymatic
phenomena must be mathematically described for it to be fully embraced by
In 2012 we began working with the team of mathematicians and scientists who,
after discovering what may be the energetic pattern that resides at the heart
of Creation, have spent almost two decades investigating and researching its
application. The anecdotal perspective of this discovery was first presented
in the book ''The Pattern'' in 1997: the Pattern is now known as 'Mereon'. In
our first dialogue with the Mereon team we were asked if the CymaScope could
render visible some of the key frequencies related to this pattern. No one
could have predicted just how successful the results of this collaboration
would turn out.
To read the full story please visit our Mereon Matrix section:
Voice Mandala Image displayed at Ikon Gallery,
The Voice and the Lens exhibition was held at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham,
during November 2012 and was a festival and exhibition exploring the treasures
of the human voice. Photographer, Kathryn Faulkner, was invited by curator,
Sam Belinfante and Third Ear Music Production, to present a voice-related
image. She chose a large-scale Voice Mandala print, imaged on the CymaScope by
John Stuart Reid from a recording of her voice in which she chanted OM.
Kathryn is seen here standing beside her
Voice Mandala, which contains beautiful six-fold geometry.
November 28th 2012
CymaScope chosen for major motion picture
In October 2012 our UK CymaScope lab was visited
by Kroschel Films regarding a major motion picture documentary nominally titled
The Grounded. The movie, which will be released worldwide during 2013, covers
the new science of 'grounding' or 'earthing.' The health benefits of walking
bare foot, or being grounded by placing your feet on an electrically grounded
mat while working at your computer or watching TV, are explored in depth in
The movie's co-producer, Steve Kroschel, shot 35 millimetre film footage of
the CymaScope in action, using an Arriflex camera. While Hans Jenny shot
cymatics in 16 millimetre film in the 1960's, this is the first time ever, to
knowledge, that cymatics has been shot in 35 millimetre. The results are
expected to be spectacular on movie screens. One of the sequences shot
was of Schumann cavity resonance, another first for the science of cymatics.
The release date of The Grounded will be posted in this section of our site
when it is confirmed.
John Stuart Reid (right) shakes hands
with film maker Steve Kroschel in the CymaScope lab
July 14th 2012
Cymatics at the Smithsonian
A few months ago we were asked by the Smithsonian to image some
'songs of the stars' for their new African Cosmos Stellar Arts exhibition
which opened on June 20th and runs through to December 9th 2012.
The atomic processes within stars create sounds deep within the star,
causing the starlight to vary minutely. These tiny modulations can be
detected and demodulated, recreating the original sounds in the
The star sounds were processed by three Universities and the completed
sound files were then fed into a CymaScope, rendering the sounds visible.
In a Discovery News story by science writer, Jennifer Viegas, the work
of John Stuart Reid and Jack Kassewitz is highlighted regarding dolphin
language, along with the work of Peter Madsen, a researcher with the
Department of Biological Sciences at Aarhus University.
Peter Masden's work suggests that dolphins create sounds by a process
that is similar to the way humans make sounds with vocal cords. Reid said
"Whichever way the dolphin generates sound, our work with the
CymaScope instrument shows that dolphins communicate with sound
pictures rather than words per se."
We Are Not Alone--The Discovery of
Jack Kassewitz of SpeakDolphin.com and John Stuart Reid of CymaScope.com have
made a significant breakthrough in deciphering dolphin language in which a
series of eight objects have been sonically identified by dolphins.
When Reid imaged the dolphin's reflected echolocation sounds on the CymaScope
it became possible for the first time to see the sono-pictorial images that
the dolphin created. The resulting pictures resemble typical ultrasound images
seen in hospitals. The team are calling the technique "Bio-Cymatic Imaging" a
milestone in marine biology and acoustic physics.
You can read the full story in our Oceanography section:
Japanese Children's Magazine Features the CymaScope
We were delighted to be invited to contribute the Japanese science magazine,
"Otona no Kagaku" (Grown-up's Science) published by Gakken Holdings. Their
latest edition is called "Otona no Kagaku with KIDS", a magazine that parents
and children can enjoy and learn about science together:
The magazine was especially interested in the CymaScope's ability to make
visible the sounds of piano notes. The graphic they prepared presents this
Voice Mandalas" made visible for the first time on the CymaScope instrument
When Prince William and Kate Middleton spoke their
wedding vows before 2 billion people, they couldn't have known that deep in
the English Lake District, a laboratory was making their voices visible with a CymaScope.
Just as the invention of the microscope uncovered a previously hidden realm,
the invention of the CymaScope reveals the once invisible realm of sound. The
voice patterns of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess
of Cambridge, present some surprising results.
According to John Stuart Reid, the instrument's co-inventor,
Prince William's voice has some interesting characteristics. "His Royal
Highness' voice pattern is based on the number twelve that was a sacred number
for many religions, including the royal Egyptian dynasties. The twelve
plant-like motifs around the Duke's voice image resemble the lotus blossom,
while the central feature, based on a hexagon, is very crown like. A sun or
star-like symbol inside the hexagon reminds us that the sacred biography of
all kings was related to the sun god."
And what of the Duchess' voice pattern? Again, Reid provides some interesting
insights, "Her Royal Highness' voice pattern contains 14 flower-like motifs,
and ancient symbology suggests that the number 14 denotes someone with a vivid
imagination, who is full of ideas, energy and vitality. The inner part of the
pattern includes a seven-sided figure, a number associated with the seven
virtues: Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Prudence, and Temperance. "
One particularly wonderful aspect of the CymaScope is that it allows all
sounds and voice patterns to be visually studied. Voice patterns are unique to
each person, much like a finger-print. Sounds do not create 'waves', as is
popularly believed, but shimmering, holographic sound bubbles, and the
geometries contained within these bubbles are captured with this new
instrument. As Prince William and Kate Middleton recited their marriage vows,
the "sound bubbles" that emerged from their mouths were imaged on the CymaScope.
Sonic Age America is currently using the CymaScope to help decipher dolphin
language with a team led by Jack Kassewitz in Florida, a dedicated marine
biology researcher who has made significant strides in his bid to "speak
dolphin." (See our Oceanography section.)
Copies of William & Kate's "Harmonic Love Mandala" artwork, featuring the merged voice patterns of the
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are available from Kassewitz's charitable
organization, Global Heart Inc. All revenues from the artwork will go toward
dolphin language research.
Popular female singer has become the first woman in Japan to
see her own voice
Izumi Watanabe, the popular Japanese vocalist, ordered a large number
of Harmonic Voice Mandalas just prior to the major earthquake that rocked
Japan. Here is what Izumi wrote us after the devastation.
"We are safe, we live near Tokyo and the earthquake shook in
our place greatly. It was scary...we sing love, light and sound to the earth.
We sing love light and sound to the stricken area.
With a crystal singing ball I heard a cry
of the earth at time of the earthquake.
Her intention is strong. The consciousness of people must change.
My family have sent supplies to the stricken area.
We help and encourage each other. We cooperate.
We are all are the families of the earth!
I am you. You are me. We are one.
We are light. We are sound. We are love."
Izumi hopes that the beauty of the mandalas, when seen by the Japanese
people, will help to lift their spirits. We hope so too.
Our Harmonic Voice Mandala section may be found here:
Artist chooses CymaScope to help crystalize a dream from
In 2006 the celebrated American artist, Ray Pierotti, attended the first
international conference based on the sound healing modality, Cymatherapy. One
of the guest speakers, John Stuart Reid, demonstrated the Cymascope, an
instrument he developed with gifted American design engineer, Erik Larson.
Reid's talk and demonstration inspired Mr Pierotti to manifest a concept he
first dreamed about as a teenager in the Wasatch Mountains, the creation of
art that is able to capture and connect the ephemeral world of sight, shape,
carries superb new article on Cymatics
The December edition of Veritas Magazine, now in its third issue, carries a
major 6-page article on cymatics. Authored by John Stuart Reid & Annaliese
Shanda Reid the article is aimed at readers who have not previously been
exposed to the subject of visible sound.
John Stuart commented: "Veritas invited us to write an article that would
truly capture the imagination of readers and encourage them to explore the
wonderful new field of cymatics for themselves. I hope we have achieved that
goal and that readers will enjoy reading our overview of cymatics as much as
Annaliese and I enjoyed writing it."
10th December 2010 Israeli construction company BST choose CymaScope for promotional ad
The Israeli development &
construction company, BST, have chosen to use a series of CymaGlyphs to
support their latest promotional campaign.
Daphna Oron, Art
director of advertising agency Elfasi-Contact,
"We needed a symbol of harmony and
preciseness to represent the vision of BST Group. Your cymatics images are
clearly the best in the world and if a picture speaks a thousand words your
images speak volumes about beauty and precision, perfectly encapsulating
two aspects of our client's professional ethos." BST's subsidiary, Marble Arch
Trade, markets quality marble worldwide to the
US, Canada, UK, Australia and Panama.
National Geographic "Amazing!" series features the CymaScope
National Geographic featured the CymaScope this summer in an episode of their
AMAZING! show, which was aired in the U.S.A on August 27th. The film was shot
at our UK CymaScope laboratory and John Stuart Reid provided the
including playing a Chladni plate outdoors in the first snows of winter,
during which sand was filmed at macro range, dancing in the freezing air.
John commented "It is a wonderful acknowledgement of our work to be featured
by National Geographic, particularly regarding the imaging of whale and
and making the sounds from stars visible."
During the National Geographic film shoot John took this shot of Annaliese
Reid creating Crystal 'CymaArt' in which sounds from the sun are being
depicted by crystal media on glass.
National Geographic Amazing! documentary
Tony & Dave, capturing live cymatic footage in the UK
laboratory of CymaScope.com
Piano notes made visible for the first time
Sonic Age America were commissioned by New Zealand-born artist, Shannon Novak,
to make visible 12 notes from a grand piano. The notes, imaged in real time
video, will be used by Mr Novak as inspiration for 12 fine-art works.
Previously it had been assumed that each note would have a fixed geometry but
we discovered something surprising, the geometry actually varies over time as
the note decays.
in our understanding of vowel sound structure
Previously it had been assumed
that each of the five vowels would have the same basic form for every person.
However, our present cymatic study of vocal sounds has revealed a surprising
result. The geometry of vowels actually
varies from pitch-to-pitch for each person and from person to person. Nature,
it seems, loves variety.
The CymaScope has made visible, for the first time, the sound of a star, HR
3831A, a companion to HR 3831-B. First discovered by Professor Don Kurtz,
currently of the University of Central Lancashire Centre for Astrophysics, UK,
this is a rapidly oscillating star, known as an roAp* star.
It has an interesting acoustic signature that manifests beautifully on the
CymaScope. It features distinctive geometry that could provide a useful analog
for future students of asteroseismology and for outreach projects.
Erik Larson, co inventor of the CymaScope, presents at NASA
In honor of Yuri Gagarin, the first person to make a flight into space in
1961, NASA holds an annual "Yuri's Night" celebration at Moffett Federal
Airfield near the south end of San Francisco Bay. This year featured the
CymaScope, the world's first instrument that can make sound visible.
On Education Day, April 9th, 2010, Erik Larson and colleague, Alex
Theory, presented an entertaining talk entitled "Discover Sound" to local
school children and NASA scientists. The "Science CymaScope" was featured,
using sand as the disclosing medium, along with a working prototype of
"CymaScopeH20," the new entry-level model that uses water as the disclosing
medium, due for product release later this year.
Erik and Alex demonstrated both CymaScope models to thousands of people over
the weekend and many visitors said that their booth was the best of all the
booths at the show.
April 11th, 2010
'Grooovenik' are world's first band to
'see' their music
A band from the North East of England, Groovenik, have become the first in the
world to have some of their music imaged on the CymaScope. The story was
published in the Sunday Sun newspaper on 11th April.