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 on the
CymaScope instrument. No color was added to the video. The Halo Drum features
a highly distinctive mix of harmonics and
the sustain of each note, particularly the C3, is several seconds in duration,
allowing the harmonics to be rendered visible.
The Development of MusicMadeVisible--Male Vocal
In collaboration with Japanese vocalist, Yantara Jiro, we imaged a short vocal
melody to assess how quickly the CymaScope's
water membrane is able to follow changes in the pitch of musical sounds. The
water has a natural hysteresis, thus, it takes a
finite time for the water molecules to take up new wavelet placements in
response to a new set of imposed frequencies. This
effect can be seen during the moments of transition as Yantara changes his
vocal pitch during progress of the melody. The
color was added as an experiment in which each musical note was allocated with
a specific color.
Shannon Novak, a New Zealand-born fine artist, commissioned us to image 12
piano notes as inspiration for a series of 12 musical canvases. We decided to
image the notes in video mode because when we observed the 'A1' note we
discovered, surprisingly, that the energy envelope changes over time as the
string's harmonics mix in the piano's wooden bridge. Instead of the envelope
being fairly stable, as we had imagined, the harmonics actually cause the
CymaGlyphs to be wonderfully dynamic. Our ears can easily detect the changes
in the harmonics and the CymaScope now reveals them--probably a first in
Capturing the dynamics was only possible with HD video but taming the dynamics
of the piano's first strike, followed by the short plateau and long decay
phase, was tricky. We achieved the result with the help of a professional
audio compressor operating in real time.
Shannon was delighted with the results. He commented:
"I have always been fascinated with the translation of that
which is invisible, into something visible that individuals can relate to, in
particular, the representation of sound through colour and geometric form. I
saw the use of cymatic technology as one method of such representation and a
unique and compelling way of educating individuals about the link between
sound, colour, and geometric form".
Piano notes made
visible on the CymaScope
For the first time in history individual piano notes have been made visible
using the CymaScope instrument.
The piano notes were painstakingly recorded by Evy King and then fed into the
CymaScope one by one
and the results recorded in high definition video.
Music, in the absolute sense, is the invisible geometry
of the cosmos, a delicate tracery of frequencies that harmonise with each other and from
which all matter manifests.
The conductor of this sublime symphony is the
Creative Force of the cosmos, some people prefer to say: God.
Music, as sensed by humans, is a delicate
tracery of audible frequencies that harmonise with each other and
generally please our emotions.
What is not commonly known is that music has the
almost magical power to create form from formlessness. If the
reader doubts this, click the arrow below to view water under the
influence of music, revealing the invisible geometry of music.
MMV technology is still under
development but as this excerpt from Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine"
shows, an exciting future lies ahead when all music can be transcribed to
is a new concept
in musical expression, a stream of cymatic images representing an analog of
music in visual form. If our eyes could see music we would not see waves, as is commonly believed,
but beautiful holographic bubbles, with shimmering kaleidoscopic patterns on
their surface. The CymaScope allows us to see this previously hidden realm
audible sounds are bubble-like in nature, not wave-like as is
If our eyes
could see music they would be bathed in scintillating
is an instrument that makes sound or music visible, creating
detailed 3D impressions of sound or music vibrations.
Here the rapidly expanding sphere is captured
in a frozen moment. The interior reveals a beautiful and complex
structure representing the rich harmonic nature of violin music.
images can be thought of as analogs of music because the geometry
they contain is a mathematical correlate of the musical pitches and
intervals that caused the pattern to form on the Cymascope membrane.