Music Made Visible

Music, in the absolute sense, is the invisible geometry of the cosmos, a delicate tracery of frequencies that harmonize with each other and from which all matter manifests. The conductor of this sublime symphony is the Creative Force of the cosmos. 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, but is clearly demonstrated in theses videos, is that music has the almost magical power to create form from formlessness. MusicMadeVisible is still under development but an exciting future lies ahead when all music can be described to the visual realm. This new technology is likely to be of great assistance to profoundly deaf people and those with other life challenges.

CymaScope video projected in Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

When Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, in Portland, Oregon, decided to sponsor an art installation they chose a collaborative design by artist, Shelley Socolofsky and John Stuart Reid of The theme set by the cathedral was that the piece should connect light and dark and be a "new and experimental art form and media that cannot be hung on walls nor placed on pedestals”. Using this brief Socolofsky and Reid came up with a design titled “Cauldron", featuring a six foot diameter circular pond of white color-dyed water, onto which a video projector would fire CymaScope imagery relevant to the cathedral. After the installation opened to the public Shelley Socolofsky commented, “The Cauldron installation was a huge success and the crowd was mesmerised and fascinated by the CymaScope imagery reflected off water. People came to see it in their droves.”
John Stuart Reid commented, “The Trinity art installation project represents the first ever cymatics-based art installation in a cathedral, to our knowledge. It was a real thrill to see the imagery of the marvellous Pilgrims’ Hymn and Toccata and Fugue come alive for the first time in the CymaScope laboratory. James Stuart Reid did wonderful work in constructing and editing the various elements in post production. We hope this will be the first of many MusicMadeVisible videos designed for sacred spaces in the


Clair de Lune MusicMadeVisible

Debussy's much-loved 'Clair de Lune' is the first ever full length piece of classical music to be made visible with a CymaScope instrument, an exciting new technology that imprints music onto the surface of pure water.

The CymaScope is a new technology in which any sound or music can be made visible, rendering sonic frequencies as beautiful geometry. The resulting imagery is not the commonly seen 'visualizer' patterns created by a computer. The quasi-3D imagery you will see is literally the music imprinted on the surface of pure water for you to enjoy with your sight and hearing. All audible sounds are bubble-like in form as they leave a musical instrument or someone's mouth. The CymaScope allows us to see a cross section through the ever-changing and shimmering sonic bubble. For our debut piece we chose Debussy's much-loved Clair de Lune (light of moon), played by gifted concert pianist, Daniel Levy. We hope that this MusicMadeVisible video delights you: we believe that a new era in musical appreciation has begun.


Strauss' Blue Danube made visible with an electromechanical Chladni plate

A little bit of cymatic fun in which we played Strauss' Blue Danube into an electromechanical Chladni Plate in the CymaScope laboratory. A clip from this video was first broadcast in the Canadian CBC documentary, "Sonic Magic: The Wonder and Science of Sound" in November 2015, hosted by David Suzuki. With special thanks to Stuart Mitchell for orchestrating and playing the Blue Danube excerpt.

Karmin - Pulses

Nanateya Cosmic Music, "Pastoral"

This experimental MusicMadeVisible video consists of two excerpts from a longer video created for Nanateya, a founder and inspirer of the Wave Art Center in Moscow and author of The Crystal Sounds of the Universe Project.


Baldego's S-t-r-e-t-c-h MusicMadeVisible

While our primary focus is to explore scientific applications for the CymaScope instrument, we recognise that music, when made visible, holds great potential to bring joy to many people. We have conducted a series of experiments to begin to develop a new genre of entertainment: MusicMadeVisible. A pop music project was undertaken with Scottish musician, John McGowan, a.k.a, "Baldego". John is very creative in his compositions and this particular melody, which he wrote and performed, is highly memorable. We have embedded CymaScope MusicMadeVisible footage in a number of segments.


The beauty of twelve piano notes made visible on CymaScope

This CymaScope video makes visible the first twelve notes of a concert grand piano tuned to A4 = 440 Hertz. All notes show the attack, sustain and decay phases. By pausing the video it is possible to observe great detail in the geometry created by each note as it is imprinted onto the CymaScope's water membrane. The sound of an individual piano note is not constant but varies due to the string's partials (also known as harmonics) reflecting off the sound board and piano cabinet, adding tonal 'color' to the sound as the string receives some of the reflected sounds. The tonal color variations of each note are made visible, as evidenced by the evolving geometries in the video of each note. Because no two pianos are identical, every piano has a unique sound. The first octave of the piano, presented in this video, features single strings, while higher octaves have either two or three strings for each note. (Piano recordings courtesy of Dan Koehler of Naples Piano Company.)