Cymatics, the study of visible sound vibrations, are not just cool to look at. The beautiful, mandala-like formations that can be manifested through almost any material (like liquids, grains/sand, powders, pastes) are echoed in nature, architecture, art and (often drug-induced) hallucinations. But cymatics also provides an opportunity to explore solutions to many worldwide problems, such as disease, energy shortages, and environmental damage. As Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Below are five fun facts about cymatics.
1. In the early 1700’s, a German physicist named Ernst Chladni covered plates with thin layers of sand, made them vibrate, and observed the patterns that resulted from the vibrations. He became known as the ”Father of Acoustics.” Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor and natural scientist who studied cymatics for fourteen years from 1904-1972 (and subsequently wrote “Cymatics – The Structure and Dynamics of Waves and Vibrations”), created the patterns by using sine wave vibrations, or pure tones, within audible range. The result was a physical, visible portrayal of sound. Cymatics!
2. Certain sound frequencies create harmonic geometric shapes that are also found in nature, such as Fibonacci spirals, hexagrams, pentagonal structures, platonic solid structures, crystal structures, tube torus, etc. Think of shells, spiders’ webs, floral life, snowflakes, pyramidal shapes and more. When these patterns are mirrored in the design and construction of religious structures such as churches, temples, mosques, religious monuments, altars, and tabernacles, it is referred to as sacred geometry.
3. Traditionally, music is tuned to A=440 Hz, but studies of the vibratory nature of the universe stipulate that A=440 Hz is disharmonious with nature’s resonance, and can therefore create negative effects on human consciousness and even behavior. The logical solution was to tune to a resonance consistent with nature, which is A=432 Hz. The result is that music typically sounds more harmonious and superior overall, but the tuning also changes the experience, making it feel like it is happening within the body, more internal than external.
4. Cymatics also explores the healing properties of music. Cymatics therapy uses a toning device to transmit vibrations of healthy organs and tissues into diseased areas of the body. The theory behind it is that there is no difference between the energetic pattern of an object and the object itself. Everything is made of energy, therefore, by transmitting a healthy frequency into diseased tissue, the diseased tissue takes on the frequency of healthy tissue and thereby becomes healthy. Also, think of how monks the world over conduct meditative chants.
5. Cymatics explores ways to use frequencies to create strong energy fields that can move heavy objects even through space and time. Sounds waves are used to create acoustic levitation of anything from water droplets to massive stone monoliths. Even mysterious phenomenons like crop circles could potentially be the result of acoustic levitation.
Cymatics never cease to amaze. In the words of Albert Einstein, “What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.” Be on the lookout for the Encyclopedia of Music’s next musomania blog when we pit A=440 Hz against A=432 Hz!