First, to understand the Cymascope, you first need to understand Cymatics:
Excerpt taken from Wikipedia on Cymatics:
|Picture by Wayne Griggs|
Cymatics (from Greek: κῦμα "wave") is the study of visible sound and vibration, a subset of modal phenomena. Typically the surface of a plate, diaphragm, or membrane is vibrated, and regions of maximum and minimum displacement are made visible in a thin coating of particles, paste, or liquid. Different patterns emerge in the exitatory medium depending on the geometry of the plate and the driving frequency.
The apparatus employed can be simple, such as a Chladni Plate or advanced such as the CymaScope, a laboratory instrument that makes visible the inherent geometries within sound and music.
|Picture By Wayne Griggs|
The generic term for this field of science is the study of modal phenomena, retitled Cymatics by Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor and a pioneer in this field. The word Cymatics derives from the Greek 'kuma' meaning 'billow' or 'wave,' to describe the periodic effects that sound and vibration has on matter.
The study of the patterns produced by vibrating bodies has a venerable history. One of the earliest to record that an oscillating body displayed regular patterns was Galileo Galilei. In Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), he wrote:
As I was scraping a brass plate with a sharp iron chisel in order to remove some spots from it and was running the chisel rather rapidly over it, I once or twice, during many strokes, heard the plate emit a rather strong and clear whistling sound: on looking at the plate more carefully, I noticed a long row of fine streaks parallel and equidistant from one another. Scraping with the chisel over and over again, I noticed that it was only when the plate emitted this hissing noise that any marks were left upon it; when the scraping was not accompanied by this sibilant note there was not the least trace of such marks.
|Picture by Wayne Griggs|
On July 8, 1680, Robert Hooke was able to see the nodal patterns associated with the modes of vibration of glass plates. Hooke ran a bow along the edge of a glass plate covered with flour, and saw the nodal patterns emerge.
In 1787, Ernst Chladni repeated the work of Robert Hooke and published "Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klanges" ("Discoveries in the Theory of Sound"). In this book, Chladni describes the patterns seen by placing sand on metal plates which are made to vibrate by stroking the edge of the plate with a bow.
Cymatics was explored by Hans Jenny in his 1967 book, Kymatik (translated Cymatics). Inspired by systems theory and the work of Ernst Chladni, Jenny began an investigation of periodicphenomena but especially the visual display of sound. He used standing waves, piezoelectric amplifiers, and other methods and materials.
Senses and SoundSound has structure and form, but while we can appreciate the beauty of music and birdsong, the invisibility of sound makes it difficult to study. Just as great advances in medical science have come about as the result of the microscope, and enormous strides have been made in understanding the cosmos with the telescope, the CymaScope® does for sound what the microscope and the telescope have done for medical science and cosmology.
In fact, the visual acuity of our brains is so powerful that we can make far more sense of the world and cosmos with our vision than we can with our other senses.