Music & Matter

Physics tells us that sound is produced when air molecules are made to vibrate by a vibrating source. When a student plays middle C in an instrument – a piano hammer making a string vibrate or a bow drawn across a string of a violin, he sets off the vibrating source. These vibrations disturb the air molecules closest to the source starting a domino effect making millions of air molecules around it to vibrate and move is a specific pattern. This wave of vibrating molecules reaches our eardrum and the brain processes it – and that is the miracle of middle C.

But this post is not about the physics 101 of sound. Air is just one medium of vibration for sound. Ernst Chladni, a German scientist, in one of his experiments was able to represent physically the patterns formed by vibrating particles. In his experiment called Chladni Plates, he made sand particles on a plate to vibrate by drawing a violin bow across the plate. The vibrations made unique patterns on the plate for specific sound frequencies. It was as if he found the unique fingerprint of every sound frequency. Experiments continued on vibrating particles on various mediums including water, gases and other liquids and the study of this phenomenon is called CYMATICS.

Science apart, the dance (as I would like to call it), the particles make because of sound, appeal to a creative mind. One can only imagine how it influences human soul when we listen to music.

Watch this amazing video ‘CYMATICS: Science vs. Music’ by Nigel Stanford. “See” what music does. It gives new meaning to the phrase “Music affects all”. ENJOY!!

The experiments on sound waves used in the making of video above include Chladni Plate, Ruben’s Tube, Tesla Coil, hose pipe water and Ferro Fluid.