Visualising Sound

Photographer Nick Moore is in the midst of various sound experiments, recording the effects of different audio frequencies on materials and played back in slow motion. The effects can be quite hypnotic and totally cool to see in action.

This first one shows off the rythmic behaviour of match flames next to a speaker running at 60 Hz.

And then there’s this one displaying what happens to a blob of mercury, which at normal speed doesn’t seem like much, but when slowed down, forms intricate ‘dancing’ geometric shapes.

This phenomena is called Cymatics and turns out, it has been around for a significant period of history.

One figurative example is the ‘musical’ boxes of Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel; where a sequence of 213 cubes protrude from the pillars, with each displaying a selection of geometric patterns. The meaning of these were unknown until a hypothesis in 2005 by Thomas Mitchell identified these as cymatics and correspond to the Chapel’s carved angels that are depicted playing musical instruments and each pointing to a certain note on a musical staff.

Though not upheld scientifically or historically, it sure is pretty damn cool math.