Cymatics – The Study of Wave Phenomena

Cymatics is a scientific methodology that demonstrates the vibratory nature of matter and the transformational nature of sound. Cymatics shows that for every sound a corresponding pattern or shape can be seen. It gives visible proof that vibration underlies all reality.

Cymatic patterns

The term “Cymatics” was coined by Hans Jenny in the 1960s. Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor and scientist, adapted the term from the Greek word Kyma (wave). He spent over 14 years documenting his experiments in great detail, showing the forms and patterns which sound produced in various powders, pastes and liquids. Jenny’s cymatic patterns are, in fact, pictures of sound.

The pictures on the right illustrate how sound creates specific forms. These sound-forms were obtained by placing various substances on a metal plate with an oscillator attached to the bottom. The oscillator creates a chosen frequency pulse that vibrates the steel plate. Different vibrations organize the substance on the plate into different forms. Jenny’s experiments suggest that the shapes and patterns of reality are created by the shapes of sound patterns interacting with vibration.

Jenny’s work was, in part, based on that of Ernst Chladni, known as the “Father of Acoustics”, who laid the foundations for the study of the physics of sound. In 1787, Chladni replicated the work of Robert Hooke from 1680 to show patterns produced by sand placed on metal plates and vibrated by a violin bow. He made extensive drawings of these patterns, which came to be known as Chladni figures.

Whereas Chladni had to steady a small steel plate covered with sand in his fingers while stroking it with a violin bow, Jenny had the advantage of electronic equipment, giving him much greater control over his experiments. Hidden within the physical formations of standing-wave patterns, he perceived and documented specific processes manifesting through the energetic impulse (oscillations) of sound frequencies interacting with matter.

Jenny also noticed that when the vowels of ancient languages like Hebrew and Sanskrit were pronounced, the sand took the shape of the written symbols for those vowels. Modern languages, including English, failed to generate those patterns.

What does it all mean to us today? Cymatics and Dr. Hans Jenny’s work gives enough evidence to conclude that all natural phenomena are entirely determined by the frequencies of vibration. Pulses, vibrations and wave motions create the physical world. What seems solid is really a wave, and this wave is composed of quantum particles that are constantly moving. Sound is the origin of everything.

The video is a presentation of Cymatics, showcased at TED Global 2009 in Oxford.

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* Post image: A sequence of ‘standing wave’ patterns in water. From Water Sound Images by Alexander Lauterwasser

One Response to “Cymatics – The Study of Wave Phenomena”

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  1. Great website!
    I did a similar experiment with a couple of friends using a guitar amp, a drum, some sand and the 528 hz frequency. You can see the video here:

    However, in the research I have done it seems no one was able to measure hertz until the 1920′s so people in the past must have tuned to this frequency through a perfect sense of pitch rather than a measuring tool.
    Do you have any further knowledge with this?

    I wrote about 432 hz here:

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