Cymatics is a word coined by Dr. Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor, who in his spare time investigated the power of sound to create form. Jenny spent many hours observing the effects of sound upon matter. Many consider this work to be the seminal most important demonstration of the ability of sound to shape substance.
The word, Cymatics is Greek for waveform because sound travels as a wave. Throughout history there have been people who have observed and investigated the unique ability of the vibrations of sound to effect and shape different substances.
Many of us back in high school science might have seen an experiment performed where a science teacher scattered sand on a steel plate and then vibrated this plate with a violin bow. The sand would begin to move and take on symmetrical shapes-geometric and organic looking. These experiments were based upon the work of an l8th century German physicist named Ernst Chladni.
Dr. Jenny’s work was a further extension of this work. His Cymatic experiments show the effects of sound waves upon many different types of material, including water, pastes, liquids and plastics. Dr. Jenny placed these substances on a steel plate, vibrated the plate with a crystal oscillator, which produces an exact frequency, and then photographed the effects.
What Dr. Jenny observed with these experiments was recorded and printed in a monumental work entitled CYMATICS. Several of the photographs from this book are printed below as well as other related photos. As you can see, these liquids, pastes, dust and plastics take on incredibly organic looking shapes. Within the hundreds of photographs taken by Dr. Jenny are pictures that look like starfish, human cells and organs, underwater and microscopic life, but are in reality inorganic materials which had looked like lifeless shapes moments before they were exposed to sound.
Dr. Jenny’s work demonstrates positive proof of the amazing power of sound to create form. While the structures and objects created by the sound are not living creatures, many of them certainly look as though they are. One can almost imagine that, with a “Divine” sound coming from a sacred source, in the beginning the “Word” could indeed create life.
Dr. Jenny’s work has been carried on by several people in the 21st century, including Alexander Lauterwasser of Germany and John Reid of England. The following images demonstrate the power of sound to create form:
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Images 1 & 2 are by Dr. Hans Jenny from his book CYMATICS (Macromedia). They are of two different frequencies creating two different geometric shapes of water being vibrated on a steel plate.
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Images 3 & 4 are also by Dr. Jenny from the same source. These are of liquid plastic on a steel plate being resonated by different sounds. One image looks almost like a sea anenomie and the other shape resembles a cell of the body undergoing mitosis.
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Images 5 & 6 are Cymaglyphs by Erik Larsen, using John Reid’s Cyma-Scope to photograph the effects of sound upon water. From THE 7 SECRETS OF SOUND HEALING (Hay House), these beautiful geometric images, which demonstrate the power of different frequencies to create different shapes, are a further extension of Dr. Jenny’s work.
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Images 7 & 8 are from a book SHRI YANTRA (Thames). Image 7 is a picture of an ancient Hindu image (mandala) called the Shri Yantra, that many believe to be the visual depiction of the sacred mantra “Om”. Image 8 is said to be an electronically enhanced tonoscope (a device much like Jenny’s instrument) image into which someone chanted “Om” through a microphone with the sound effecting the form of colored sand on a steel plate.