Musical Science

  • Did you ever wonder what was going on inside your head in music class? Well scientists wanted to know too, and they discovered that when your brain hears music, it lights up all over. 

    brain

    This is simply listening to music. Now imagine if you are singing, dancing, or playing an instrument; how much your brain is working!

    musical brain

     

    Speaking of playing instruments and vibrations, the string instruments are the easiest to see what creates sound because we can see the strings moving.

    Vibrations on a guitar, as seen by the human eye and with a digital camera.

     

    guitar

      

    These vibrations can also be seen using sand or salt and plates of metal called Chladni Plates. If you want to experience this for yourself, there is a Chladni plate you can play with at the Discovery Center in Boise.

    Chladni resonance experiment

    chladni

    This is the same video, but with the actual sounds that are making the patterns. 

    Chladni Resonance with tones

     

     And if we put a bunch of sound experiments together, we get the study of vibrations (sound is a vibration) which is cymatics.

    Cymatics music video

     cymatics

     If you are skeptical, as in "What? That's not real." Or you want to know how they did the experiments, Check out Nigel Stanford's behind the scenes

    Want to learn more? Look up a tesla coil. Or subwoofer vibrations. Or how a hose and water can make a spiral wave due to the vibrations of the speaker. Do it! Question, learn, and prove. Don't just take my word for it.

    Then, start planning a cymatics demonstration for the next science fair.