CYMATICS: Science Meets Music In An Audio-Visual Extravaganza

According to Wikipedia, the word Cymatics derives from the Greek ‘kyma’ meaning ‘billow’ or ‘wave,’ to describe the periodic effects that sound and vibration have on matter.

Drawing inspiration from a documentary he saw on a rare disorder called Synesthesia, which causes some people to see a certain colour when they hear a specific frequency, or vica versa – to hear a specific sound when one sees bright colours for example, New Zealand based musician, Nigel Stanford wanted to create a conceptual music video on the principles of the visual representation of sound frequencies on matter in which specific visual elements correspond to sound frequencies.

In 2013, he joined forces with NY based filmmaker Shahir Daud, and cinematographer Timur Civan in order to turn his bold vision into a reality, and this is how Cymatics: Science vs. Music was born.

CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music – Nigel Stanford from Nigel Stanford on Vimeo.

From the album ‘Solar Echoes’.

Download the video in 4K. All of the science experiments in the video are real. Watch behind the scenes and see how it was made.


Directed by
Cinematographer: Timur Civan

The music video took more than six months to complete from pre-production to the shoot in December of 2013 as it required plenty of research and cymatic kit for the different experiments depicted in the video above. The Director of Photography, Timur Civan chose to use the RED Dragon to capture it all mainly for its high resolution, dynamic range and slow-motion options. The video was shot in 6K and delivered in 4K. You can download a 4K version from the description above or see the 4K Youtube version at the bottom of the article.

Nigel Stanford Cymatics Rubens Tube

Below you can see some behind the scenes videos on the shooting process and different cymatic instruments used:

  • Chladni Plate – basically this is a speaker with a metal plate attached. Once sand is poured onto the plate, a sound is played, which cases vibrations thus creating different patterns depending on the pitch of the sounds.

  • Hose Pipe – this experiment matches a speaker vibrating at the same speed as the camera’s frame rate giving the effect of water being frozen into a spiral shape. They decided to go with 25Hz as a frequency as to match the frame rate of the RED Dragon.

  • Speaker Dish – for this one they used frozen vodka to fill a small dish placed on top of a speaker because it was thicker than water and moved slower, therefore easily creating shapes. The team resorted to using a 50Hz tones and a 100Hz tone, 2x and 4x the camera’s 25fps as to make the liquid seem frozen just like in the Hose Pipe water experiment.

  • Ferro Fluid – is basically a magnetic fluid consisting of iron nano particles suspended in an oil and when you attach a magnet underneath the iron particles create bizzare shapes.

  • Plasma Ball – a $20 plasma ball did the trick for this experiment. According to Nigel he is “playing it with my hand in the video by having it turn on and off with each note of the keyboard. The position of my hand is supposed to imply the amount of filter being applied to the sound. I selected a synth sound that reminded me of electricity. “


  • Ruben’s Tube – a long pipe with small holes on the upside and propane gas running through it. When a tones are played through the pipe this high and low pressure zones of gas cause the height of the flame.

  • Tesla Coil – a 16,000 volts high voltage device that generates arcs of electricity in the air.

This is a fascinating music video and sound visualisation experiment, which took a lot of hard work and determination, we’re just glad these guys did it so we can see things we’d normally never be able to see.

Cymatics is the featured single from Nigel Stanford’s latest album Solar Echoes, which is available via Amazon and iTunes. For more of Nigel’s work and info on how the did this music video head over to his official site.

You can download 4K, UltraHD and HD version for the video here, or see it in 4K below. Get 4K stills images from the music video here.

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