Cymatic Music

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Music of a Sphere

It should also be pointed out that in my previous experiments the bubbles were only vibrating in one plane - up and down. Seen from above they remain circular. Furthermore, a bubble is only a spherical membrane. What would a sphere look like, what patterns would emerge if it were to vibrate in three dimensions?

Elastic spheres are difficult to come by for experimental purposes. The astronaut Don Pettit conducted a series of experiments on the way to the international space station showing that in zero gravity a drop of water assumes a spherical shape as can be seen in the clip below. How would this drop respond to sonic vibration?

Figure 68 (Click picture to view video)

No amount of boffining can conjure up zero gravity in my living room, so to pursue this project further I’ll have to turn to simulated vibrations through computational fluid dynamics, a field with a very steep learning curve well beyond my modest means. Collaboration with a like-minded computer graphic expert will be my way forward.

If we could see the vibrational pressure patterns in the air around us, what would emerge in a spherical room like Stockhausen’s spherical concert hall in Osaka (figure 69) or the interior of Etienne-Louis Boullee’s proposed mausoleum for Isaac Newton (figure 70)?

Figure 69
Figure 69

Figure 70
Figure 70

Where I envisage this project heading ultimately is a form of multimedia performance where there is a formal correspondance between the music being played and the visuals displayed.

Imagine a three dimensional sphere projected, say, within the dome of St. Paul’s which could be scaled and sliced and which vibrated not merely as an accompaniment to the music but as a direct proportional reflection of it.

Would the spherical architecture in any way correlate with Johannes Kepler’s nested platonic solids as shown in figure 71; Kepler’s concept of the Music of the Spheres may be fanciful hyperbole but the prospect of the music of a sphere promises to be no less enthralling.

Nested Platonics



Figure 71