Art of Sound Creative Research What’s it all about?

What’s it all about?

Strong abstract design is created with rhythms and harmonies in shapes, lines, edges and colours and is analogous to the rhythms in music and the harmonies between individual notes. Barry John Raybould, M.A.

Indeed, there are many artists who correlate abstract painting to the rhythms and harmonies of music. So, what about using music or sound to create art? Ever wonder what would happen if a painter replaced their paintbrush for a speaker? Would the result be chaos or would there be some form of order out of the chaos with symmetry and pattern?

One area which may offer some clues is Cymatics. Meaning wave, Cymatics is described as a subset of modal vibrational phenomena created by sound, frequency or vibration producing resonance patterns as a result of standing waves. Currently Cymatics is considered to be an emerging science (Arnold, 2014) that is yet to be fully explored and understood, even though the study of resonance and the nature of sound dates back to Da Vinci and further explored and studied by various scholars and scientists throughout the ages, such as German musicians and physicists like Ernst Chladni (1786 – 1827) and Dr Hans Jenny (1904 – 1972) who carried out further research using Chladni’s plate.

A quick search online for Cymatics reveals a whole host of scientific and DIY experiments to create patterns resembling geometric shapes and intricate patterns, many of which closely relate to art related concepts of geometry, divine proportion or patterns in nature, which intrigues me. Some of the most interesting of these to date being research into the effects on water by acoustic physics researcher John Stuart Reid (see Reid 2016) using a Cymascope and the residency work of artist Pamela Paulsrud (2018). Hence this research aims to examine, explore and experiment further the idea of using Cymatics and sound as an ‘artists tool’ to create primarily visual two-dimensional works of art e.g. paintings, prints etc whilst documenting the process in film or video format, with a view to maybe expanding to other disciplines in the future.


Reid, John Stuart (October 2016) Secret of Cymatics. Filmed at the Water Conference, Sofia, Bulgaria, October 2016. Retrieved 17th October 2018 from

Pamela Paulsrud. Sound Narratives – The Chakras. Retrieved 30 December 2018 from

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Currently working primarily as a semi-abstract, mixed media landscape artist anything related to capturing mood, atmosphere and sense of place in the landscape, nature and the natural world peaks my