Part III: the frequency of sound or the patterns of existence – Ernst Chladni

Sound, music and everything we hear moves, influence and changes us. Just think about how music can change our mood. but why and how is that possible? If we see, how certain frequencies have certain patterns, we might come closer to understanding.

Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni was one of the first, if not the first, who found out that specific sounds have specific patterns depending on the thing they resonate with.

One of Chladni’s best-known achievements was inventing a technique to show the various modes of vibration of a rigid surface. When resonating, a plate or membrane is divided into regions that vibrate in opposite directions, bounded by lines where no vibration occurs (nodal lines). Chladni repeated the pioneering experiments of Robert Hooke who, on July 8, 1680, had observed the nodal patterns associated with the vibrations of glass plates. Hooke ran a violin bow along the edge of a plate covered with flour and saw the nodal patterns emerge.

Chladni’s technique, first published in 1787 in his book Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klanges (“Discoveries in the Theory of Sound”), consisted of drawing a bow over a piece of metal whose surface was lightly covered with sand. The plate was bowed until it reached resonance, when the vibration causes the sand to move and concentrate along the nodal lines where the surface is still, outlining the nodal lines. The patterns formed by these lines are what are now called Chladni figures. Similar nodal patterns can also be found by assembling microscale materials on Faraday waves.

Variations of this technique are still commonly used in the design and construction of acoustic instruments such as violins, guitars, and cellos. Since the 20th century, it has become more common to place a loudspeaker driven by an electronic signal generator over or under the plate to achieve a more accurate adjustable frequency.

Ich empfehle sehr diese Biorgapie von ihm. (good german biography)

Video with some patterns on a metal plate.

Gute Erklährung wie die Muster entstehen. (Good german explanation about the patterns.)

I imagine that these patterns could stand for different feelings emotions and states of being. And if we listen to music or any kind of sound our body resonates with it and these patterns form in our body. Another picture I have in my mind is, when you’re standing for example in the first row of a concert and your whole body vibrates like a balloon to the loud beats.. what if the blood inside takes shape of these pulsating patterns pumping through our veins?


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