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Chladni Sound Figures

Unveiling Sound’s Artistry on Vibrating Plates

In Short

Imagine transforming sound into mesmerizing visual art. Chladni Sound Figures does just that. Inspired by Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni’s technique from the 1800s, we sprinkle sand on metal plates and set them into motion with vibrations. These vibrations, driven by sound, result in captivating symmetrical patterns emerging on the plate’s surface.

Details and Theory

In the early 19th century, Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni captivated audiences across Europe with his innovative approach. He demonstrated that sound waves could be made visible by scattering sand onto metal plates and exciting them into vibration. A stroke of his violin bow against the plate’s center caused specific tones to resonate and create standing vibrational waves. In areas of the plate where the sand gathered, dormant spots formed intricate symmetric patterns, revealing the hidden beauty of sound.

Taking inspiration from Chladni’s work, we’ve recreated this captivating experience with a modern twist.  Instead of a violin bow, we employ a loudspeaker to stimulate the plate’s vibrations and we hacked a midi-keyboard to just play the plates resonance frequencies.