CYMATICS: Science Vs. Music - Nigel Stanford

The German musician and physicist Ernst Chladni noticed in the eighteenth century that the modes of vibration of a membrane or a plate can be observed by sprinkling the vibrating surface with a fine dust (e.g., lycopodium powder, flour or fine sand). The powder moves due to the vibration and accumulates progressively in points of the surface corresponding to the sound vibration. The points form a pattern of lines, known as "nodal lines of the vibration mode". The normal modes of vibration, and the pattern of nodal lines associated with each of these, are completely determined, for a surface with homogeneous mechanical characteristics, from the geometric shape of the surface and by the way in which the surface is constrained.