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Seeing and Sensing Sound

Examples in this video:
0:04 Chladnian sounding disc
1:18 tonoscope
1:40 water sound vase

Creating music from forms found in plants

Do we also experience what we perceive as beautiful with the eye as harmonious? 

This question comes up again and again in human history.

Leonardo da Vinci already examined the proportions of the human body

and discovered that they correspond to

whole number ratios and, consequently, to musical intervals.


I have now engaged in the harmonic examination of plant proportions 

(English oak, large-leaved lime, service tree, wild service tree and chamomile plant so far).

I measured leaves, flowers, fruits and other typical features of plants

and calculated their tone using the wavelengths corresponding to these measurements.

I then tuned metal chimes or metal harps exactly to the hundredth semitone

so it was possible to not only see the proportions of a leaf but also to hear them.

It is striking that when transforming all of these plants into musical tones,

nature always strives for harmony,  meaning it seeks whole number ratios.

For the specified tone intervals of chamomile, the greatest deviation is 9 cents,

which doesn't even equate to a tenth of a semitone."


The human voice becomes visible through this. Quartz sand is spread on a black drum membrane with a diameter of 60 cm. The membrane is vibrated with a strong tone through a cardboard tube, causing the sand to form beautiful, organic-looking patterns. Low tones create simple, clear images, while higher tones result in more intricate structures.


A copper plate, which can take various shapes, is horizontally attached to an iron stand. The plate is sprinkled with quartz sand and stroked with a violin bow. Depending on the overtone produced, different aesthetic patterns emerge. The vibration characteristics of the plate become visible.



Sand and enamel paint on patinated copper or glass

No brush or spatula was the tool for these images. They didn’t come to life through conventional means but with the help of a violin bow. Copper or glass plates are sprinkled with sand and enamel powder and stroked with a violin bow. The sound that emerges paints the picture itself. Fascinating new structures evolve in a matter of seconds, depending on the tone.

In the oven, the enamel powder melts and fuses with the sand and the metal - the sound image solidifies.


Typically, our eyes stick to the surface when we look at an object. For instance, when looking at a cup, we may assume it's made of porcelain. However, we’re not entirely sure because it could also be plastic painted to look like porcelain. It's only when we tap on the cup that certainty arises. Our ears are like X-ray eyes. When something produces sound, we listen into the inner nature of the sound generator. In the sound images, part of the inner quality of copper becomes visible on the surface. Therefore, the copper plates are not imposed with a foreign image using brush or paint; instead, their own inherent image is revealed.



A sound object for all senses

Spherical resonators made of tissue paper enhance the sound of the bronze plate bell. The larger one amplifies the deep fundamental tone, while the smaller one accentuates various overtones. As the small paper container swings back and forth, the sound becomes oddly elastic, as different overtones are emphasised at different times. Touching these hollow bodies you can feel the sound. A candle in the lower resonator produces warm light and warms the sound plate.

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