Hans Jenny Cymatics Videos & Book - 01/01/98
Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni (klahd'nee) - German Physicist
Born: Wittenberg, Saxony, November 30, 1756
Died: Breslau, Silesia (modern Wroclaw, Poland), April 3, 1827
Chladni, the son of a lawyer, found his own education directed to the law,
much against his will. He received his degree from the University of
Leipzig in 1782, but when his father died Chladni was able to consult his
own interests more freely, and these lay in the direction of science.
Since he was interested in music and was himself an amateur musician,
he began to investigate sound waves matehmatically in 1786.
He was the first to work out the quantitative relationships governing
the transmission of sound and is therefore called the Father of Acoustics.
Chladni set thin plates, covered with a layer of sand, to vibrating.
The plate vibrated in a complex pattern, with some portions (nodal lines)
remaining motionless. The nodal lines retained sand shaken onto them by
the neighboring areas that were vibrating.
In this way the plates came to be covered with characteristic sand patterns
from which much could be deduced concerning vibrations.
The patterns (which are still called Chladni figures) fascinated the
audience when they were exhibited before a gathering of scintists at
Paris in 1809. Napoleon had the demonstration repeated for himself.
The velocity of sound had already been measured in air by Gassendi and others
two centuries earlier, but Chladni went a step further. He filled organ pipes
with different gases and from the pitch of the note sounded on those pipes was
able to calculate the velocity of sound in each of those cases.
The free vibration of a column of gas determines its pitch, and that
vibration depends on the natural mobility of the molecules making it up.
The velocity of sound through the gas also depends on the natural mobility of
those molecules, so that the velocity of sound in a particular gas can be
calculated from the pitch sounded by an organ pipe filled with gas.
Chladni invented a musical instrument called the Euphonium, made of glass
rods and steel bars that were sounded by being rubbed with the moistened
finger, and traveled about Europe performing on this instrument and giving
He also had a collection of meteorites and was one of the first scientists
to insist that these fell from the heavens, as a number of peasants, who
claimed they had seen it happen, had reported.
In 1794 he wrote a book on the subject and suggested the meteorites
to be the debris of an exploded planet.
In the very reasonable Age of reason of the late eighteenth century,
scientists were reluctant to believe such obviously tall tales, until Biot
settled matters at the turn of the century.
Modern research into the phenomena elicited in Chladni figures can be
primarily attributed to the late Dr. Hans Jenny of Switzerland.
Dr. Jenny attempted to develop a system which would show the two dimensional
Chladni figures in three dimensions using vibrated amorphous materials that
could reflect the X, Y and Z axis.
His best 3D efforts resulted from the use of a plastic material of extremely
fine grain which possessed a modest attraction to allow the formation and
transmutation of lifelike structures from excitation by acoustic waves.
An excellent film of Dr. Jenny's work demonstrates the many unusual
phenomena which occur when various sounds are played against each other.
This film is included in a video entitled "Cymatics" which also features
the current work of Dr. Peter Guy Manners on the healing aspects of complex
We know that Keely developed analytical devices based on Chladni principles
to assist in his understanding of frequency phenomena. Photos of his
equipment show many different types of resonators ranging from tubes, to
discs, to vibrating bars.
Keely is claimed to have developed an Ultraviolet microscope which could
project an image onto a wall. He used this to study the motion of atoms and
molecules so they could be slowed, stopped or accelerated by using various
It is possible that Keely developed a kind of 'polar coordinate oscilloscope'
which would show frequencies as spherical rather than stretched out over time
as with modern scopes.
Such an oscilloscope would show the interactions between various frequencies
much closer to the reality than when expanded over time. The source of each
frequency should be able to be moved on the screen so that interference
patterns could be shown. Much like a computer program developed by Russian
researcher Ivanov. (Someone should make a program like this, it would be
quite interesting to use and might yield new information.)
At this time, we have no positive knowledge of the nature or construction of
The following products are available from;
Other Fascinating Books &
Tapes - 01/01/98
Dr. Hans Jenny
Bringing Matter to Life with Sound
Pioneering experiments using audible sound to excite inert matter into life-
like, flowing forms. The responsiveness of all matter to its underlying
vibrational tone is demonstrated in delicate and intricate patterns.
#LL7411 VHS Video - 30 minutes $25.00
Dr. Hans Jenny
Cymatic Sound Scapes
Flowing patterns emerge as Lycopodium dust (perfectly round spheres of spores)
is animated by audible frequencies. New images emerge when frequencies change.
Using other mediums, such as molten kaolin paste.
#VLL7412 VHS Video - 30 minutes $30.00
Dr. Hans Jenny
Experiments animating inert substances with sound. Intricate and fascinating
forms portrayed in dozens of black & white, and color, close-up photos. How
the images were produced.
#BLL5690 Book - hardcover - 180 pages $30.00
You might also check out Dale Ponds' Keely Site at;
Dale Ponds' Keely Site -