You are currently browsing the archives for April, 2009.

Sound Visualization using the elements: Part 2 Fire

April 3, 2009 // Posted in Audio Hardware, Culture, Visualization (Tags: , , , , , ) |  No Comments

This is the second article in a series about methods of visualizing sound outside of a television or computer screen.

Fire

Before television screens and computer monitors, fire was what our ancestors would stare at for hours on end. It was essential for survival.

Our natural fascination with fire and music were bound to be united. Some methods are more intricate than others.

Reuben’s Tube

In this first example, the subject gives a demonstration of a Reuben’s Tube. A Reubens Tube creates visible standing waves. The waves are made visible using fire. A standing wave is a wave that remains in a constant position. It can be the result of two waves, traveling in opposite directions, intersecting with each other. In this case, two speakers facing each other in a tube create the standing waves. When music is played, the fire visibly pulses. When pure tones are played, the lengths of the waveforms are made visible.

Flamethrower

Here we see two flamethrowers mounted to a DJ booth, accentuating the climax of a musical crescendo. Who doesn’t love a big illuminating explosion when the kick drum hits?

Blowtorch

In this example, a blowtorch is used to heat the air in a glass organ. While it’s more of a woodwind instrument, I added this because fire enables the moving gasses to become visible and it’s just plain cool.Next article, Part 3 – Water

Share

Sound Visualization using the elements: Part 1 – Electricity

April 2, 2009 // Posted in Audio Hardware, Culture, Visualization (Tags: , , , , , ) |  10 Comments

This is the first article in a series about methods of visualizing sound outside of a television or computer screen. This series was inspired by a recent discussion with Aaron Higgins of Sound Trends that got me thinking about alternative methods of music visualization.

Electricity

Electronic music has been around for nearly a hundred years. Historically, electricity has been used in conjunction with magnetism to record and reproduce sound waves.

Speakers are essentially magnetic coils, powered by electric signals. Microphones are the exact opposite. They are magnetic coils which generate electricity by being vibrated.

In this demonstration, no magnetism is used. Electrons bolting through the air at specific frequencies, recreate musical notes. In sequence, these lightning bolts are discernable as music. This is electronic music in it’s purest form.

“Say man, do you play any instruments?”
“Yeah, the tesla coil!”

In the second example, notice the neon light in the back of the room. Nikola Tesla believed that energy could be broadcast without the use of wires. This is a very good demonstration of that principle. Electricity, generated by the tesla coil is powerful enough to illuminate the nearby lightbulb.

Next article, Part 2 – Fire

Share