Sound Visualization using the elements: Part 1 – Electricity

April 2, 2009 // Posted in Audio Hardware, Culture, Visualization  

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.


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

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Comments (10)

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