Documentation of a performance of the Sarabande from Bach's Suite for solo cello no. 2 in D minor played by Manchester Camerata's Hannah Roberts and visualised by Lewis Sykes and Ben Lycett's Cymatic Cello.
The work visualises the slow and very beautiful Sarabande from the Suite for Cello no. 2 in D minor by making visible the vibratory patterns that occur naturally on the back plate of the instrument as it’s being played. Sound can induce visible pattern and geometric formations - the modal wave patterns of Cymatics. The effect is known to some luthiers who tune their instruments according to these modes of vibration using a technique of sprinkling fine powder onto the front or back plate while playing a note of specific pitch at volume through a speaker directly below the instrument body. Lewis Sykes reproduced this technique in the studio photographing the ‘scale’ of visible patterns that emerged across the register of the cello. With Ben Lycett, he then coded an application that ‘tracks’ the pitch of the instrument during the live performance and simultaneously displays the nearest corresponding ‘tuned’ image. The visual effect is a slowly shifting, visual accompaniment to the music based on the naturally occurring vibratory patterns of the cello itself.
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