The latest and - in our opinion - one of the coolest efforts to visually represent sound comes from New Zealand-based musician Nigel Stanford, who has revealed the video for his latest single Cymatics, taken from newly-launched album Solar Echoes.
Directed by Shahir Daud, the video shows a number of scientific experiments that produce a practical visual effect in response to sound.
With "Cymatics" being the term for the study of visible sound, it seems fitting that Stanford and Daud should focus on sound visualisation in the video for a song with the same name. However, rather than creating the visualisations as a response to the different audio tracks in the song, it was the visualisations that formed the basis for the song's composition.
The primary keyboard track was visualised using microscopic magnetic material suspended in a carrier fluid, known as Ferro Fluid, while the secondary keyboard track was linked to a Chladni Plate covered in sand. This thin metal surface vibrates when sound waves run through it, which, in turn, causes patterns to form in the sand that shift along with the changing sound.
The bass track is represented by a speaker dish filled with water, while the drum is visualised using a hose pipe attached to a sub woofer, which produces incredible optical illusions that appear to spin and freeze the water into a standing sine wave.
The organ track is represented with a Rubens' tube - a tube with holes along one side, filled with flammable gas. Different audio frequencies then push the gas into patterns so, when lit, the tube produces different size flames.
All of these different sound experiments come together at the end of the video to be represented using a singing Tesla coil - a high voltage arc generator, where the frequency of the voltage creates different notes of sound in the air.
In his behind-the-scenes account of the Cymatics video on his website, Stanford writes: "In 1999 I watched a documentary on Synesthesia - a disorder that effects the audio and visual functions of the brain. People with the disorder hear a sound when they see bright colours, or see a color when they hear various sounds. I don't have it (I don't think), but I have always felt that bass frequencies are red, and treble frequencies are white."
He continues: "This got me thinking that it would be cool to make a music video where every time a sound plays, you see a corresponding visual element. Many years later, I saw some videos about Cymatics - the science of visualising audio frequencies - and the idea for the video was born."
You can watch the - pretty amazing - finished product below. To read a full account of the Cymatics video-making process and view behind-the-scenes clips, visit Stanford's website here.