Cymatics (from Greek: κῦμα “wave”) is the study of visible sound co vibration, a subset of modal phenomena. Typically the surface of a plate, diaphragm, or membrane is vibrated, and regions of maximum and minimum displacement are made visible in a thin coating of particles, paste, or liquid. -Wikipedia

How to play Cymatics for classical guitar

As the byline says, Uncommon ideas for the practicing guitarist.

In case you haven’t heard of Nigel Stanford’s Cymatics — the video is an amazing meld of science and sound. Check it out. Watch it in high definition. Crank up your speakers.

Upon seeing the video for the first time a couple of days ago, I (of course) thought, I wonder how that would sound on guitar? As it turns out, Cymatics is very easy to play, and it sounds pretty good on a 1970 Yamaha G-65A classical guitar

The guitar tab for Cymatics is beautifully written across to pages. The song, as I play it, is sectioned in 3rds: The Intro is played once, the Main is played twice, and the Outro is played twice.

Like many of my guitar tabs, this is an alternate arrangement for classical guitar — not an exact replica. I’m only playing the first half of Cymatics because that’s what worked for my guitar. I tried the latter half a few times and it sounded cheesy.

Cymatics is actually played with a capo on the 3rd fret, however my Yamaha, being as old as it is, is permanently tuned a 1/2 step down. Therefore I had to use a capo on the 4th fret of my guitar. [Incidentally, I actually like playing odd fret capo positions on the even frets because it makes the fretboard easy to read.]

Cymatics is in standard tuning. Enjoy, the tab is available below:

Cymatics for classical guitar

Please comment to let me know what you think, or if you have any questions.

Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, film composer - Broken Noons, creator of modern content for guitar.