Segments in this Video

Sound Made Visible (03:56)


Sound has many abilities, including burning away tumors, changing the taste of food, levitating objects and more. Sound is like ripples in a pond as compression waves radiate outward from a source. It can be measured, recorded, and create a picture (cymatics).

Cymatics (02:14)

Via CymaScope images, sounds create geometric shapes that mirror early life forms in the ocean. Animals use sound; danger can often be heard before seen. During sleep, the brain listens to sounds, though defense mechanisms prevent waking to most sounds.

Sound Reverberation (02:03)

In a large closed space sound reflects off of the floor, walls, and ceiling. The reflections arrive at the ear at different times which amplifies the sound. At a tower in Italy, the effect of this reflective sound quality is so strong that singers can harmonize with themselves.

How It's Supposed to Sound? (03:53)

Acoustic engineers create computer models of train stations and alter the acoustics to ensure passengers can understand announcements. With a pipe organ and a stopwatch, physicist Wallace Sabine created an equation known as the Sabine Equation that allows engineers to fine-tune the sound of performing arts centers.

Sound Alters Senses (02:45)

A decibel meter measures sound pressure and can help decide when hearing protection is needed. Loud noises cause a fight or flight response. Psychologist Ellen Poliakoff, examined how noise can change the taste of food.

Sound in Cities (03:07)

Professor of Acoustic Communication Barry Truax believes preserving sound landmarks is as important as preserving visual landmarks. He conducted an experiment to see how far the bells of the Holy Rosary Cathedral can be heard in Vancouver, Canada.

Vancouver's 1906 Soundscape (02:05)

The Holy Rosary Cathedral was one of the tallest buildings in Vancouver 100 years ago and the ringing of the bells used to be audible 40 blocks away. Cities have always been loud but the sounds have changed.

Acoustic Organization of Daily Rhythms (03:35)

Touring Venice allows one to hear the sounds of a city prior to the Industrial Revolution. In narrow canals, one hears voices and footsteps rather than internal combustion. Niall Atkinson studies how sound organized the workday in the past; bells were crucial to communication.

Improving Life via Sound (03:55)

A landscaping company works without gasoline-powered tools, diminishing their noise pollution to help stress levels. Sound has physiological and psychological effects and changes the quality of life. James Simmons and Kelsey Hom test bats' ability to navigate; bats form three dimensional images based on sound.

Seeing with Sound (03:25)

Daniel Kish lost his eyes to cancer before he was two years old. He instinctively began using echolocation by making clicking sounds with his mouth. He often rides a bike blind to raise awareness of the brain's adaptation power.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (02:13)

Kish learned to navigate comfortably in any environment and circumstance. He draws pictures of environments after examining them with his "seeing-with-sound" methods.

Drug Designed to Clear Speech (03:37)

Loud sounds damage the inner ear over the course of life. The brain also slows down with age, making speech more difficult to understand even aside from volume. A new drug under development adds potassium to the brain, aiming to increase the effectiveness of the remaining channels.

Sound in Clinical Trials (02:40)

Sound waves can levitate objects with "standing waves" that suspend objects mid-air. At Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a team uses technology that focuses an ultrasound beam into human tissue; tumors are being burned away without incisions.

Restoring Memory Functions (02:20)

In Brisbane, Australia, experts study ultrasound's use for treating Alzheimer's disease in mice. With ultrasound, waste removal cells are stimulated to clear out beta-amyloid plaque.

Credits: Sonic Magic: The Wonder and Science of Sound (00:37)

Credits: Sonic Magic: The Wonder and Science of Sound

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Sonic Magic: The Wonder and Science of Sound

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Sound has the power to charm, annoy, and even change history. This program reveals the historic force, promise, and potential of sound—and a strange phenomenon called cymatics that has created a new scientific mystery. It explores how sound has shaped our history, introducing us to fields of acoustic ecology and also research labs where sound is eliminating cancer tumors and much more.

Length: 43 minutes

Item#: FMK116609

ISBN: 978-1-63521-189-4

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.