OSCYLINDERSCOPE is an interactive artwork/exhibit which explores
the nature of sound by directly translating the vibration pattern
of musical strings into visible waves. Visitors spin a large horizontal
cylinder with one hand while strumming the three guitar strings
with the other. White lines engraved into the black cylinder scan
the vibrating strings so that they appear as wavy lines. This startling
phenomenon is at the heart of the Oscylinderscope. The displayed
wave form looks and acts like the trace on an electric oscilloscope.
Each of the three musical strings displays a different wave pattern
according to its frequency. A foot pedal changes the sound heard,
as well as the shape of the visible wave.
The OscylinderScope was a creation of the artist Norman Tuck. It has been on display at the Exploratorium since 1998, and it's design is protected by U.S. Patent #5,975,911.