Frank Sanna's Selected Bibliography:

Environment, Sound, and Voice

Intuitively appreciating that sound in Film is more than a mere compliment to the visual image, I am presently attempting to confront the limitations of an 'accompaniment approach' to the use of sound in filmmaking. Believing that artistic expression is always in some way a reflection or reframing of our human experience, the following proposition of texts and films stems from my desire to firstly better understand the 'essence' of sound as a phenomenon of everyday life.

From this perspective, sound (vibratory phenomenon) are 'impressions' that personify life, 'speaking' to us even before we are able to use our eyes or form any words. Through this research, in seeking a new methodology of sound, it has become increasingly apparent that cinema sound must also resonate with this fundamentally aural aspect of experience that becomes 'voiced' in our consciousness through nature, people and things.


Beck, Guy L. Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. 1993.
Comprehensive study of the centrality of sound throughout the diverse range of Hindu spiritual practices. Written by an American Ph.D. in Religion, trained in Hindustani vocal music, and with M.A. in Musicology, author Guy Beck reveals the Western relatively recent (narrow) focus on written and visual-centric religious attitudes as opposed to the still universal focus of sound and oral natures of the Eastern Hindu outlook. Dense read – Conclusion chapter may suffice as 'introduction' to material. ""Hindu" India, as legitimized by the Veda and Agama, is also a "soundscape," an immense "auditorium" of sonic manifestations backed by centuries of theoretical formulation."

"Suzanne Delehanty." Soundings. 1981
UbuWeb. UbuWeb Papers: From SOUNDINGS, Neuberger Museum, SUNY Purchase, 1981.
Concise essay on the entrance of sound into the plastic arts (in the 20th century) with emphasis on heard/unheard, outer/inner, phenomenon/spirit perspectives of artists (Baudelaire, Kandinski, Cage). Outlines transition of Greek (Pythagoras, Heraclitus) attitudes on sound and music through to Renaissance and Modern era. Through sound, human experience becomes both subject and object of art.

Ihde, Don. Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound. 2nd Edition. Albany: State University of New York Press. 2007.
Updated and expanded edition of 1976 groundbreaking study of sound. Addresses experience ranging through language, music, religion, and silence. Although written from a "phenomenological" perspective, writing remains accessible to the layperson interested in exploring and surveying the experience of 'listening' and 'voicing'. Offers a solid claim for sound as alternative to the predominance of visualism in Western thinking. Gives detailed views of the importance of the auditory in perception and in creation of meaning. Engages reader to question and verify his or her own conceptions of listening from Ihde's descriptive personal examples. Introduces many provocative ideas such as focus, fringe, and horizon within listening and how listening functions within a receptive-perceptive relation to the World. A highly stimulating read providing in depth perspectives on the auditory dimensions of human experience.

Hans Kayser – The Science of Harmonics
Web site dedicated to dissemination of work of Hans Kaiser – 20th century scientist who explored the fundamental principals of Pythagorean Harmony. Includes sections on Harmonics that relate directly to sound: Language ("acoustically, we communicate all our thoughts and aspirations; in short, it is what makes us human.), Music Theory, as well as many other sections such as Cosmogony, and Nature. Site includes many provocative visuals and Bibliography of Kaysers Publications.

Mookerjee, Ajit. Tantra Art: Its Philosophy and Physics. New Delhi: Rupa. 1967.
Provocative introduction to the Eastern philosophy and art of Tantra; a system of thought that regards vibration as "the primary cosmogenic element which gives rise to all structures and movement." Contains passages which outline role of sound (nada) within the continuum of manifestation. Essay is presented from a perspective which links spirituality, science, art and philosophy and contains interesting references to 'sympathetic' Western thinkers "Form is always temporal, that is relative, for it is nothing more than the means of the moment, whereby today's revelation is made known and given resonance. Sound then, is the soul of form, which comes to life only through sound, from inside out." (Kandinsky)"

Hall, Manley P. "The Pythagorean Theory of Music and Color." The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Los Angeles: The Philosophical Research Society. 1977.
Brief text outlining Pythagorean perspective on relationships of music and colour (that show parallels to Eastern concepts). Thus, planetary bodies produce a 'harmony' or 'music of the spheres' through continual displacement of aetheral diffusion. Relationships between 7 planets and 7 sacred vowels are elaborated as well as relationship between music and form and "the phenomenon known as vibration." Colours are correlated to air vibrations with the law of octaves and to the chakras or "serpentary constitution of man" and the seven states of matter drawn from "Eastern esoteric philosophy" as per Madame Blavatsky (co-founder of the Theosophical Society).
(also available online:


Cymatics: Part 1 - Bringing Matter to Life With Sound. (28 min.)
Cymatics: Part 4 - Soundscapes – The Science of Wave Formations. (28 min.)
Director Hans Jenny, Series Producer Jeff Volk. VHS. MacroMedia. 1986.
These two films (parts 1 and 4 of the 1986 VHS) originally made by Swiss scientist Dr. Hans Jenny, are exceptionally well photographed (on film) examples of the "cymatic" phenomenon of sound waves interacting in a medium. The rest of the VHS is of questionable value, however parts 1 and 4 are stunningly evocative examples of how 'invisible' vibratory phenomenon can manifest in matter.

Lapis. (10 min.) Director James Whitney. 16mm. 1966.
Animated film by American avant-guard filmmaker of richly complex mandala-like and kaleidoscopic patterns that seem to 'visualise' energy fields. Best to be seen projected (original silent version).

Resonance et Création (60 min.) Director Alexander Lauterwasser. Alternature. 2003.
Documentary style overview of 'cymatic' researcher Alexander Lauterwasser (German) featuring recent but equally stimulating examples of cymatic video photography.

Related Links:

Wasser-Klang-Bilder Chladnische Klangfiguren von Alexander Lauterwasser
Web site of Alexander Lauterwasser with examples of his work (German site with an English 'About' page.)

"Swami Muktananda Saraswati." Tantra – Mantra & Yantra. May 1977.
Yoga Magazine
Interesting article (unfortunately without bibliography) on the nature of vibrating energy within the realms of Western science (references to work of Hans Jenny) and Eastern philosophy of Tantra.