String Vibrations On Violin Explained

Recent videos which have both gone viral as well as promoted the work of several emerging musicians have featured a visual expression of oscillating strings, or dancing strings. Some have wondered if the effect is the result of a certain performance technique, a particular violin model or make, or some other strange element to create the impression.

It turns out that the visual effect is the result of a CMOS sensor used in filming the performance. Illustrated here, the sensor combined with a particular film setting (24 frames per second video and 1/4000 shutter speed) creates the impression of dancing strings by the performer.

What is remarkable is that the oscillating strings are not a special effect added to the video shoot in post production, but instead illustrates the actual effect of the strings in creating the notes and music we enjoy so much.