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Mesmerizing video captures record needle riding microscopic music grooves

You've never seen Bach like this before.


Mike Wehner


Posted on Jun 19, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 1:09 pm CDT

Music has magical powers—if you don’t believe me, just ask this kid—and the way a relatively low-tech device like a record player creates it can be equally mystifying. Using a scanning electron microscope, Applied Science has created a fantastic breakdown the technology, complete with stunning videos of a record needle performing its all-important task.

Applied Science

Most people know that a record player reads its data via the groves in a vinyl record, but you’ve probably never seen the process play out at a microscopic level. 

That’s because making a video like this isn’t as simple as just sticking a record player into an electron microscope chamber. It’s a complicated process of not only cutting the scanned objects down to size, but also coating everything in a conductive substance so that it actually shows in the scan. 

In case you’re wondering just what musical masterpiece you’re watching play out at the micro scale, it’s Bach. Now don’t you feel classy? 

Screengrab via Applied Science

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*First Published: Jun 19, 2015, 12:10 pm CDT