Friday Fun: Oscilloscope music art

It’s still cool to see a functional tool like the oscilloscope manipulated to display unrelated art.  When you input suitable stereo audio into an old scope in in X-Y mode, you can see all kinds of artistic creations. Salvaged Scope Lets You Watch the Music article introduces you how to use old scope for video art. Tripping on Oscilloshrooms With an Analog Scope shows some [Jerobeam Fenderson]’s scope-driving compositions. You can find audio compositions made for oscilloscope from

Here are some example video what oscilloscope music art can be:

Oscilloscope Music – Pictures from Sound

Tektronix Oscilloscope Music

Oscilloscope Music Kickstarter (June 2015)

Jerobeam Fenderson – Nuclear Black Noise (oscilloscope / lissajous music)

How To Draw Mushrooms On An Oscilloscope With Sound

Jerobeam Fenderson – Deconstruct

Jerobeam Fenderson – Reconstruct



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Oscilloscope Art From Your Browser

    Oscilloscope art is a fascinating pursuit in which waveforms are generated for the X an Y channels of an oscilloscope to draw pictures on its screen. It’s somewhat distinct from vector computer graphics

    If you’d like to explore the topic as a mild diversion, then maybe this Javascript oscilloscope art generator from [Neil Fraser] might be of interest. In around a hundred lines of code he’s created an in-browser scratchpad upon which a waveform can be drawn which will then be created as an audio signal on your computer’s soundcard. Hook up left and right to X and Y of your oscilloscope, and what you scribbled on the pad should pop up on the screen.

    JS Oscilloscope

    Plug your computer’s audio output into an oscilloscope (right = X, left = Y), then use your mouse to draw in the square below

    This is all done with about a hundred lines of JavaScript (view source to see it). The mouse’s X-Y movements are recorded, then encoded as the right-left channels of a dynamically generated WAV file. This file is URI-encoded and played. Pretty straight-forward.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How to Draw Mushrooms on Oscilloscopes with Sound

    This is a beautiful way to teach beginners how we can take mathematical constructs like sine waves, cosine waves, and sawtooth waveforms and use them to create abstract representations

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tektronix Oscilloscope Music

    Time to draw nice pictures with sound to showcase it! And when the Tek is paired with music from talented Austria-based artist (not Dutch as I mistakenly say in the video) Jerobeam Fenderson, it becomes truly spectacular.
    Music files can be obtained from:

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    #48: Basics of Lissajous Patterns on an Oscilloscope

    Another “Back to Basics” video: This video takes a fairly detailed look at the basics of Lissajous patterns on an oscilloscope. There are a LOT of videos that show Lissajous patterns on YouTube, but not too many that describe the mechanism behind these patterns. Several of my YouTube viewers have asked for this topic, so here we are. Some low-speed waveforms are used so that the trace movement that draws the Lissajous figures can be seen and understood.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Video on an Oscilloscope

    Using a simple circuit described at, you can actually watch NTSC video on any oscilloscope that has a Z-axis input. I’m using a Tek 465M but even a cheap knockoff brand analog scope will work. You could try it with a digital scope but you’ll soon learn that this is one area where old school analog works better…

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Christmas Tree for your Lab

    It seems like holiday decorations come up earlier and earlier every year. You might not have room for a full-blown tree in your lab, but if you have an arbitrary waveform generator and a scope, Tektronix has a way for you to show your spirit electronically.

    You can see the video below.


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