Make a Water Glass Xylophone

Musical glasses are a fun way to combine art, math, music and science.

Gather the materials you need:

8 identical water glasses

water

a set of measuring cups

food coloring (optional)

1 plastic spoon

1 sheet of paper

Tape

pen/pencil

As you create this experiment. Take pictures of all of your steps.

Steps:

  1. Use a measuring cup to fill each of the glasses with the correct amount of water. Use the image below as a guide.
  2. For fun, you can add a drop of food coloring to your glasses or two drops to make green, orange, or purple.

3.  Label your glasses.  Use the image below as a guide.

4. With a plastic spoon, gently tap each glass and listen for the sound it makes.

5. Notice which glass makes a lower sound and a higher sound.

6. Try playing these simple songs or create your own.

7. What else can you do with musical water glasses? Respond to this post with your ideas.

 

The SCIENCE behind the music

The science of sound is all about vibrations. When you hit the bottle with the spoon, the glass vibrates, and it’s these vibrations that ultimately make the sound. You discovered that tapping an empty bottle produced a higher-pitched sound than tapping a bottle full of water did. Adding water to the bottle dampens the vibrations created by striking the glass with a spoon. The less water in the bottle, the faster the glass vibrates and the higher the pitch. The more water you add to the bottle, the slower the glass vibrates, creating a lower pitch.

 

 

Activity adapted from Musical Water Glasses at https://www.connectionsacademy.com/resources/instructographics/music-water-glasses and https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/pop-bottle-sounds/

 

 

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