One-Man Drinking Glass Band
Difficulty of Project
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
Time will vary but may take several sessions to compose a song; an additional day to prepare science fair display
To experiment with sound vibrations to create a simple song
Materials and Equipment
- 8 drinking glasses
- Pitcher of water
- Wooden spoon
Sound is waves of vibrations. Sound vibrations travel at different speeds. The number of times something vibrates in a second is called its frequency. Fast vibrations create high notes. Slow vibrations create low notes.
In this investigation, waves of vibrations are experimented with using water in glasses.
Terms, Concepts, and Questions to Start Background Research
pitch: sound quality
vibration: a quivering movement
frequency: the number of sound waves in a second
Sound is create by waves of vibrations. The pitch can be changed by changing the frequency of vibrations.
- What is sound?
- How can you make a sound with water in a glass?
- How can you change the pitch that a glass of water makes?
- Gather the necessary materials.
- Pour water into one of the glasses. Gently tap on the side of the glass. Listen to the sound.
- Add a little more water to the glass. Gently tap on the side of the glass. Listen to the sound. Was the sound higher or lower? Record the results.
- Experiment using more and less water in the glass. Record the results.
- Set the 8 glasses in a row. Pour about 1 inch of water in the first glass, 2 inches of water in the second glass, and so on until you pour 8 inches of water in the eight glass.
- Experiment with the different sounds. Record the results.
- Use the different sounds from the glasses to play a familiar song such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Happy Birthday.”
- Practice until you can play the song smoothly. Record the results.
Science of Music at www.exploratorium.edu/music/
Creating Music at http://www.creatingmusic.com
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.