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A beautifully composed piece of music is a genuine work of art! However, if you have ever listened to someone learning to play the clarinet, you know when someone hits the wrong note everyone in earshot wants to cover their ears! That’s because the science of sound and the harmony of math are important parts of music!

Have you ever Wondered what makes sound louder? Have you ever thought about the ways music intersects with math? Campers, Get Amped Up to explore how math and science come together in music!

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Musical Glasses!

A glass of cold water on a hot day is just the thing you need...to make music! Grab a few more glasses and you're ready to start composing.

Supplies!

  • Glasses (made of glass)
  • Water
  • A spoon
  • Tuner or tuner app (optional)

First

Gather several glasses (but make sure they are made of glass - plastic won't work). Fill each one with a different amount of water. Line them up on a table.

Then

Grab your spoon and gently tap the side of each glass, listening to the different notes. See if you can put the glasses in order of notes from highest to lowest. You might even be able to make a complete music scale!

Next

Wonderuptions:

How does adding different amounts of water change the note? How do different-sized glasses affect the music?

Why does that happen?

Tapping the glass causes vibrations that from sound waves. Each glass makes a different sound because the sound waves travel through the water at different speeds, causing vibrations at different frequencies. The glasses with more water produce the lower sounds because the sound waves move more slowly through the water. The glasses with the least amount of water produce the higher sounds because sound waves travel fastest through less water.

Still Wondering?

Use a free tuner app to identify what notes each glass plays. You can write the note down on a small piece of paper in front of each glass. Now look for some simple sheet music online so that you can play a song like "3 Blind Mice."