How To Make A Water Xylophone

How To Make A Water Xylophone

How To Make A Water XylophoneHave you ever heard of someone making music with water?  It is super fun and easier than you think.  In this science project you will experiment with your own special sounds by using “sticks” and glasses of water to make your own musical instrument.  With a little practice you will be making some cool music and finding out how this fun project works!


What you’ll need:

  • At lease 3 drinking glasses or glass bottles (the more you can find the better!)
  • Water
  • A “stick” such as a pencil, a wooden or plastic spoon, a chopstick, or a plain old stick 🙂


How to do it:

  1. Line up your glasses next to each other and fill each one with a different amount of water.  The first glass in line should have the least amount of water while the last one should be almost full.   In between, fill each glass with slightly more water than the one next to it, but less than the almost full one at the end.  It should look like “steps”.
  2. Grab your “stick” and tap the glass with the least amount of water and observe the sound.  Now tap the glass with the most amount of water.  Which makes the higher sound?  Which makes the lower sound?
  3. Now tap the other glasses and see what noises they make.
  4. Finally, see if you can get a tune going by tapping the glasses in different orders.   Whoa…you’re making music!


Why it works:

Each of your glasses will have a different pitch when tapped with your “stick”.  Your glass filled with the most water will have the lowest pitch and your glass with the least amount of water will have the highest.  This is because small vibrations are made when you hit the glasses with your “stick”.  These sound waves then travel through the water creating pitches or sounds.  But as you may guess, water slows down the sound waves so more water means slower vibrations and a lower sound.  And in the opposite way, the faster the vibrations are the higher the pitch, so with less water in the glasses you get higher and higher sounds!


For some extra fun:

  • Line up more glasses for a bigger array of pitches.  That way you can play more intricate songs!
  • Try adding food coloring to the water to make a cool looking musical instrument.  You can use the same color for everything or maybe a different one in each glass for a super crazy combo!
  • Try different styles of “sticks” – chopsticks, pencils, pens, drumsticks, etc and see what effect they have on the sound.


Here is an example of a boy and his water xylophone:



How To Make A Water Xylophone



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