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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Do you love to make music, but do not have access to all the instruments you would love to play? Check out this fun science fair project about the physics of musical sound production. You will make musical instruments with drinking straws, one for each note on a one-octave major scale. Can you figure out the right lengths for a series of straw "oboes" in order to play a musical scale? Read more
Music_p016
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You must have an understanding of waves or a willingness to learn about them in order to do this science fair project. Familiarity with a musical instrument and playing a reed instrument is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
This is a musical project about the resonance of closed-end air columns. Organ pipes, flutes, and brass instruments are examples of musical instruments of this type. In this project, you'll learn how the pitch of the note produced depends on the length of the column. All you need are some bottles, water, a ruler, and a chromatic tuner. Read more
Music_p007
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail This is a rockin' project for guitarists with an interest in the physics behind the music. Have you ever wondered why the pitch of the note changes when you fret the string? You can find out for yourself with this project on the fundamental physics of stringed instruments. Read more
Music_p010
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites To do this project, you will need a guitar (or other stringed instrument). You'll need to know enough about playing the instrument to produce clear, ringing tones by picking (or plucking) the string while changing its effective length by fretting (or fingering) it.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In this project, you'll investigate the physics of standing waves on guitar strings. You'll learn about the different modes (i.e., patterns) of vibration that can be produced on a string, and you'll figure out how to produce the various modes by lightly touching the string at just the right place while you pick the string. This technique is called playing harmonics on the string. By the way, we chose a guitar for this project, but you can do the experiments using any stringed instrument, with… Read more
Music_p009
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites To do this project, you'll need a guitar (or other stringed instrument). You'll need to know enough about playing the instrument to produce clear harmonics by picking (or plucking) the string while lightly touching it in just the right place.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Music has many mathematical elements in it: rhythm, pitch, scale, frequency, interval, and ratio. There are many ways to turn these elements into a science fair project. You can investigate how the scale is based upon a special type of number sequence called a Harmonic Series. Another scale used by Bach, called the "Well-Tempered-Scale" or the "Equal-Tempered-Scale", is based upon a series. How are these mathematical series and ratios related to notes, chords, intervals, and octaves? You can… Read more
Math_p034
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail The renowned pianist Vladimir Horowitz once said, "The most important thing is to transform the piano from a percussive instrument into a singing instrument." Check out this project to learn about sympathetic vibrations, one way to make piano strings sing. Read more
Music_p012
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites To do this project, you'll need a piano which is in tune. You'll also need to know enough about the piano to find notes by their letter names.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail This is a great project for a musician who is interested in the physics of stringed instruments. If you've every played an acoustic guitar, you may have noticed that picking a single string can make one or more of the other (unpicked) strings vibrate. When this happens, it's called sympathetic vibration. What intervals lead to the strongest sympathetic vibrations? Find out for yourself with this project. Read more
Music_p011
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites To do this project, you will need a properly tuned acoustic guitar (or other acoustic stringed instrument). You'll need to know enough about playing the instrument to produce clear, ringing tones by picking (or plucking) the string while changing its effective length by fretting (or fingering) it.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Don't you just love listening to music? In the 1980s, people listened to music on the Sony® Walkman®. Now, people listen to their favorite tunes on MP3 players and on their Apple® iPhonesTM. But listening to music on devices actually started in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In those days, people would gather around their phonograph to listen to their favorite tunes—people were just as amazed with the phonograph as you would be to handle an iPhone. In this physics science… Read more
Music_p032
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability To find old vinyl record albums, you might have to visit thrift shops and secondhand stores. Refer to the Materials and Equipment list for more details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Exercise caution when using, handling, and attaching the sewing needle to the membrane.
Science Fair Project Idea
Here's an interesting project idea with a variation that combines computer science, physics and music. You'll need a piano in a quiet room, a microphone and a computer with digital sound recording and analysis software. The project shows you how you can make a piano string start vibrating without hitting its key. You can record the sounds on the computer, and use sound analysis software to measure the frequencies of the induced vibrations. For more details see: . Be sure to check out the… Read more
CompSci_p026
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
Tennis racquets, baseball bats and golf clubs all vibrate when they hit the ball. You can often feel it in your hands, particularly if you "mis-hit" the ball. You can find the point(s) on your racquet, bat or club—called the "sweet spot"—that minimize unwanted vibrations. Low-tech method: hang the racquet or bat straight up and down with a string from its handle. Lightly hold the handle with your thumb and forefinger and have a helper sharply tap the bat, strings or club face… Read more
Sports_p033
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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