While everyone else is paying attention to what they see, maybe you're focusing on what you can hear. Explore the physics of sound, musical instruments, and even how people respond when they hear music.

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If you like music and musical instruments, here is a project that might resonate with you! This is a fun experiment to investigate materials that could be used to build acoustic musical instruments. You can use a music box mechanism and a sound level meter to see which materials make the best soundboards. Read more
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Walk into a fitness club and what kind of music do you hear? Slow, sparkling, relaxing music? Or driving, "up-tempo" songs that are designed to encourage you to move? Fitness clubs and other businesses, like restaurants and grocery stores, use background music to set the mood and to determine how fast they want their customers to move. The tempo of the background music is a key component to the environment that businesses want to create. Tempo is an important number or word inscribed by a… Read more
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Did you know that making a musical instrument is not just an art, but a science, too? You can discover just how scientific by building your own xylophone (or a set of chimes) from copper pipe. First you'll need to do some research about the math and physics involved in the sounds of a xylophone. For example, there are equations that describe the transverse (side-to-side) vibrations of a pipe. These vibrations create the sounds you hear. So, to get specific sounds, xylophone makers must apply… Read more
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The banjo's roots trace all the way over to Africa. The unique sound that a banjo makes depends, in part, on the resonator. The purpose of the resonator is to amplify and project the sound that is made by strumming and plucking the strings. In this music science fair project, you will experiment with a resonator on a banjo and see if you can hear the difference in sound. Read more
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For centuries, beautiful bell towers, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, have been the center of village life, announcing the time of day, the joy of weddings, and the sorrow of funerals. They were also used to call villagers to action in times of danger. Have you ever wondered, though, why people put the bells in towers? The bells are so heavy, why haul them all the way up to the top of tall towers? Why not just ring them on the ground? Putting bells up high does make for a dramatic visual… Read more
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Physical activity is needed for maintaining normal bone strength and mass. Can physical stress on finger bones during development lead to an increase in finger length? Check out this project to see how violin players are an example of a "natural experiment" that you can use to answer this question. Read more
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What do a guitar, a piano, a harp and a violin have in common? Turns out a couple of things, including a soundboard. All stringed instruments use a soundboard to amplify (greatly increase) the volume of the sound coming from vibrations of the strings. The soundboard is positioned so that it gathers the sound vibrations coming from the strings and then retransmits them at an even greater volume when it begins to vibrate. Soundboards are common in the world of musical instruments, but they can… Read more
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You've probably heard the phrase, "practice makes perfect" more times than you care to remember, but is it actually true when you use a music game as your practice for real-life singing, strumming, or drumming? You can design a science fair project to discover the answer! First, you'll need to think about how to measure how well someone is playing or singing a song in real life. Using the test you design, measure several musicians' ability to play or sing a few different songs. Then have your… Read more
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Do you enjoy singing contests like American Idol? Well, male songbirds have their own version of a singing competition that has been going on for thousands of years, and classical musical composers have been taking notes! In this music science fair project, you'll investigate the different instruments composers have used to imitate or create impressions of bird songs and bird calls. Read more
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Have you ever bitten into a thick, fragrant casserole and tasted the layers of flavor? Or maybe you've licked of a vanilla ice cream cone and thought, "This is so pure, simple, and refreshing!" These observations about the taste of the food are also comments on its texture—the casserole is complex and thick, and the vanilla ice cream cone is simple and thin. You might not realize it, but sound can also have texture. In this music science fair project, you'll learn how to "taste" the… Read more
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Free science fair projects.