Making Sound With String

Have you ever made sounds with a string? How did you do it? What kinds of sounds did the string make? Could you change the sounds it made? Here we'll explore different ways to make and change sounds produced by string.

Materials:

  • plastic tray
  • piece of string with a washer on one end, wrapped around a piece of cardboard
  • plastic cup with a tiny hole in the bottom
  • unsharpened pencil

Think about a musical instrument that has strings. How would you describe the sound? What sounds do you think you could make with a string that is not part of an instrument?

Thread the end of the string through the hole in the bottom of the plastic cup. Start with the thread inside the cup.

Pull the string all the way through the hole; the washer will be inside the cup and keep the string from pulling out.

Think of ways you could use this string and holder to make sounds. What do you think you could do with the cup? How could you make the string vibrate?

Hold the cup against the floor with one foot. Change the length of the string by winding more of it around the pencil. Pluck the string to hear the differences in pitch.

Try this with another student or friend. Remove the string from the cup so that each of you can hold a pencil and wind you end of the string around your pencil. Pull the string tight between you. Now listen to the changes in pitch as you change the length by winding more around the pencil and plucking the string.

How does the string look when it's making a sound. Do you see any vibrations? Can you see differences in the string's vibrations when you hear different pitches?

Explore making sounds with other types of strings. Some interesting kinds to explore include dental floss, twine, braided fishing line, and sewing thread.

Research how strings for musical instruments are made. See if you can find samples of different kinds of strings.

 

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