(Valladolid - España)


Flute made of glass bottles


Things You’ll Need

3 identical glass bottles Water Spoon

1 . Arrange a series of three bottles on a flat surface. Use bottles of the same size and shape and place them in a row.

2 . Fill the first bottle with only an inch or two of water.

3 . Fill each successive bottle with a little more water than the bottle before it.

4 . Gently blow across the top of each bottle to hear its pitch.

5. The less water in a bottle, the lower the pitch, and the more water in a bottle, the higher the pitch will be.

6 . Experiment with adding and pouring out small amounts of water until you can create three successive notes of the scale. If you successfully do this, you should be able to play a simple song. If you label the most empty bottle «low,» the bottle with the medium level of water «med,» and the fullest bottle, «hi,» you can play the song as follows:








What’s happening?

o When you blow across a bottle, the air inside the bottle vibrates. The more area inside the bottle, the lower the pitch, and the less area inside, the higher the pitch. This is why the pitches get higher as you add more water.

Tips & Warnings

· Lightly tap the glasses. Don’t strike hard enough to break them.

· The pitches will be higher as you add more water.

· Any number of glass bottles will do for this. Six will allow you to play most basic tunes, but the more bottles you have the larger the range of notes you can play.

· You may want to use plastic bottles for this if you will be holding the bottles in the air as you play them, and there is a slight risk of dropping a glass bottle and breaking it.


To make your project even better, consider decorating the bottles with paint or stickers, but try not to cover the entire bottle so you can still see how much water is inside. Another way to enhance your project is by learning simple songs to play on your bottles.

For the xylophone, try the following: »Twinkle Twinkle Little Star« 1,1,5,5,6,6,5 4,4,3,3,2,2,1 5,5,4,4,3,3,2 5,5,4,4,3,3,2 1,1,5,5,6,6,5 4,4,3,3,2,2,1

For the bottle flute, try the following: »Mary Had a Little Lamb« 3,2,1,2,3,3,3 2,2,2 3,3,3 3,2,1,2,3,3,3, 3,2,2,3,2,1


Glass Xylophone made of glass cups

Things You’ll Need

6 drinking glasses Water Metal or wooden stick such as pencil

1 . Collect six identical glass bottles. The size is not important but they must be the same size and the same design, as these affect the notes produced.

2 . Fill each of the bottles to different levels with water. The first should be filled to about an inch below the top and the last about an inch from the bottom with the other four at levels in between.

3 . Arrange the bottles so the fullest one is on the left and the most empty is on the right so as to resemble a piano keyboard.

4 . Play the instrument by striking the bottles in turn using the metal or wooden stick. Changing between metal and wooden will in itself create different pitches.

5. Hit the glass with the least amount of water and observe the sound, then hit the glass with the most water, which makes the higher sound?

6. Hit the other glasses and see what noise they make, see if you can get a tune going by hitting the glasses in a certain order.


What’s happening?

Each of the glasses will have a different tone when hit with the pencil, the glass with the most water will have the lowest tone while the glass with the least water will have the highest. Small vibrations are made when you hit the glass, this creates sound waves which travel through the water. More water means slower vibrations and a deeper tone.

Tips & Warnings

· Try using wine glasses for a clearer sound.

· Tap the glass very gently to prevent cracking or breaking.

· Use your index finger as a part of the instrument. Dip your finger in the cup of water. Run your wet finger, gently and continuously, along the rim of a glass cup to make a shrill singsong sound.


Palm Pipes

The pipes are made from 250 mm diameter plastic electrical conduit pipe

You can purchase the pipes at a building materials store or electrical supply store. Cut the pipes with a saw and identify the note of the pipes with coloured tape. You can find the coloured tape at electrical suppliers or at a stationary or office supply store. You can also use strips of coloured paper and attach with clear tape instead of using the coloured tape.

Palm pipe colour, lengths and associated notes.

  • White: 328 mm C
  • Red: 290 mm D
  • Orange: 258 mm E
  • Yellow: 243 mm F
  • Green: 216 mm G
  • Blue: 193 mm A
  • Violet: 170 mm H(B)
  • Black: 159 mm C2

Generate sound by tapping with palm on the end of the pipe.

Follow the colours and listen to the music.

Example of the music: Vous dirais-je maman W.A.Mozart


Experiment with:

1. Try other diameters of pipe.

2. Try other materials (pasteboard from paper towels, metal,…)

3. Make your own music and send us instructions in colours that we can play your music too.

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