Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Physics Rocks!

Recently in my physics class, we were assigned to design our own musical instruments that can play at least five notes in a scale. The assignment was cleverly titles "Physics Rocks!" and we are to build a creative instrument that we should be able to play in front of the class, and write a paper about the physics principles that allow it to create sound. After getting over the initial hilarity of this concept, I realized just how hard this project is going to be. Our instruments are going to be graded on how creative they are, and while this project sounds fun, there’s only so much a high school student can do that hasn’t been done before.
I have tried thinking of unique ways to make sounds, but I keep coming up with simple solutions: drum-like instruments along with xylophones and bells. According to my student teacher, Spock (his name isn’t Spock, but he has a strong resemblance to the leading Vulcan in “Star Trek” the movie), instruments like these most likely won’t receive “A’s” because they are not creative enough.
Here are some pictures of “homemade” instruments I found online.

I think that this "instrument" is supposed to be a guitar-like instrument. I think my instrument may need to be a bit more elaborate.

This "Boxbass" instrument seems to be a bit more elaborate than the previous instrument. I think that the "Boxbass" looks really intresting, and really makes me rethinkg whether I should try making a percussion instrument, or try doing an elaborate stringed instrument like this one.

I was also thinking of trying an instrument like this, where there are mallot-like extensions that when raise, they drop and hit a surface to make a sound.

Looking online has given me some more ideas for this wacky project, and so now I have a little less than two weeks to come up with something brilliant!

Pictures were taken from the following sites respectively.

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