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Blowing Bottle Tops: Making Music With Glass Bottles

1037 words - 5 pages

Have you ever wondered why glass bottles made a sound, kind of like a music note? Well, this paper will explain how this works. The paper will be talking about sound, sound waves, standing waves, musical note names and frequencies, resonance, and closed-end air columns. Closed-end air columns will be a main focus in the paper, studying the physics behind it. Glass bottles are an example of a closed-end air column. Therefore, the more water inside the bottle, the lower the note, and less water would be a higher note.

Closed-end air can be many things; ranging from brass instruments, woodwind instruments, organ pipes, and flutes. These closed-end air columns cannot produce an even harmonic. It has a 1st harmonic, 3rd harmonic, and fifth harmonic. These harmonics are can be understood as, the 2nd harmonic being twice that of the 1st, and the 4th being four times that of the 1st .

Sound is a wave, and a wave can be remembered as a medium, carrying energy from one point to another. The sound wave has a resemblance of a slinky in its nature, for many reasons. The disturbance goes from one place to another, carried by the medium. Typically, the medium will carry energy through the air, although it could be any substance like water and steel. There is an original source of the wave; anything from someone’s vibrating vocal chords, or a tuning fork. Then, the sound is transported through the medium through particle-to-particle interaction. If the sound wave is moving through the air, then as one air particle is displaced from its equilibrium position, it exerts a push or pull on its nearest neighbors, causing them to be displaced from their equilibrium position. Equilibrium position is when products or reactions are forming at an equal rate.

Frequency is defined as the rate at which a vibration occurs that constitutes a wave, either in a material, or in an electromagnetic field, usually measured per second. The frequency of a wave refers to how much the particles of the medium vibrate when a wave passes through a medium.

Another important factor would be resoundingly; resonance comes from Latin and means “resound”, or to sound out together with a loud sound. Resonance is a common cause in the sound production of musical instruments. This action only happens when the first object would be vibrating at the same natural frequency of the second. In this case, the air and water, if you were to tap on the glass bottle, the glass and air.

Standing waves, another part of how sound works, is also important on how the musical sound is made. A standing wave pattern can be described as a vibrational pattern within a medium when the vibrational frequency of a source causes reflected waves from one end of the medium to interfere with incident waves from the source.

How does the pitch change? Well, when you would blow inside the bottle, depending on how much water you have inside the bottle, would decide the pitch. The more water, the higher the note, the less...

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