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Frequency and Pitch of Sound

Explores how the frequency of a sound affects how we perceive it.

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Playing with Trash

Playing with Trash

Credit: Peter Morgan
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moogan/5002069388
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

It’s just a small guitar. But look closely and you’ll see an old biscuit tin. The instrument is made of trash!

Amazing But True!

  • In a very poor community in Paraguay, people live on a trash dump. They make money by selling re-usable items from the trash. They also make things from the garbage.
  • A group of students in the community play instruments made entirely from trash. There is no money for real instruments, so a garbage picker and music teacher used their ingenuity to create instruments for the students.

    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    It's hard to believe that trash like this can be made into perfectly sounding instruments [Figure2]

  • Their orchestra is called the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra. You can watch the fascinating trailer for a movie about it below:


Can You Apply It?

With the links below, learn more about making instruments from trash. Then answer the following questions.

  1. All musical instruments, including those made from trash, work in the same general way. Explain how.
  2. Different instruments involve vibrations of different types of materials. Basically, four types of materials may vibrate. What are they, and what is an example of an instrument of each type?
  3. What two properties of sound can be changed with most instruments?
  4. If you were to make a violin from trash, what part of the instrument would vibrate? How would it be made to vibrate?
  5. How would you make your trash violin louder? How would you change the pitch of the violin?
  6. Design an instrument from recyclable materials. Explain what will vibrate and how you will make it vibrate. Also explain how you will make it sound louder and how you will change its pitch.
  7. Why is it good for the environment to make your own instruments from trash?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Peter Morgan; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moogan/5002069388; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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