Homemade Musical Instruments — Xylophone — waterbottles
Water Bottle Xylophone
Welcome to my page of making and playing a water bottle xylophone. Here you will find: 1) a Virtual Water Bottle Xylophone you can hear right now on your computer; 2) directions on how to build a 5-note water bottle xylophone; and 3) information on building and playing an 8-note water bottle xylophone. So take a couple of minutes, hear the water bottle xylophone and learn how to make this instrument!
Virtual Water Bottle Xylophone
As you will hear: more water produces a lower pitch, and less water produces a higher pitch. In the video (below) you can hear my water bottle xylophone with the actual sounds I recorded in my kitchen.
Click the Play button below to hear the water bottles. If you would like to make this instrument, just follow the directions below.
Building a 5-note Water Bottle Xylophone
Start by getting five 20-ounce Sobe juice bottles. Fill each bottle with the amounts of water shown above using U.S. fluid ounces or milliliters. Mark your bottles carefully at the water level with a permanent marker. Number your bottles 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 and arrange them in the order above 1 on your left and 6 on your right. Gently tap the middle of the bottle with a metal spoon.
If you would like to build an 8-note xylophone that plays many more songs, see below.
Building an 8-note Water Bottle Xylophone
Phil and his daughter, Sarah, went to three different grocery stores and listened to every bottle by striking it with a spoon. They found the best sounding bottles that were readily available, they brought them home, and they cataloged all the notes each bottle could play. Eventually, they had a select list of bottles that sounded great and could be combined to play a full 8-note scale in the key of C — just like Phil and Sarah's homemade panpipes, glockenspiel, fraction tubes and melodic tube drums. Played together, they created a homemade instrument band with musical arrangements that worked for everyone!
Building instructions are at WaterBottles.pdf.
For sheet music written in treble clef, and play-along music tracks, check out Phil's Music for Homemade Instruments page.
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