Monday, March 26, 2012

Music Outside

This weekend we spent some time together working on the children's garden space.  We had already created a banging wall several weeks ago, and decided to make a xylophone.  I had seen the design floating around the internet like the one here and here, and decided to give it a go.  Here is a quick run down of how we made our instrument.

2 - 8 foot long 2 x 3 (you could use 2x4)
Tools- some sort of saw, measuring tape, pencil, sand paper (if you wish), a drill

Cut the wood to length - we started with a 10" piece and increased each piece by 2"
Sand the pieces if you wish
Drill a hole through each board in either end (if you drill 2/9 from the end, the sound will be much better - not exactly sure why?)
Run the rope through each piece of wood, tie a knot between each board
String up the whole instrument and bang away!

Luckily I had some eager hands to do the measuring and the organizing.  The twins had a great time putting the pieces in increasing order.

I am truly amazed at how well this sounds.  I read that you can tune it by shaving wood off the ends and the back, but we decided not get that complicated.  Hadley was impressed with the fact that the bigger pieces were lower and the little pieces higher.  It's a great place to burn off some energy.

For some more ideas on outdoor music spaces check out these ideas.

I shared this:  The Southern Institute


  1. Looks like fun!! We will be adding a banging wall to our little guys garden/play area soon. Can't to hear it!

  2. I think I like this even better then the twins at the moment!

  3. I love this idea! And thanks so much for the directions.

    Would I be able to pin it on Pinterest? (have to ask since there's some confusion as to getting permission first).

  4. Wonderful! I'm going to add this as one of the featured posts this week. Thanks so much for contributing to It's Playtime.

  5. So, do you mean the 10" board will have drill holes 2.2" from the end, the 12" board will have drill holes 2.7" from the end, the 14" board will have drill holes 3" from the end, etc.?

    1. Yes - that is exactly it. Not quite sure how this works, but we read the advice online and tried it, and the boards definitely have a better sound then I expected. The smallest board doesn't sound great, but the rest seem to ring when you hit them. Hope you give it a try!

  6. I am lost by what you mean when you say drill the holes 2/9 from the end? So the 10 inch board has the holes 2.2 inches from the end and then the 12 inch board 2.7 inches from the end, the 14 inch board 3 inches so then what about the 16 inch board and so on??? I can't figure out how it goes, what the equations is. Can you please just write it out for the next bars?
    I must have been away during that math class!!

    1. I believe you can put the holes wherever you want and it will still sound ok, but I heard it sounds better with the 2/9ths rule. You've got it right though, a 10 inch board will have holes drilled 2.2 inches from each end. Here's some of the board with the distance to drill the holes. The sound does seem to resonate with this system. I think you can even tune the keys although we didn't get that fancy.

      10 2.2
      12 2.7
      14 3.1
      16 3.6
      18 4.0
      20 4.4
      22 4.9
      24 5.3
      26 5.8
      28 6.2

    2. Thanks so much Gretchen for the measurements. I am so excited to start working on this first thing tomorrow. I would have never been able to figure this out myself!!

  7. This is gorgeous!! What a simple, fabulous idea! Pinning now :-)

  8. Innovations in digital music and the boom of portable music players today have awakened the earphones industry to produce more and more top quality products. Blog

  9. Nothing could be handier in such a circumstance than an arrangement of procurement rules which would give instruction relating to the different parts of this apparatus. cordless impact wrenches


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