Thursday, 31 December 2009

Re-use your bottles

'Empty vessels make most noise' is a phrase I remember from childhood, along with 'Use your initiative.' I seem to remember that if I did use my initiative the words 'You thought? You THOUGHT?!' came my way soon after.

But today's post is not about my happy reminiscences but about sound - the science of sound. By the end of the seasonal festivities, if indeed you haven't already, you should find yourself with easy access to numerous empty bottles of varying sizes. You may already be able to play a bottle by blowing across the top, aiming a jet of air at the opposite section of the rim. If not, perhaps you can persuade someone to teach you.

Now if you sound a plastic bottle in this way, and then a glass bottle of the same capacity, will the pitch be the same?

Are bottles of greater volume pitched higher or lower than those of smaller volume?

Do all glass bottles of the same capacity have the same pitch? Will shape or thickness of glass make a difference?

Never again be a wallflower at a party! The cool folk may steer a wide berth but you're never alone with a bottle.

1 comment:

  1. That jogged a memory...over 30 years ago (gulp!) sat in the Royal Albert Hall listening to the Dubliners, with a musician boyfriend (who now plays clarionet with the Northern Ireland Symphony Orchestra). He was blowing across the top of his beer bottle to check the pitch at each and every number shaking his head and saying disgustedly "It's in bloody G again".