- Five pipes (C (below middle C), E, G, C, D)
- Fly swatter (for mallet)
- Cut out a piece of sticky-back craft foam (eliminates the noise of the fly swatter hitting the pipe)
- Duct tape
Building Tips – Pipes
- Using a 2 inch pipe has a great sound without being too expensive. The top three notes are 1 1/4 inch and 1 1/2 inch pipe.
- A wider pipe does not create a lower sound. The length of the pipe is what changes the pitch. The width is a factor in the pitch as well, but the length is a much bigger factor. However, wider pipe does create a louder and more resonant sound.
- If you want to create specific notes, you will need to calculate the length of your pipes. This site provides a formula for calculating pipe length.
- Putting a 90 degree joint in the longest pipes so smaller kids can reach them to play is probably a good idea. However, once you add the joint, you will need to adjust the length of the pipes to account for the joint.
- Putting a different color of duct tape on each pipe will allow you to write out songs for your kids to play, if they read color-coded notes.
- If you don’t care about having a certain scale, feel free to use these lengths below. Although not perfectly in tune with a piano, they are a working scale.The notes are listed from lowest to highest:
- 30″, 21.5″
- 30″, 16.4″
- 30″, 11.24″
- 30″, 8″
- Even if you measure exactly, your pipes will need tuning. Cut your pipes slightly longer so you can cut off a little more if needed to tune them. If you cut them too short, the note will be too high and then you’ll have to start over. However, if you accidentally cut it to short, you might be able to fix one note that is too high by adding a small ring that has been trimmed off another pipe, simply by taping it to the bottom of the pipe with duct tape.
This is a great summer activity for kids who love musical instruments! Click here for a full tutorial with pictures.