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Science of Music


Found in: arts, science, preK-2, 3-5

Science of Music is a scientific exploration of the study of sound with a fun factor.  K-5 students can explore music with exhibits, movies, musical questions.  They can even compose, mix, dance, drum, experiment, and of course, listen.  These resources can supplement aspects of music instruction.

  • Online Exhibits require Flash, and though headphones are recommended, good speakers will work. Six exhibits are listed but students can find three more by following the arrow “more exhibits”.
  • Kitchen Sink-O-Pation has three menus: kitchen objects, surreal objects, and musical instruments for students to select from to experiment with rhythm. Roll over objects to hear sounds, turn sound on or off, and transform by clicking an object. What’s Going On? explains how our visual dominance can affect how we hear sounds. It introduces the McGurk effect and describes an experiment to demonstrate the phenomenon.
  • Step Re-Mix lets students experiment with polyrhythm using ten different audiovisual slaps, combinations, and stomps. Three timelines can be arranged, played, and looped. What’s Going On? provides background on stepping and the science of stepping and describes how to slap two beats against three.
  • Movies offer a look at an orchestra as it tunes up for a performance, an itinerant saxophone player, and an inventor of unusual musical instruments.
  • Questions addressed include why you sound better singing in a shower, why you can hear your neighbor’s bass but not his treble, why sad music sounds sad, and more. Students who have ever wondered Why Does My Recorded Voice Sound So Strange To Me? will discover that good microphones do record accurate representations of how others hear them. Why they sound strange to themselves may surprise them.

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