3D40.15 - Musical Sticks

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Musical Sticks
Resonance in Solids
Area of Study:
Musical Sticks, Wooden Xylophone.

The wooden xylophone can be played in the normal manner by striking with the hammer.

The normal way to play the musical sticks is to drop them on the table top and listen to the different notes produced.  These notes are produced because each stick has been sanded to the desired thickness.

  • Thomas B. Greenslade Jr., "Scientific Treasures in My Attic", TPT, Vol. 61, #8, Nov. 2023, p. 702.
  • Dan MacIsaac, "Whimsical Mechanics Entertainment Videos", TPT, Vol. 54, #5, May 2016, p. 318.
  • Diane Reindeau, "YouTube Physics: 1. Cool Commercial of NTT Docomo (Japanese Cell Phone Service Provider", TPT, Vol. 50, #4, Apr. 2012, p. 249.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "Tone Bars (Photo)", AJP, Vol. 73, #5, May 2005, p. 404.
  • "W-145, Xylopipes and Wooden Sticks", DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.
  • "W-146, Dropping Tubes-Oblong Xylopipe", DICK and RAE  Physics Demo Notebook.
  • Freier and Anderson, "Sf-6", A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • Wallace A. Hilton, "S-7d", Physics Demonstration Experiments. p. 64 - 65.
  • George M. Hopkins, "Vibrating Rods", Experimental Science, p. 118.
  • Borislaw Bilash II and David Maiullo, "Good Vibrations", A Demo a Day: A Year of Physics Demonstrations, p. 216.
  • Robert L. Wild, "Musical Sticks and Bottles", Low-Cost Physics Demonstrations, #118, p. 71.


Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.