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Minor Versionm

by Procheta Mallik


Flatten given plastic straw and cut it in an inverted `V’ shape. Place the cut end into your mouth and blow to create sounds. You can cut the straw to varying lengths to change the frequency of the sound. Making holes along a single straw, like in a flute, you can play different notes by blocking and opening the holes. Now using a smartphone app, measure the frequency of the sounds produced by the oboe.


Video Overview

    • Handle scissors with care

    • Be careful not to insert the straw too far into your mouth lest you choke on it!

  1. Flatten the end of a straw and cut the end of the straw in a triangular shape of about 2 cm
    • Flatten the end of a straw and cut the end of the straw in a triangular shape of about 2 cm

    • From side-on, the cut should look like a crocodile’s jaw!

    • Fold the straw at 3 separate locations and nip one corner of the straw at each of these locations. This will create three nice diamond-shaped holes at these locations

    • Blow through the straw, with the cut end in your mouth, and you should produce a nice loud, constant sound!

    • Block any of the holes with your fingers and play the straw like a flute!

    • Using scissors, like in Step 1, cut one end of the straws in a 'V'-shape.

    • Use the given straws to cut straws of multiple lengths, and make one 'V'-shaped cut on each of them

    • To now make a sound from the straws, you have to put the cut end in your mouth, place your lips about 1cm beyond the cut, and blow steadily!

    • You should get a nice, loud, constant sound!

    • Now try the same with all the cut straws you have made, and with the multi-hole straw by blocking and opening the holes with your fingers!

    • Using a frequency app on your smartphone, you should be able to measure the differences in pitch of each of your straws.

    • You should be able to do the same for the multi-hole straw by blocking a different hole each time and measuring the frequency

    • Blowing too hard

    • Triangular baby crocodile’s mouth (reed) is too small

    • Not enough of the reed inside the mouth

    • The straw not flattened enough at the cut, i.e. the reeds are too far apart

    • If the diamond holes are too small such that no air escapes them, then no sound will be produced

    • If the diamond holes are too big such that you can’t block them with your finger(s), then you may not get the desired sound

    • The frequency may vary depending on how steadily you blow through the straw(s), so while blowing try to maintain a steady blowing pressure

    • The frequency produced corresponding to the length of the straw can vary from person to person. It depends on how hard one is able to blow through the straw, type of straw used, length of V shape cut, etc.

    • Use different kinds of straws (thickness, gauge/radius, stiffness etc) to make a selection of oboes!

    • Why does the sound stop when you blow too hard or too softly?

    • Hum the same note the straw makes; can you produce more than one note? If so, how many? If not, why not?

    • How many holes did you make in the multi-hole straw? How many notes can you produce through it?

    • What is the length of the straw at each of these holes?

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