Vibrating Violin

Name: ________________________________ Date: ___________


Like a guitar, a violin makes sounds with vibrating strings. Sometimes a violin player will pluck the strings but mostly they'll make sound by rubbing the strings with a bow. Let's try.


  • 2 pIieces of string
  • 1 paper cup
  • 2 paper clips
  • 1 small can
  • water


1. Fill the small can part way with water. You will use this to get your fingers wet.

2. Tie one paper clip to the end of one of the strings.

3. Put the other string through the hole in the cup. Tie the other paper clip to the end of the string that is in the cup.

4. Hold up the string without the cup by the paper clip. Get your finger tips wet. Squeeze the string between your finger tips near the paper clip and pull your fingers down the string. You should hear a sound.

5. Hold up the cup with the string hanging down. get your fingers wet. Squeeze the string and pull your fingers down it. You should hear another sound. What is different about the two sounds?




Vibrations in the string make the cup vibrate. Since the cup is bigger, it moves more air and makes a louder sound. The same thing happens with a violin. The vibrating strings make the wood body vibrate, thus making a louder sound.

Last Update: May 5, 1996

Copyright 1996, D.M.Candelora. All rights reserved. Reproduction for educational use is encouraged as long as this copyright notice is included.