Lithophone

Principle of Science: Resonance

A lithophone is a series of stones that produce sound. Sounds emanating from the lithophone are distinctly musical. How do these seemingly stationary stones make their music? Explore the relationship between the physical qualities of various stones and their pitch.

The secret, discovered in principle by the Greek Pythagoras more than 2,000 years ago, is that objects capable of oscillation (repeated movement) resonate at predictable frequencies. The factors determining the pitch of the sound emitted by the individual stones of the lithophone are based on their length, width and height, as well as mounting and placement. Most instruments depend on the principle of resonance to make music.