Peripole Presents: Musical Exploration Lesson 3 "Cowbells"

Posted by Rei Murray on September 16, 2020

Integrating Music and Science, a Musical Exploration series by Peripole



Title: Sound from Cowbells

Category: Percussion

Components: Two cowbells, two mallets (one wood, one rubber)

Controlled Factors: Same allow and thickness of metal

Variable factors: Size



Things to Investigate

1. Striking the cowbells and discovering which is higher in pitch.


2. Striking the cowbells and comparing their tone qualities with the area of space within the bells.


3. Striking a cowbell and feeling it vibrate by holding one hand gently on the side of the bell.


4. Striking a cowbell while on hand firmly grasps the bell; striking a cowbell with force and then placing the tip of the bell in a pan of water.


5. Striking the cowbells outside while someone walks farther and farther away.


6. Striking the cowbells with force; striking them gently.


7. Striking the cowbell with a pencil, a mallet, and a pair of scissors.




1. What is the relationship between pitch and size of the cowbell?


2. What is the relationship between tone quality and the size of the resonating chamber?


3. What causes the cowbell to produce sound?


4. Why is the sound muffled?

Why does the sound stop?

What occurs to the water?


5. Why does the sound become fainter?


6. What effect does energy have on the intensity of sound?


7. What effects do the different striking materials have on tone quality?