QuickTime Video Clip

The Liberty

by Brielle S.

My instrument is called the Liberty. I got the idea for the instrument from the guitar because they are both string instruments. That is because you make its sound by plucking its strings. At first I tried using rubber bands, but when I went to my Grandpa's house for Thanksgiving, my Dad suggested trying fishing line. That improved the tone quality. It also made it extremely easy to change the pitch and tone quality.
I used a cigar box for the body (it helps the sound resonate), fishing line for the cords, paint for the decorations, a drill to drill hoes for the strings to go through the box, washers to hold some of the strings in place, and finally, two wooden dowels to prop open the box. I got the cigar box from my Dad, the paints from Walgreens, while the types of fishing lines, washers and two dowels came from my Grandpa's basement. We used a drill both at my house and at my grandpa's house.

First I tried to tie rubber bands across a plastic basket. That did not make a very good nor a loud sound. My Dad suggested using a cigar box because it was solid and would be able to reverberate better. we drilled holes in the side of the box and attached the rubber bands. The sound was cool but it was not loud enough. Next, since some of the strings were touching, I decided to move them, anchoring them in the base of the box and connecting them to the lid of the box. By now we were at my Grandpa's house and we drilled the holes in the lid of the box. I took two kinds of fishing string and attached that to the box through the holes. I decided it would be cool if not all of the strings were tied the same way. Some were tied and then twisted, while others went through the holes in a way that made them have two tones.

You play my instrument by plucking the cords (or strings) with your fingers. The tightest strings make the highest pitch and the looser strings have a lower pitch. You can change the pitch two ways. The first one is by moving the wooden sticks to make all the strings looser (move it back) or tighter (move it forward). The second was to change the pitch is to twist the washers. You can change the volume by plucking harder or softer.

I thought parts of the project were very fun. I really enjoyed being able to use my hands to make something that would reflect me in both music and art, tow of my favorite things. I liked making the instrument a lot, but I didn't really enjoy doing this essay about my project. Oh well! C'est la vie (such is life!) I learned about how important it is that you have some sort of chamber for the sound waves to reverberate in. I also learned that sometimes the decorations help the instrument to sound better, as in the Liberty, the paint helped by making the sides stronger. That helps because, if the sides are stronger, so is the reverberation (loudness). I am glad we did this project. I learned a lot.