Made Music Project: Rainstick By: Sophia Hsu

The musical instrument I chose to make for this projects was a rainstick, which makes sounds when you tilt the tube back and forth, due to the many objects sliding around inside. For this particular project, I decided to make an instrument that could be used in a variety of different situations, and perhaps in several scenes in the shadow puppet show we intend to perform in Ms. Kennedy's class. I specifically chose a rainstick to make because I knew that after you create the main body and complete the base task of placing many small objects into the tube, you can still modify it so there can be differences in the sounds, which I enjoyed trying to figure out.

The quick digital sketch above was my original sketch that I made on the day that we got this assignment. Since then, I realize that there wasn't actually a lot of difference between the plan and the actual ending result, which is good because I'm glad that I managed to achieve what I was shooting for in the first place. There are still some areas of change, such as the potential 'notches' in the drawing. I ended up doing something very similar, but not exactly like in the drawing (more details on this part further down below).
The materials I used to make my rainstick included laser cut wooden pieces of differentiating shapes, tape, and cardboard, along with some long pieces of condensed plastic, so it would make a better, louder sound. I used tape to seal up the ends, and hotglued the main 'body' of the tube together. I experimented with putting the mini binder clips in as a sliding object, in hopes that they would make a different sound. However, they only served to often after only one flip, get caught on the other stuff inside or the edges, and in doing so, create blockage so that everything would get clogged up. I ended up taking them out entirely after many other tries to take small amounts out at a time.
The main 'body' tube if the instrument went through a bit of a 'development' period. I tried out a couple different methods in the process of trying to create a vaguely cylindrical shape out of a decently large piece of cardboard. My first attempt, as can be seen in the rightmost of the two photos above, was where I used an X-acto knife and cut shallow divets in the carboard, which were supposed to serve the purpose of making the cardboard easier to bend into a vaguely circular shape. I have formerly used this method with other projects, and incorrectly assumed that the same circumstances would apply to this project. That test failed, and I ended up using the method as seen above in the leftmost of the photos, where I simply used my hands and bent the entire thing into a softer, less angular and tough surface. This served to make the cardboard a lot more malleable and 'bendable'.
This is one of the the main features of my rainstick, along with the next few pictures below. This is because these two are special features that I believe not that many other rainsticks have, therefore making them nice, creative little quirks. To try and get even more sound variation when the objects inside the tube slid from side to side, I took a couple popsicle sticks, snapped them into variously shaped pieces, then took an X-acto Knife and cut a few slits into the side of the tube. I then took the popsicle stick pieces and stuck then into the slots, sealing them into place with some hot glue around the edges.
This special 'cap' of sorts is the second half of my two special features of my rainstick. In a (semi-successful) attempt to have the little objects make different sounds depending on where they make an impact in the tube, I took another, larger piece of laser-cut wood and wrapped it up in tape, before securing it to the end of the tube. This 'cap' not only provided a more secure closing to the tube, but also made a different surface for things to richochet off of. As an afterthought for the future, and if I ever needed to reaccess the inside of the tube, I jimmy-rigged a small piece of wire to thread through the tape and a hole in the tube, so I can unhinge the top. I'm pretty proud of this feature, as it took a decent amount of planning to develope a final version that I was satisfied with.
Fellow student modeling how to play the instrument.

The video above is a short clip of me making a series of different sounds with the instrument. As the video shows, you can make a variety of sounds that are affected by the way you move and manouver the rainstick. You can experiment with it to see what sounds it can produce.

Designer's Growth: I feel that during this project, I learned a lot, not only from my own experiences, but also from watching other people and their project's various development stages. However, I do feel that next time, I should strive to improve my invention even more, even after I feel that I am satisfied with what I already have. For instance, near the end of the creation process, I was considering painting the entire thing, then decided against it, because I felt that I was running out of time. One way that I can think of to sort of fix the problem is to maybe have a personal agenda all planned out ahead of time, and keep as close to that as I can. This way, I can make sure to set aside time for extra things like painting.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.