Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments

Discover the science and the art behind making and playing musical instruments.

Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments explores how musical instruments are created and how they are played. Be amazed as you explore 2,500 square-feet of interactive exhibits showcasing 34 different musical instruments—14 of which you can play, including a double bass, a Theremin, and a drum made out of a recycled propane tank. Make an air instrument and experiment with the different sounds of a pipe organ. Play in a band with your friends—choosing a guitar, a drum set, or a keyboard—and experience how musicians create music together. Experiment with the sound that a modular synthesizer makes.

With more than 30 demonstration videos and 28 hands-on experiences learn how musical instruments, from a wooden flute to an electronic synthesizer, use the principles of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to create their sounds. Find out what happens when a musician blows air into a flute, feel how the sounds of a stringed instrument are made, and discover how can you make different sounds with a single drum. 

Investigate the relationship between key instrument design variations, the sounds produced, and hear stories of the people who make and play musical instruments. 

You will find sections on string instruments, percussion, air instruments, and electronic instruments. Each section includes stories of the people who make and play these instruments, as well as opportunities to experiment with the ideas and science behind the instruments themselves. 

Making Music inspires your creativity while you explore the science of musical instrument design.

Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments exhibition was created by the exhibits and education staff of the Montshire Museum of Science.  

For information about our prototyping and development process, visit Making Music: Creating the Exhibition.

Creation of the Making Music exhibition was made possible by donors to the David Goudy Discovery Fund. Programming for the Making Music exhibition is made possible with support from Clyde Watson & Dennis Devlin.