Separating Sounds

a blue, black and white cube structure that has vinyl blue and white information panels from top to bottom with spaces in between. There are also different sound exibits hanging from orange cord from the cube structure.

Sounds vibrating at different frequencies can be separated using short or long tubes.

How it works

Place different tubes against the ear to notice low and high pitched ambient sounds.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Try many different tubes. Do you hear the same sound through each tube?
  • Have you ever tried placing a sea shell against your ear? Does this seem to create a similar effect?


A noisy room has a mixture of low and high-pitch sounds. Low sounds are made from things that vibrate slowly, while high sounds are made from faster vibrations. These sounds cause air to vibrate inside each tube, but only at a certain rate or frequency which suits that tube. All other frequencies are blocked or filtered out.

Finding the science in your world

When you put your ear next to a sea shell, the air inside the shell vibrates at the frequency suited to the shape and size of the shell and it sounds like the sea.