I’m constantly tapping rhythms on stuff – cookie sheets, the dryer, cardboard boxes, anything that looks like it might make an interesting sound. That’s how I found myself starting, for the tenth time so far this summer, to sort through some stuff in the garage, picking up this large pot lid and tapping on it. It didn’t make much of a sound – really just a hollow little tap with a little whisper of a metallic ring afterwards – but then I held it up to my ear and heard a loud and deeply resonant chime, like a gong. It was AMAZING!!
After tapping it and listening closely a few more times, I knew I had to bring it in to my music classes for the young children I teach to explore. (Of course, first I did a quick “search” for the pot that the lid belonged to, but decided after fifteen or twenty seconds that the pot must have gotten lost.)
Now that the lid was officially a musical instrument, I brought it inside the house and experimented, hitting it with fabric-covered mallets (fabulous), small wooden mallets (good, but I worried a child might bang it too hard and scratch or dent the metal), tapping with just one finger, with my whole hand, knocking on it with my knuckles (ow), and so on.
Children love making sounds with this, and it’s a great lesson on timbre, or sound quality. Only metal and glass make a ringing sound when hit (this is about something called Young’s modulus – it has to do with how stiff the surface of a material is.) It’s also great for children to predict how it will sound, and then discover if they were correct. It’s ALSO great for using as a gong in musical improvisation activities, whether accompanying a song or creating a sound effect in a story or play.
I’d been thinking about purchasing a little gong for awhile, but had always it was too much money for something I wouldn’t use very often. But this pot lid is so much better! It sounds like a gong, plus it has the element of surprise – no one expects it to sound like that!
It’s definitely worth looking through your pots and pans for this type of lid. It’s large (about 12″ diameter) and the metal is heavy and thick. Oh, and if you find out what kind of pot it goes with, let me know! Just curious.