Introduction: Pagophone

Build an Ice Xylophone!

Make and play a musical instrument from an unexpected material

Find the icicles that make the sounds and tones you like

Bring friends to jam together

Experiment with sounds as the ice changes shape

Make a visual "recording" on the ice with each mallet stroke

Step 1: Materials


  • precipitation
  • sub freezing temperatures
  • poorly insulated roof for icicles to form on
  • dimensional lumber
  • table or saw horses
  • mallets- rubber, wood, plastic
  • felt


  • winter gloves
  • hand saw
  • cart

Optional Tool:

  • audio recorder

Step 2: Gather Icicles

Step 3: Set Up Saw Horses

Set up tables or saw horses

Optional: Wrap the lumber in felt

Step 4: Place Icicles

Set two pieces of lumber parallel to each

Place the icicles onto the lumber

Step 5: Play Instrument

Gather friends

Optional: start audio recorder

Play your instrument

Step 6: Observe Marks

Observe the marks of the songs played on the icicles

These are a visual archive of their history

Step 7: Discover Change of Tones Produced

Notice the effect of warmer temperatures on the sounds produced by your instrument

Step 8: Notice Melting, So Long Pagophone!

As Spring approaches, say so long!