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Encyclopedia > Xylophone

The xylophone (from the Greek meaning 'wooden sound') is a musical instrument in the percussion family which probably originated in Indonesia. [1] It consists of wooden bars of various lengths that are struck by plastic, wooden, or rubber mallets. Each bar is tuned to a specific pitch of the musical scale. Xylophone can refer to western style concert xylophones or to one of the many wooden mallet percussion instruments found around the world. Xylophones are tuned to different scale systems depending on their origin, including pentatonic, heptatonic, diatonic, or chromatic. The arrangement of the bars is generally from low (longer bars) to high (shorter bars). Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2048x1536, 832 KB) en: Description: The kulintang a kayo is a Philippine xylophone with eight tuned slabs arranged horizontally atop a wooden antangan (rack). ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2048x1536, 832 KB) en: Description: The kulintang a kayo is a Philippine xylophone with eight tuned slabs arranged horizontally atop a wooden antangan (rack). ... The kulintang a kayo, a Philippine xylophone of the Maguindanaon people The kulintang a kayo (which literally is translated means, “wooden kulintang,” or “kulintang made of wood”) is a Philippine xylophone of the Maguindanaon people with eight tuned slabs arranged horizontally atop a wooden antangan (rack). ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... “Percussion” redirects here. ... A pair of drum sticks. ... In music, a scale is a collection of musical notes that provides material for part or all of a musical work. ...



Gusikow's 'wood and straw instrument', from Lewald's 'Europa'
Gusikow's 'wood and straw instrument', from Lewald's 'Europa'

The xylophone is believed to have originated in southeastern Asia. Models were developed in western and eastern Africa. It is likely that the xylophone reached Europe during the Crusades and the earliest historical reference in Europe is in 16th Century Germany in organist Arnold Schlick's Spiegel der Orgelmacher und Organisten. [2] The earliest known model was from the 9th Century in southeast Asia (However, a model of a hanging wood instrument dated to ca. 2000 BC in China.) [2] Image File history File linksMetadata Xyinstrument. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Xyinstrument. ...

The xylophone, which had been known in Europe since the Middle Ages, was by the 19th Century associated largely with the folk music of Eastern Europe, notably Poland and Eastern Germany. By 1830, the xylophone had been popularized to some extent by a Russian virtuoso named Michael Josef Gusikov, [3] who through extensive tours had made the instrument known. His instrument was the five-row “continental style” xylophone made of 28 crude wooden bars, arranged in semi-tones in the form of a trapezoid, and resting on straw supports. It was sometimes called the “strohfiedel” or “straw fiddle”. There were no resonators and it was played with spoon shaped sticks. According to musicologist, Curt Sachs, Gusikov performed in garden concerts, variety shows, and as a novelty at symphony concerts. Certainly in the 1830’s a xylophone solo was a novelty. Noted musicians, including Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt spoke very highly of Gusikov’s performances. Perhaps due to his great influence, xylophonists continued to be featured in theater shows and concert halls until well into the 20th century Joseph Gusikov, from Lewalds Europa (1836) Michal Josef Gusikov (also spelt Guzikow or Gusikow) (2 September 1806, Shklov - 21 October 1837, Aachen) was a klezmer who gave the first performances of klezmer music to West European concert audiences on the wood and straw instrument which he invented. ... Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, born and known generally as Felix Mendelssohn (February 3, 1809 – November 4, 1847) was a German composer and conductor of the early Romantic period. ... Frédéric-François Chopin as portrayed by Eugène Delacroix in 1838. ... “Liszt” redirects here. ...

The xylophone is a precursor to the vibraphone, which was developed in the 1920s A typical Ludwig-Musser vibraphone. ...

Early appearances in orchestral scores

Ferdinand Kauer (1751-1831) and Paul Wranitzky were some of the first composers to introduce the xylophone into Western classical music. Ferdinand August Kauer (January 18, 1751, Klein-Thaya or Dyákovice, Moravia – April 13, 1831, Vienna) was an Austrian composer and pianist. ... Pavel Vranický (Paul Wranitzky) was born in Neureisch (now Nová Říše) in Moravia on December 30, 1756 and died in Vienna on September 29, 1808. ...

Camille Saint-Saens first used the xylophone in a symphonic composition, "Danse Macabre", in 1874. “Fossils” in Carnival of the Animals (1886) would use the same part (except that it is in 2/4 rather than 3/4). The xylophone was utilized to emulate the sounds of bones rattling. Charles Camille Saint-Sa ns (IPA: [ʃaʁl. ...

At the end of World War I, there was a sudden craze for dancing, and as dance halls appeared everywhere, there arose a demand for music with a danceable beat. Both George Hamilton Green and Joe Green were involved in recording during this period of 1918-1925, and their xylophone playing and drumming would be heard in the waltzes, one-steps, two-steps, and Fox-trots of a number of top recording bands. The rising popularity of ragtime music defined the xylophone by style, heritage, and character that lasted beyond the “golden age”. The overture of George Gershwin's 1935 opera Porgy and Bess, for example, features a prominent xylophone part that bears the influence of the xylophone’s American ragtime and novelty music tradition. This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... The cast of Porgy and Bess during the Boston try-out prior to the Broadway opening. ...


The modern western-style xylophone has bars made of rosewood or more commonly, kelon, an extremely durable fiberglass that allows a louder sound at the expense of tone quality. Some xylophones can be as small as 2 1/2 octaves but concert xylophones are typically 3 1/2 or 4 octaves. Rosewood refers to a number of richly hued timbers, brownish with darker veining. ...

Concert xylophones have resonators below the bars to enhance the tone and sustain. Frames are made of wood or cheap steel tubing; more expensive xylophones feature height adjustment and more stability in the stand. Most instruments includes parts which vibrate with and amplify the sound of the instrument. ...

In other music cultures, xylophones have wooden bars and a wooden frame. Some versions have resonators made of gourds. This article describes the wood that comprises trees and boards. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

Western classical models

Western-style xylophones are characterised by a bright, sharp tone and high register. Modern xylophones include resonating tubes below the bars. A xylophone with a range extending downwards into the marimba range is called a xylorimba. A resonator is a device or part that vibrates (or oscillates) with waves. ... The xylorimba (sometimes known as the xylo-marimba or marimba-xylophone) is a pitched percussion musical instrument which is not a combination of the xylophone and the marimba but a xylophone with an extended range. ...

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Most orchestral glockenspiels are mounted in a case. ... A typical Ludwig-Musser vibraphone. ... Lamellophone (also spelled Lamellaphone) describes any of a family of musical instruments. ... The marimba ( ) is a musical instrument in the percussion family. ... This postcard from 1906 illustrates the method of early lithophone performances in Luray Caverns, Virginia, United States A lithophone is a musical instrument consisting of a plurality of rocks or pieces of rock, in which musical notes are sounded by striking one or more of the rocks in combination (harmony... Mbila is a musical instrument of Mozambique, belonging to the idiophone classification within the percussion family of instruments. ... Generally speaking, a metallophone is any musical instrument consisting of tuned metal bars which are struck to make sound, usually with a mallet. ... A history of the Musical Stones of Skiddaw. ... The balafon is a pentatonic or heptatonic resonated frame xylophone of West Africa. ...


  1. ^ Nettl, Bruno, "Music in Primitive Culture", Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-59000-7, p 98(1956)
  2. ^ a b Vienna Symphonic Library Online
  3. ^ Michael Joseph Guzikow Archives

  Results from FactBites:
Color a Xylophone (84 words)
Consisting of hardwood bars in graduated sizes set on a metal frame, this tuned instrument is struck by hard mallets to produce a bright, sharp sound.
With the larger, lower sounding bars on the left, the notes of the xylophone are laid out much like a piano keyboard.
Originally from Africa, the xylophone has a Greek name meaning "wood sound." The xylophone was first used in the orchestra just over a century ago.
Xylophone Craft | Alphabet Letter X Theme | Colors | Preschool Lesson Plan Printable Activities (878 words)
Prepare a display to explore a toy xylophone and other percussion instruments that you may have: drums, castanets, maracas, cymbals, triangle, chimes, timpani, and bells, etc. Refer to the display while presenting the rest of the activities.
The xylophone (Greek xylon=wood, phone=sound) or marimba (almost identical) belongs to the family of percussion instruments.
The xylophone is in many cases the first musical instrument and toy that helps a young child to discover those magical musical notes and the richness of colors.
  More results at FactBites »



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