So, I’m guessing a lot of the bloggers participating in the A to Z Challenge will be posting about xylophones today. I’m looking forward to visiting a bunch.
Most people, when they hear the word xylophone, probably picture something like this:
and know it sounds something like this:
And a whole segment of society (Orff-Schulwerk trained teachers and their elementary school students) visualizes something like this:
and expects them to sound like this:
(To be accurate, the above ensemble also includes glockenspiels and metallophones.)
The xylophone is a musical instrument consisting of wood bars struck by mallets. It is ancient, at least 1500 years old, and it originated in Africa or possibly southeast Asia; or perhaps developed in multiple locations.
Last month, my brother Bill visited me from New Jersey, and I took him to the incredible Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. While we were there, I took photographs of as many xylophones (and xylophone-type instruments) as I could, knowing I would need them for this article. (Click on any image below to scroll through enlargements.)
One of my favorite pieces of music featuring the xylophone is Fossils, from Camille Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals.
And who could forget this:
although technically, Brian Jones is playing marimba (which has resonator tubes hanging below the bars to amplify them).
If you have not yet had your full of xylophones today, watch the delightful concert below.