The xylophone is an intriguing musical instrument from the percussion family which includes hollow wood tubes struck with mallets to create music. As with the glockenspiels, the xylophone basically consists of a pair of tuned wood keys arranged in a xylophone keyboard-like pattern. The xylophone keyboard, like the keys of the glockenspiels, can be tuned to any of several different notes. Unlike the glockenspiels, however, an xylophone must have a mouthpiece in order to produce sound.
In addition to its being an unusual musical instrument, the xylophone has an interesting history. It was excavated from a site near Laos in southern Africa. In 1995, archaeologist Lee Johnson discovered this unknown instrument among a group of ceramics dating from between the sixth and fifth centuries AD. The xylophone had been covered with a layer of flint stone and it appears that the flints were struck on the instrument using a wooden mallet.
The xylophone has several distinctive features which distinguish it from other types of wind instruments. For one, it has three large wooden bars at the very center of the tube, rather than two large bars located near the mouthpiece. This characteristic helps the xylophone generate a deeper, softer sound than other wind instruments. The distance between the bars, however, may vary from instrument to instrument. On some models, the entire tube is covered in glass.
The typical shape of xylophone keyboards is that of an "A" shaped figure, with the large center bar running from top to bottom. On some models, however, models include a rectangular figure, rather than an "A". Although the two bars appear similar on some models, they are not the same. Rectangular xylophone keys, which tend to be more common on desktop and laptop models, are known as rosewood. Rosewood, which has a dark natural color and hence is often called black walnut, is naturally resistant to corrosion, making it highly valued by musicians and collectors.
Xylophone manufacturers generally choose a clear glass for the front face of the instrument. Because of the nature of xylophone sounds, it is important that the colors of the inner parts of the tubes match the colors of the keys on the instrument. This allows the xylophone to produce the best sounds. Most models have large, deep "A" shaped sound holes located on the front of the instrument. However, some xylophones have holes in only the middle part of the tube. As a result, some instruments have larger sound holes than others.
There are many different sizes of xylophone bars that can be purchased from xylophone manufacturers. These include the standard double-cylinder bars, triple-cylinder bars and the additional double-double-sided bars that are used for double-side tuning. Each size of bar adds additional tone to an xylophone, but over a long period of time, the difference between these different bar sizes becomes noticeable. The standard double-cylinder bar is most commonly found in acoustic guitars and is generally tuned via a bridge at the very top of the tube. The standard triple-cylinder bar is used most commonly as a tuning tool for the double-sided bar instruments and is tuned using an air piston.
While an xylophone does not use hammers to strike the keys, mechanical pressure is applied when the bar is struck. In addition, air pressure is applied when the keys are struck. Unlike other musical instruments such as a keyboard or piano, a xylophone does not require a hammock to sleep in as it does not utilize hammers or wooden bars. Therefore, while this aspect of the xylophone differs from other types of instruments, it still has its own place in the world of wind instruments and continues to grow in popularity.
The xylophone is capable of providing a soothing melody or can be used to accompany smooth jazz and new age music. An xylophone made of wood can provide a more melodic note and the right wood instrument can help produce deeper tones. Regardless of where the xylophone comes from, there is no doubt that it has changed the way people understand, play and enjoy an acoustic or wood instrument. Xylophones of Southeast Asia are unique instruments that have stood the test of time.