The Xylophone (シロフォン Shirofon) is a musical instrument in the percussion family. A person who plays the xylophone is called a xylophonist or simply a xylophone player.
The xylophone consists of a set of wooden bars arranged like a piano keyboard. Each bar is tuned to a pitch of the chromatic scale, with longer bars being lower-pitched and shorter bars being higher pitched. Bars on the xylophone are also much thicker and narrower than a marimba, which creates the distinction between the two instruments. Xylophones also feature a series of resonators beneath the bars which helps project their sound. Usually, the xylophone has a range of 3 & 1/2 to 4 octaves
The xylorimba, xylomarimba or marimba-xylophone is a variant of the xylophone with an extended lower range (usually extending the range to 5 octaves total). Though often confused as a fusion of the marimba and the xylophone, this is not the case. The xylorimba's lower register is described as sounding much more similar to a xylophone than a marimba, due to the construction of the instrument's bars and resonators.
Its name, and the instrument as a whole, is a source of confusion, even among professional composers and musicians. Sometimes composers will write pieces for the instrument that can be played on a regular xylophone, perhaps because they assumed based on the name that the instrument's tone is a combination between the marimba and xylophone without actually researching it.
To further distinguish the xylophone from the marimba, xylophones use relatively hard acrylic mallets, as opposed to yarn mallets. This results in the much sharper, brighter, and accented tone that the instrument is famous for.
Players must be familiar with how to hold mallets and perform a variety of techniques using them, including tremolo and glissandi. Xylophone parts often call for difficult runs and passages, so players are required to be quite dexterous. The xylophonist also frequently must use more than two mallets, up to four, which can prove challenging.
Despite being in the key of C, the xylophone is a transposing instrument as it reads its music an octave below how it sounds.
Xylophones are used in concert bands, symphony orchestras, and marching bands. In concert bands and wind ensembles, xylophone parts are usually written as a portion of a greater Percussion 1, 2, 3, etc. part. As for marching bands, xylophones can either be a part of the front ensemble, or be carried as a marching xylophone, which is much smaller than a regular concert xylophone for logical reasons.
As portrayed in Sound! Euphonium
- Saki Kayama played xylophone in "Crescent Moon Dance", March "Wind of Provence", and "Takarajima".
- Miyoko Oono played marching xylophone at the Sunrise Festival.
- Contrary to popular belief, the small, often colourful toys consisting of metal bars are not, in fact, xylophones, though they are often called such. These are unspecified metallophones, usually pitched to a diatonic scale, and poorly, if at all, tuned.
- This myth is especially ironic as the prefix Xylo means "wood", while these toys are made of metal.
|Musical instruments in Sound! Euphonium|