Overview

xylophone


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(Gr.).

Wood sound. (1) Perc. instr. consisting of graduated tuned wooden bars, arr. as on pf. kbd., and played by being struck with small hard or soft hammers held in the hands. Compass from middle C upwards for 4 octaves. Orig. found in Africa and in Javanese orch. in 14th cent. First mentioned in Eur. in 1511 as ‘wooden clatter’, later being known as straw‐fiddle (Strohfiedel) because the bars lay on straw. First used in orch. 1874, by Saint‐Saëns in Danse macabre, its sound being particularly apt for representation of rattling skeletons. Since then regular feature of perc. section, most 20th‐cent. composers making use of it, e.g. Mahler in 6th Sym., Puccini in Madama Butterfly, Strauss in Salome, Walton in Belshazzar's Feast, Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams, etc. (2) Perc. organ stop of 8′ pitch, played electrically to duplicate sound of xylophone.

(1) Perc. instr. consisting of graduated tuned wooden bars, arr. as on pf. kbd., and played by being struck with small hard or soft hammers held in the hands. Compass from middle C upwards for 4 octaves. Orig. found in Africa and in Javanese orch. in 14th cent. First mentioned in Eur. in 1511 as ‘wooden clatter’, later being known as straw‐fiddle (Strohfiedel) because the bars lay on straw. First used in orch. 1874, by Saint‐Saëns in Danse macabre, its sound being particularly apt for representation of rattling skeletons. Since then regular feature of perc. section, most 20th‐cent. composers making use of it, e.g. Mahler in 6th Sym., Puccini in Madama Butterfly, Strauss in Salome, Walton in Belshazzar's Feast, Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams, etc. (2) Perc. organ stop of 8′ pitch, played electrically to duplicate sound of xylophone.

Subjects: Music.


Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.