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Xylophone: Great sounds of wood

A xylophone is an instrument that works quite simply: A wooden baton is used to beat a bamboo or wood stick and a short, dry sound is heard. This simple principle is used in small xylophones for children as well as in large concert instruments. These have several octaves available and are arranged much like a piano keyboard, with the diatonic scale in a first row and the semitones in a second row. The natural sound of the various large wooden sticks is only amplified by the tubes under the rods. This dry and from a certain speed also "rickety" sound is often used for ghostly scenes and effects.

What makes xylophone so appealing to play?

The player stands in front of the instrument, which is built approximately at waist height. With two or more mallets (mallets) he hits the individual sound bars. The Mallets are cushioned inside, so that they recede easily after the blow. In this way, the sound is not dampened. Nevertheless, the sounds of the individual bars are very short.

Xylophone - what to pay attention to when buying?

- The material used for the sound panels determines the quality of the instrument. Kinderxylophones are equipped with composites, for example Palisono, which incorporates fiberglass. Such sticks are water-repellent and can not be detuned. For professional instruments different types of wood are used. These have very different vibration qualities and resistance capabilities. Swartzia fistuloides, a tropical wood, is often processed in xylophones. For higher demands Palisander soundboards are suitable. Also plastic Klangstäbe are on offer. Be guided in the selection of your own taste and sound impression.

- The sound of a xylophone can be influenced by the design and material of the Mallets. For example, the warm sound of the Swartzia fistuloides sound panels can be made more voluminous by appropriate Malletts. Malletts are available in various degrees of hardness from "soft" to "medium hard" to "hard". Many manufacturers also offer sound samples on the net, so that you can find out more about the individual makes here. The sticks are made of wood (rosewood), but also of plastic and rubber (for practicing).

- When choosing Xylophone and Malletts, keep in mind that the game will vary within octaves. The larger the sound panels are (the lower notes), the easier they are to address. Softer mallets often produce wonderful tones in the low and middle register, but no longer respond properly to the small discs in the high position. Try to find a good mediocrity as a beginner.

- You should also think about the frame or stand of a xylophone before buying. Children's xylophones are either simply mounted on wooden strips or on a carcase that is hollow inside. The latter are more robust and sound better, but have more weight. The simple designs have a quieter sound. They are not very stable though. For a professional xylophone there are plastic frames in various designs. You also have the option to buy only the sound bars on a composite frame (table model). You simply place the instrument on a table. For the table models, there are stands that are installed crosswise. Typically, xylophones are offered with a sturdy stand consisting of two lateral struts and a transverse board. Many devices have rollers that can be detected.
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