Xylophone - Encyclopedia




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XYLOPHONE (Fr. xylophone; Ger. Xylophon, Strohfiedel or Holzharmonika; Ital. armonica de legno), a small instrument of percussion, of definite sonorousness, used in the orchestra to mark the rhythm. The xylophone consists of a series of little wooden staves in the form of a half cylinder and graduated in size. The staves, each of which represents a semitone, rest on two, three or four wooden bars, covered with straw and converging to form an acute angle. They are so arranged that each stave is isolated. In some models the staves are grouped in two rows, comprising the naturals and the accidentals. The xylophone is played with two little wooden hammers, and has a compass of two or three octaves. The quality of tone is inferior to that of the steel harmonica or glockenspiel. (K. S.)

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