African log amadinda xylophone; property of the Uganda Museum, Kampala—Hillegeist/Kubik

Percussion instrument consisting of a set of tuned wooden bars that are struck with mallets. Primitive xylophones may consist of logs of graded length laid across two supporting logs; a pit may be dug underneath to serve as a resonator. The xylophone has long been one of the principal instruments of African music; it is also important in the Indonesian gamelan. The marimba is a Latin American xylophone. In the modern orchestral xylophone, the bars are laid out on a stand in keyboard arrangement, with vertical resonating tubes suspended under each bar. See also glockenspiel; vibraphone.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on xylophone, visit Britannica.com.

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