Xylophone is the correct spelling. The word itself comes from the Ancient Greek and is made up of a combination of letter sounds that are difficult to read and to remember.
This article will clarify the spelling of the word xylophone and look briefly at the origins of the word and of the instrument itself.
How did the xylophone get its name?
The Greek word for “wood” is “xylon” and refers to the material the xylophone is made from. The Greek word for “sound” is “phone”, which emphasizes the function of the instrument.
The strong bright sound of the xylophone is emphasized using metal tubes, which are attached to the bottom of the wooden bars. These cause the sounds to vibrate.
It is proposed that the instrument originated somewhere in Asia, but later research has found reason to believe the xylophone also has a history in Africa.
The African xylophones have many names, marimbas and amadindas are just two of them, and can vary in form and style. For example, the “free key” instruments have a rack of keys that is placed over some logs or a hollow in the ground.
What is a Xylophone?
The xylophone is a wooden percussion instrument that is made up of a series of slats or bars that graduate in size. These bars are set across a wooden frame and are struck with a set of mallets.
Each bar produces a single clear note when struck. The different sizes of the bars produce each note of the musical scale, and the keyboard is set up pretty much like the piano, with the lower sounds on the left and the higher notes on the right.
Xylophones come in an astonishing range of sizes and complexity, from the simple toy instruments to the furniture size orchestral instruments.
They are used in African music, folk music, and jazz, and, at some time during the 18th century, entered the classical orchestra as part of the percussion section. These instruments feature 27 hardwood bars that are mounted on tight chording.
The xylophone is a wooded percussion instrument with a fascinating, although somewhat obscure, history, and which takes its name from the Ancient Greek words for “wood” and “sound”.
It is a versatile instrument, designed in form to meet the needs of every musician from small children to the classical and accomplished musicians.