Musser M-50 3.5 Octave Rosewood

What is it?

The xylophone is a melodic percussion instrument made of wooden bars and played with mallets. The term is often incorrectly used to describe other melodic percussion instruments such as the glockenspiel, marimba and vibraphone. A xylophone is made only with wood (typically rosewood or padauk) or synthetic materials, and never with metal bars.

The name xylophone comes from the Greek words xylon, which means wood, and phone, which means sound or voice. Together, the name means, “wooden sound.”

How does it sound?

All standard melodic percussion instruments are tuned and arranged in a similar pattern to that of a piano. If you know how to read a piano keyboard, these will feel very familiar. The top note of a xylophone is the same note as the top note on a piano. The range extends from that high C (C8) down across three and a half octaves to F being the lowest note (F4). Most xylophones have that range of three and a half octaves, though some instruments range three or four.

Xylophones have a crisp, short sound. The timbre (pronounced “tamber”) is complex because of the way it is tuned, compared to its cousin, the marimba, which has a more mellow sound.