Music

Playing the Bones of the Xylophone

The xylophone was first created in Indonesia and is a member of the percussion family. The instrument has a set of different sized bars that are made out of wood and are each made to make a particular note when struck. The different bars are struck with wooden, rubber or plastic mallets to make different sounds. This particular percussion instrument has been around for thousands of years. This has been proven by artifacts found from as far back as 2000 BC. Throughout history, there have also been other variations of xylophones made, including ones that were made and used by ancient temples in China.

It must also be noted that xylophones are not always created in a single row of low notes to high notes. There have been xylophones found that have the bars hanging, where the musician will strike the vertical bars with the mallet. Michael Gusikov played a xylophone that had three rows of the bars situated in the shape of a triangle. It would appear that like many other instruments, the xylophone went through a number of changes and modifications over time.

While it is uncertain when exactly the xylophone made it to Europe, it is suggested that it could have arrived there sometime during the 1500s. Though, it wasn't until the early 1800s that people in the west were becoming familiar with the xylophone. Michael Josef Gusikov can be credited with making the instrument known. He had an interest in the instrument and performed with the xylophone around Europe on tours. It was not long before this musician became known for his music and gained some decent recognition for it. In fact, there were other well-known musicians who spoke well of the Michael Gusikov's performances, including Frederic Chopin, who was a fairly well-known pianist.

When most people think about playing an instrument, few will immediately think of the xylophone; instead, many will think about taking up guitar, piano, or saxophone before thinking of playing something like the xylophone. Xylophones are not an overly common instrument in the western world and are forgotten as a result, though this is not to say that no one plays it. Many people play the xylophone because they enjoy the sound and they are aware of the unique and natural sound it has. The xylophone is perhaps best known by the sharp and bright tone the bars have when struck with the mallet, especially the modern xylophones that have been created with resonating tubes placed under the wooden bars to enhance the sound of each note. The frames of the xylophone are made of wood or steal tubing and the more expensive, higher end models have the ability to have their height adjusted to fit the musician.

The higher quality xylophones also have more stability, while the cheaper ones don't have as much stability. Musicians who are serious about playing the xylophone in concerts and other performances will most likely spend more money on the higher quality instruments, while younger students who are simply looking to try it out will go for the cheaper, used xylophones.

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