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Necessary Features of the Xylophone: A Unique Marching Instrument - Essay Example

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Necessary Features of the Xylophone: A Unique Marching Instrument

Locating the exact place of their origin, these were known to have originated first in Asia. Reaching to Africa, it is in the west that these were fully embraced and used even until now. The rich culture of Western Africa includes the way people perceived them having a unique role in their society (Maxwell, n.d.). Eventually, they spread to all the other parts of the world. Many authors, philosophers, and musicians from Europe applied the name in their works. One European painting, renowned to have first portrayed the idea of these instruments, was by Hans Holbein in 1523, entitled Dance of Death. However, it was not later than nineteenth century that these were conceived as instruments for the orchestra (VSL, 2012a).
Historians have varied suggestions as to where xylophones originated; however, it all goes back to the idea of man’s tendency to grasp two unlikely objects, pounding them together, thus creating and producing sound. The idea may be associated to other percussions such as gongs and drums because apparently, according to VSL (2012b), xylophones belong to percussion family. Specifically, xylophones are clustered to a percussion group called “mallet” where other instruments like “vibraphone,” “celesta,” “marimba,” and “glockenspiel” also belong....
f playing percussion instruments vary with the use of “mallets.” The ones intended for xylophones are made for flexibility and hardness, depending on what tone is desired. These are usually small in order for them to fit directly into the ascending bars, which produce the lowest to the highest note (VSL, 2012b). It is also for an easier grip that can help one hammer faster--making xylophones ideally useful for learning, as well as for fun to children of all ages. Xylophones were modified through times--from its prehistoric and simple image of two wood-bars placed on a “player’s legs” (All About Mallet Percussion, n.d.a) to their modern look of having above-the-knee high wheel-stand and consisting shiny wood-pieces of varied lengths arranged in rows. Some are actually made up of plastics these days and are used as toys (Symes, 2012), which literally have distorted the idea of wood-made xylophones; but in order to give kids the safest way of learning to play the instrument, the act has been tolerated. Wood-authentic xylophones are more expensive compared to colourful plastic-made ones and are perceived to exist only at certain tribes. In African tribes, according to Maxwell (n.d.), men are most likely seen to be playing the wood-made xylophones rather than women. Older men who are often most respected are the ones playing the instrument, while the women, accompanied by younger men, dance and do the rituals with it. Some are singing--and hum as well, accompanied by the xylophone player while others are doing strange movements using their body. Aside from using the instrument in their rituals and dances, entertaining their folks and keeping a solid bond amongst each other also make them necessary for amusement. Xylophone players of each tribe are even considered ...Show more

Summary

Necessary Features of the Xylophone: A Unique Marching Instrument
Section 1: First Thing about Xylophones
Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL) (2012a) stated that “xylophone” comes from Greek words xylon, which means wood, and phoné, which means sound. …
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