xylophone (zĪˈləfōn) [key] [Gr., = wood sound], musical instrument having graduated wooden slabs that are struck by the player with small, hard mallets. The slabs are usually arranged like a keyboard, and the range varies from two to four octaves. Since the 1920s the xylophone has been equipped with tubular resonators and thus is essentially identical with the marimba. The latter, however, is deeper and larger, is often played by two or more players, and is struck with soft mallets.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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