Hear a solo on the xylophon
Wood is a beautiful sound source. Large xylophones have traditionally been missing in Western music, but are central in many other cultures around the world. African versions, under names as amadinda or marimba have occasionally appeared in Sweden during festivals or as instruments for children at schools or day care centers.
This version, has been developped to maximize a soft harmonic tone and to be optimally practical to handle and play four grown-ups or up to eight children. It comes with eight mallets, practically kept in holes at the short end when not in use. It’s length is about one metre.
It is also a nice solo instrument. With its wide tonebars, it doesn’t take a very subtle technique to play it.
The xylophone comes in two variations, with a pentatonic (five tones) sale or an ordinaty (diatonic – seven tones) scale. The pentatonic scale is similar to the one consisting of the black keys on a piano, whereas the diatonic one corresponds to the white keys.
The xylophone the Raft is very suitable to gather som friends around and jam rhythmically, using the instrument much as a drum, mixing the tones freely. You can get very evocative sounds, especially if you give the playing time, so you can relax into listening.
If you want to use it for solo playing with known melodies, you should use the 7-tones Raft, even if that also can be used for jamming, giving a bit more “dissonant” sounds if many are taking part. Of course you can for example play two persons, one from each side, one playing melody and the other chords etc. Or bring it into any orchestra.
A littel folder with description how it works and some playing tips and sound games included.
Here you can se some fiveyear-olds trying the xylophone: