Vibraphone

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The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the mallet subfamily of the percussion family.

It is similar in appearance to the xylophone, marimba, and glockenspiel although the vibraphone uses aluminum bars instead of the wooden bars of the first two instruments. Each bar is paired with a resonator tube having a motor-driven butterfly valve at its upper end, mounted on a common shaft, which produces a tremolo or vibrato effect while spinning. The vibraphone also has a sustain pedal similar to that used on a piano: When the pedal is up, the bars are all damped and the sound of each bar is quite short; with the pedal down, they will sound for several seconds.

The most common uses of the vibraphone are within jazz music, where it often plays a featured role, and in the wind ensemble, as a standard component of the percussion section.

Contents

History

The first musical instrument called "vibraphone" was marketed by the Leedy Manufacturing Company in the United States in 1921. However, this instrument differed in significant details from the instrument now called the vibraphone. The Leedy vibraphone achieved a degree of popularity after it was used in the novelty recordings of "Aloha 'Oe" and "Gypsy Love Song" by vaudeville performer Louis Frank Chiha ("Signor Frisco").[1]

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