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Marimbaphone

Marimbaphone

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The marimbaphone is an obsolete tuned percussion instrument, developed by the Deagan company of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. in the early 20th century.

The marimbaphone had shallow steel bars arranged chromatically with a tube resonator under each bar. Its timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

 was similar to the celesta
Celesta
The celesta or celeste is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. Its appearance is similar to that of an upright piano or of a large wooden music box . The keys are connected to hammers which strike a graduated set of metal plates suspended over wooden resonators...

, and it was used mainly by marimba bands and as a solo instrument by stage artists (Blades 2001).

In addition to being played with mallets in the conventional way (as in the playing of a marimba
Marimba
The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys ...

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

), the marimbaphone was designed so that its bars could be rotated from a horizontal position to a vertical position, allowing them to more easily be played with a bow. To further facilitate bowing, the ends of its bars were concave rather than flat. A single marimbaphone could be played by more than one performer, allowing both techniques to be used simultaneously.

Although the instrument has been comparatively little used in art music (Percy Grainger
Percy Grainger
George Percy Aldridge Grainger , known as Percy Grainger, was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist. In the course of a long and innovative career he played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early years of the 20th century. He also made many...

 was one of only a few composers ever to call for it), the name is found in many scores where the ordinary marimba
Marimba
The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys ...

is meant (Blades 2001).

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