The marimba is a keyboard percussion instrument related to the xylophone. Marimbas consist of wooden bars suspended over a set of vertical tubes, or resonators, and struck with wool mallets. The wooden bars are laid out in the same way as the black and white keys on a traditional piano keyboard, although they are thinner and wider than those of a xylophone. When the wooden bars are struck with mallets, the tube below each bar vibrates as sound passes through it to give the marimba a more resonant, richer tone. In fact, the marimba is pitched an octave lower than the xylophone. Suppliers of these percussion instruments are to be found using productpilot.com.
The origin of the marimba is uncertain, although in its simplest form, it was one of the earliest musical instruments made by mankind. References suggest that marimbas were developed independently in Africa and Central America and had different physical characteristics depending on their point of origin. Originally, the vertical tubes of the marimba were made from calabashes, or bottle gourds, of different sizes. Modern marimbas rely on tubes made from aluminium or brass, cut to various lengths to produce the pitch of the note required. Wooden bars, especially rosewood, produce a warmer, more natural sound than synthetic alternatives, although synthetic keyboards are typically durable and do not go out of tune.
Marimbas come in various sizes, ranging from 5.5 octaves, suitable for professional solo repertoire, to 4.0 octaves. Most orchestral marimba parts are written for smaller, 4.0 or 4.33-octave instruments. The size of a marimba is usually directly proportional to its price. Buyers can find companies with extensive product ranges and strong reputations on productpilot.com.
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