Xylophone is a generic term for any percussion instrument with wooden keys of definite pitches arranged side-by-side in a horizontal keyboard, usually played with one mallet in each hand (but sometimes two or three). This class of instruments probably originated in Africa, although there is a possibility that they were first invented in Indonesia and arrived in Africa via an ancient trade route across the Indian Ocean. In any case, xylophone instruments have been played in various parts of Africa for many centuries, just like the lamellophones or mbira.

Zimbabwean style marimba played in USA

Zimbabwean style marimba played in USA

At the moment, we’re focusing on four types of xylophone: the Mozambiquan timbila, the Zimbabwean marimba, the Malawian valimba, and the West African balafon.

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