Outdoor Xylophones make fantastic school playground equipment and are used often in primary education as a resource to encourage children to develop their musical ability experimenting with rhythm.
These outdoor musical instruments are increasingly being used in music therapy and in elderly care homes to create sound gardens for dementia care. We have a large range of outdoor musical instruments to suit any environment.
Usually tuned to a pentatonic scale to promote improvisation and free play with 'no wrong notes', however Outdoor Xylophones are also available in diatonic tunings.
The outdoor xylophone is named from the Greek ‘xylon’ meaning wood and ‘phone’ meaning sound or voice, the xylophone literally translated means wooden voice. This instrument can be as simple as a few logs laid on the player’s legs or suspended over an earthen pit to a sophisticated precision made instrument.
The origins of the outdoor xylophone date back to China from 2000 BC. They were later brought to Africa from Asia and can as such be viewed as a truly global instrument.
In Europe in 1511, the first xylophone was known as a straw fiddle as the bars were supported on straw. The xylophone is part of the percussion section in an orchestra and appears in many guises.
Often used to describe other outdoor musical instruments such as the Akadinda and Marimba, the bars of the outdoor xylophone are hit with durable polyurethane mallets that are secured to the instrument with a stainless steel cable.
Outdoor xylophones from Asia are often found in gamelan ensembles. The African xylophones were originally built with the bars over a gourd resonator such as a Balafon. The Western xylophone came into being in the mid 1800’s and was particularly favoured by Shostakovitch.
Originally from Buganda, the Akadinda has no resonator chambers it is typically played by three musicians playing a short pattern of notes.
The optimum sound from each bar is created by striking the note crisply in the middle of the bar. In time and with practice, different effects can be created by striking the bars in different places at varying speeds.
Percussion Play is a Limited company registered in England and Wales. Company Registration No. 07639169. Registered Office: Harwood House, 43 Harwood Road, London, SW6 4QP. Trading Address: Percussion Play Limited, The Courtyard, Heath Road,Petersfield, Hampshire, GU31 4DX.