Definition and background:
A percussion idiophone developed in the 1920's, used much in jazz music. It consists of metal bars arranged in the manner of a piano keyboard, and it is sounded by means of soft mallets. It looks similar to a marimba, only with metal bars. A series of resonator tubes are hung under the metal bars. Each of the resonator tubes has a disc in them that rotates to open and close the tube, thus altering the pattern of vibrations for the pitches that are sounded. This process provides a soothing pulsation similar to a vibrato. This vibrato effect can be controlled by the performer from no vibrato to a slow vibrato to a very fast vibrato. This wide range of vibrato possibilities provides a broad palette of sounds for the performer and are controlled by the speed of the spinning discs with a variable speed electric motor. Usually the vibraphone has a three octave range of f to f 3. Some vibraphones have an extended range from c to f 3. It is also known as the vibraharp.Also [Eng.] vibraphone; [Eng.] vibraharp; [Fr.] vibraphone; [Ger.] Vibraphon; [It.] vibrafono. Vibraphone Range (extended range in red) is a form of met allophone with resonators below its horizontally arranged metal bars and a mechanism to allow a vibrato effect, giving the instrument a characteristic resonance. It has been used for special effects by a number of 20th century composers
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary