The marimba is similar to the xylophone in that it has the same layout of wooden bars with tuned resonators but it is a newer invention (ca. 1910) and, like the vibraphone, it comes from the US.

Physically, the two instruments look almost the same, except that the marimbas have larger resonators and come in long sizes with extended ranges. The other difference is that the marimba is played with softer sticks, giving it a more melodious quality. The marimba can be an attractive solo instrument, as the jazz world discovered.

Fact File

Did you know?

The best marimba bars are made from a particularly hard Honduran rosewood.

Frequency Range

174 Hz - 1.4 kHz