The art of the orchestra lies in the combination of acoustic sounds - with the exception of the electric organ (when a proper pipe organ isn't available), the odd synthesizer and the vibraphone.

The vibraphone, which was invented in the US in the early 1920s, is simply an electric xylophone, but that changes everything. The bars are made of metal, not wood. The resonators house small electric fans which create a vibrating tremolo effect for extending the pitch. Consequently, the xylophone's clangorous hardness is replaced with a dewy smoothness that allows it to play legato and produce chords.

Fact File

Did you know?

The earliest vibraphone keys were made of steel, however, nowadays the keys are made of the more mellow-sounding aluminium.

Frequency Range

174 Hz - 1.4 kHz