Both Xylophone and Glockenspiel are percussion instruments containing tuned bars or keys. They are often considered the same thing by ordinary people. But as professionals will notice, they are vastly different from each other.
- “Xylophone” is a percussion instrument with wooden bars, while “Glockenspiel” is a percussion instrument with metal bars.
- “Xylophone” has a higher pitch and brighter sound, whereas “Glockenspiel” has a lower pitch and a softer sound.
- “Xylophone” is commonly used in orchestras and bands, while “Glockenspiel” is used in various musical genres, including pop, rock, and electronic music.
Xylophone vs Glockenspiel
Xylophone is a musical tool which musicians use, it produces sound with its wooden bars anchored on a stand and felt. Small Wooden hammers are used to strike the bars to make music. Glockenspiel is the same thing as a xylophone, it is constructed with steel bars and produces a penetrating sound. It is also referred to as metallophone.
The xylophone can be anywhere from three octaves to four octaves. The most popular and common one is the xylophone, which has 3.5 octaves.
The Glockenspiel is examined, and observed that it has a higher pitch than the xylophone due to its metallic nature. The Glockenspiel generally has an octave ranging between 2.5-3 octaves. The Glockenspiel, when played, sounds two-pitch higher than the written music notes.
|Parameters of Comparison||Xylophone||Glockenspiel|
|Place of Origin||Africa||Germany|
|Range of Octaves||3-4||2.5-3|
|Size||Normal (neither too big nor too small)||Smaller than Xylophone|
|Estimated time of origin||9th Century||17th Century|
What is Xylophone?
The root of the xylophone can be traced back to ancient Africa, around the 9th century. The earliest recorded description of the xylophone can be traced back to the 14th century in Mali, Africa.
Some of the xylophones have simple bars of wood that do not have any resonators, while a few have highly complex xylophones that are confined, and they also may have hollowed gourds that operate as resonators.
The wooden bars of the Xylophone are made up of Rosewood. The rosewoods which are used to manufacture the latter also have several types. The xylophone, made up of rosewood from Honduras, is considered to have the best quality sound.
The sound a xylophone produces is a high-pitched one, which is a short and sharp sound. The instrument can have any range between 3-4 octaves. The most type is the one that has an octave of 3.5.
Because of the nature of the sound, the instrument produces a pitch one octave higher than the written music notes.
What is Glockenspiel?
The glockenspiel is a percussion instrument comprising a synchronized set of harmonized keys orchestrated by the keyboard of a piano. It is sometimes also called Metallophone as the device is made of metal.
As the name suggests, Glockenspiel means “a set of bells,” as “Glocken” means “Bells” and “Spiel” means “Set.” The other instrument names are Carillon, Concert bells, and orchestral bells.
The sound produced by the instrument is very high-pitched. This depends on the factors like the small size and the material used to manufacture the latter, i.e., metal.
The glockenspiel was first made and used in the churches of Germany and was used as a set of fixed bells by hand. In or around the 17th century, the bells were then replaced by steel or metal bars.
The glockenspiel has an octave ranging between 2.5-3. Because of the nature of materials used for the instrument’s production, the sound produced by it is two-pitch higher than that of the original pitch level.
Main Differences Between Xylophone and Glockenspiel
- The size of the Xylophone is neither too big nor too small, and when Glockenspiel is compared to the latter, it is a smaller-sized instrument.
- The estimated time of origin of the Xylophone can be traced back to the 14th Century, whereas the time of origin of the Glockenspiel is the 17th Century.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.