Mallet Percussion

A mallet percussion instrument is a melodic percussion instrument played in a particular fashion, with mallets. Mallet percussion includes:

  • xylophone.
  • glockenspiel.
  • vibraphone.
  • marimba.

The use of mallet percussion dates back at least 5500 years to the first known xylophone. Mallet percussion was first used in a modern European orchestra in 1874, when Camille Saint-Saens used a xylophone in his Dance Macabre.

Modern mallet percussion instruments exist at many levels, from toy glockenspiels popularly (and incorrectly) known as xylophones to orchestral instruments, and including many folk instruments. Many of these are diatonic, while professional mallet percussion instruments are chromatic keyboard percussion instruments, set out in a fashion similar to a piano keyboard.

Although all mallet percussion is played with types of percussion mallet, the converse is not true. Not all instruments played with percussion mallets are termed mallet percussion instruments, and not all percussion mallets are used to play mallet percussion instruments. Rather, the term percussion mallet is applied very widely, including for example tympani sticks and even drum sticks and the beaters used for untuned gongs.

Famous quotes containing the words mallet and/or percussion:

    But the ball is lost and the mallet slipped long since from the hands
    Under the running tap that are not the hands of a child.
    Louis MacNeice (1907–1963)

    We got our new rifled muskets this morning. They are mostly old muskets, many of them used, altered from flint-lock to percussion ... but the power of the gun was fully as great as represented. The ball at one-fourth mile passed through the largest rails; at one-half mile almost the same.... I think it an excellent arm.
    Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822–1893)