Vibraphone

From TEK Percussion Database
Jump to: navigation, search

The vibraphone, also known as vibraharp or vibes is an instrument constructed in the United States in 1922 that has metallic bars arranged over metal resonators. A damper pedal allows for notes to be sustained and subsequently muted. The instrument also contains a motorized propeller which has the ability to affect the amount of vibrato that can be implemented.

Etymology and Alternative Spellings

Fr: le vibraphone; Ger: das Vibraphon; It: il vibrafono

Construction

Bars

The standard width of the bars on a professional model vibraphone are graduated from 2 inches to 1 1/2 inches. Traditionally, bars are made from a tempered aluminum alloy[1]. There are numerous finishes available for the bars: natural polished aluminum, clear anodized, gold anodized, and brass plate and lacquer[2].

Resonators

Damper Mechanism

Motor

Frame

History

The vibraphone developed in the United States in the 1920s by way of two German instrument designers who were each employed by competing percussion manufacturers. The two names, vibraharp and vibraphone, comes from the trade names that were coined by these two original manufacturers, although they refer to the same instrument[3].

In 1916 Herman Winterhoff, an employee of the Leedy Manufacturing Company, began experiments with an instrument intended to imitate the human voice through use of a motor-produced vibrato effect. In 1922 he had designed an instrument with a motor mounted to the frame that propels two sets of metal discs that resided in the tops of each resonator. By 1924 this instrument was beginning manufacturing and had received the name of vibraphone[4].

Sticks, Mallets, Beaters

Technique

Grips

Two Mallet Technique

Four Mallet Technique

Extended Techniques

  • Pitch Bending
  • Bowing
  • Harmonics

Stroke Style/Type

Manufacturers

Retailers

See Also

References

  1. “Beck, John, and John H. Beck, eds. 2007. Encyclopedia of percussion. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.”
  2. “Beck, John, and John H. Beck, eds. 2007. Encyclopedia of percussion. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.”
  3. “Beck, John, and John H. Beck, eds. 2007. Encyclopedia of percussion. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.”
  4. “Beck, John, and John H. Beck, eds. 2007. Encyclopedia of percussion. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.”