Name of Instrument:
Metallophone, generally, the difference between metallophones and xylophones is that metallophones are amde of metal bars which are struck, while xylophones are made of wooden bars.
How to Play:
Basically, metallophiones are played the same way as xylophones, by striking the metal bars with a beater or mallet. There are two main types of metallophones used in Indonesian gamelan orchestra - the Saron and Gender Family. These two types of metallophones differ in the size of its metal bars. Sarons have thick bars while Genders have thinner bars. They also vary in construction as well as the force needed to play it. Sarons may be played either soft or loud while Genders are usually played softly.
Types of Saron Instruments:
Sarons are pitched either in slendro (a five-note scale) or pelog (a seven-note scale).
The Gender Family:
Gender - Does not play the melody part but acts as a supporting instrument. It is pitched either in pelog or slendro. There are two types of these instruments:
Gender Panerus - Have small yet thick bars. Gender Barung - Have medium-sized bars and are pitched lower.
First Known Metallophones:
Metallophones existed in China during the 7th century. By the 17th century, metallophones reached northern Europe through Indonesia. Later on it became performance instruments during the 18th century.
Musicians Who Used Metallophones:
Carl Orff used metallophones in forwarding his approach in teaching children about music.