ONCE UPON A TIME...
Do you know why 1 called this musical instrument a METALLOPHONE and not a XYLOPHONE? Because the vibrating material in a xylophone is wood. The word
xylophone comes from the Greek (xylon = wood + phone = sound or voice). African xylophones are very beautiful, both to listen to and to look at. They’re known as MARIMBAS. In addition to the vibrating part made of hard wooden bars, the sound is amplified by gourds, which act as sound boxes. Xylophones originally carne from the Far East and spread all around the world during the crusades. As gourds and hard wood aren’t easy to get hold of and are expensive, the best thing is to look for some plastic water bottles, which you can use as sound boxes, and a little bit of iron tubing from an old pram, one which has been left abandoned because there’s not enough space available for storing it in or because its original occupant has now grown up and wants a vehicle that’s got an engine in it instead.
A ½ liter plastic water bottle, two smaller one, some nylon foam, an iron tube and an old broomstick
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES
A hacksaw, a blunt metal file, a penknife and some contact adhesive.
HOW TO MAKE THE INSTRUMENT
Begin by making the stand that will support the various tubes (eight altogether). Open a 6 cm wide slit down the side of the bottle (from top to bottom). Stick the two smaller bottles underneath this bottle. Stick some small pieces of nylon foam dose to the opening made in the largest bottle, which will hold the metal tubes in place and keep them separate. Now we’re going to saw off the 8 tubes. Begin by sawing off one that’s 10 cm long and see which note is closest to the sound that this makes when it’s hit. Just like the pipes, the larger the tube, the lower the sound. So, to tune a note, you have to cut off small rings about 1 mm long until you get the right sound. An old broomstick makes a very good drumstick. The small bottles can be used to store the metal tubes in whenever you transport the METALLOPHONE. If you want to tune your METALLOPHONE perfectly, you can count on spending quite a few hours cutting the tubes.
Since you’ve probably spent a long time tuning your instrument, it’s time for you to learn how important it is to finish what you’ve started. If you’ve been following this book in the normal order, you’ll already have a collection of 21 instruments. Now make a good job of decorating this one.
HOW TO PLAY THE INSTRUMENT
Do exactly what you did with the PAN-PIPES. First, play some scales, and then some small tunes that can be played within the range of one octave.