We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Vibraphone?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A vibraphone, also called vibes or vibraharp, is a percussion instrument, one of the idiophones. Idiophones are instruments that produce sound like vibration of the entire body of the instrument. Other examples of idiophones are triangles and cymbals.

One group of idiophones is played with mallets, and it is to this group that the vibraphone belongs. Other mallet instruments include the xylophone, the marimba, the glockenspiel, the chimes or tubular bells, the crotales or antique cymbals, and the steel drums.

Like the glockenspiel, the vibraphone is a set of metal bars. This distinguishes it from the marimba and xylophone, both of which have bars of wood. The vibraphone is also distinguished by having vibrato or tremolo produced by a series of electric fans on top of its resonator tubes. The speed of the motor controls the speed of the vibrato. As you may have gathered, this vibrato feature is the source of the name vibraphone.

A typical vibraphone has either a three octave range beginning on the F below middle C, a two and a half octave range beginning on middle C, or a three and a half octave range beginning on the F below middle C. The bars of the vibraphone are arranged with the lowest pitches to the player's left.

The vibraphone is customarily played with a variety of mallets. Hard and medium cord mallets as well as rubber mallets are used. Yarn mallets may be employed for soft passages, and glissandos on the vibraphone can be effectively rendered with wire brushes.

Two vibraphone techniques that are less common are the following: dead stroking or dead sticking refers to striking a bar of the vibraphone and leaving the mallet resting there, i.e., not lifting it again immediately so that the bar can vibrate. The result is a muffled staccato. Another technique is to play the end of the vibraphone bars with a cello or contrabass bow.

The vibraphone is included in jazz, band, and orchestral ensembles, and it is used both for back up and solo playing. Famous vibraphone players have included Roy Ayers, Milt Jackson, Gary Burton, Red Norvo, Cal Tjader, and Lionel Hampton.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for Musical Expert, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
Learn more
Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.