Other names bells, orchestra bells
Classification keyboard percussion
Hornbostel–Sachs classification idiophone
Playing range
written like F3-C6, sounds like F5-C8
Related instruments
xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, tubular bell
A musician playing a glockenspiel.

A glockenspiel (German pronunciation: [ˈɡlɔkənˌʃpiːl], glocken:bells and spiel:play) is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone. The glockenspiel, moreover, is usually smaller and higher in pitch.[1]

In German, a carillon is also called a Glockenspiel.

When used in a marching or military band, the bars are sometimes mounted in a portable case and held vertically, sometimes in a lyre-shaped frame. However, sometimes the bars are held horizontally using a harness similar to a marching snare harness. In orchestral use, the bars are mounted horizontally. A pair of hard, unwrapped mallets, generally with heads made of plastic or metal, are used to strike the bars, although mallet heads can also be made of rubber (though using too soft of rubber can make a dull sound). If laid out horizontally, a keyboard may be attached to the instrument to allow chords to be more easily played. Another method to playing chords is to play with four mallets.

The glockenspiel is limited to the upper register, and usually covers about two and a half to three octaves, but can also reach up to 3.5 octaves. The glockenspiel is a transposing instrument; its parts are written two octaves below the sounding notes. When struck, the bars give a very pure, bell-like sound.

Glockenspiels are still quite popular and appear in almost all genres of music ranging from hip-hop to jazz. Percussionist Neil Peart of the rock band Rush uses the glockenspiel in several of the band's arrangements, most notably in the commercial hit songs "The Spirit of Radio" and "Closer to the Heart", and also in album tracks "Xanadu" and "Circumstances". The glockenspiel was also featured in Jimi Hendrix's classic ballad "Little Wing", Avenged Sevenfold's song "Nightmare" during the intro, as well as in indie folk music by artists such as Paul Duncan of Warm Ghost.[2] George Martin, The Beatles' producer, plays glockenspiel on the band's song Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! to help create the atmosphere of the Pablo Fanque circus performance that inspired the song. [3]

A well-known classical piece that uses the glockenspiel is Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. (This part, like many others, calls for a keyboard glockenspiel. The part is sometimes performed on a celesta, however, which sounds quite different from the intended effect.) A modern example of the glockenspiel is Steve Reich's 1970–71 composition Drumming, in which the glockenspiel becomes a major instrument in the 3rd and 4th movements.[4]

Other instruments that work on the same struck-bar principle as the glockenspiel include the marimba and the vibraphone. There are also many glockenspiel-like instruments in Indonesian gamelan ensembles.


See also



  1. ^ Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
  2. ^ Peter Funk (19 January 2006). "Paul Duncan: Be Careful What You Call Home". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  3. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1. 
  4. ^ "The Vibraphone and Glockenspiel". All About Mallet Percussion. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • GLOCKENSPIEL — Instrument à percussion, métallophone. En Allemagne, désigne parfois le carillon (cf. clochettes de La Flûte enchantée de Mozart, du Saül de Haendel, de la Septième Symphonie de Mahler). Dans l’orchestre moderne, glockenspiel désigne un… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Glockenspiel — Características Clasificación percusión de teclado idiófono Instrumentos relacionados …   Wikipedia Español

  • Glockenspiel — steht für Glockenspiel (Musikinstrument), ein zur Gruppe der Metallophone gehörendes Stabspiel (Schlaginstrument) Lyra (Glockenspiel), ein in Militärkapellen verwendetes, spezifisches Glockenspiel Chinesisches Glockenspiel Bianbo Glockenspiel… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • glockenspiel — s.n. Instrument de percuţie alcătuit din lame metalice aşezate pe un suport, care, lovite cu ciocănele de lemn, scot sunete asemănătoare cu clinchetul de clopoţel; joc de clopoţei. [pr.: glócănşpil] – cuv. germ. Trimis de gall, 13.09.2007. Sursa …   Dicționar Român

  • Glockenspiel — Glockenspiel, eine Anzahl harmonisch geordneter Glocken, die entweder mittelst einer Claviatur oder einer durch Gewichte getriebenen Walze durch Hämmer zum Schlagen gebracht werden. Man hat Glockenspiele auf den Thürmen, in den Orgeln, in den… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • glockenspiel — 1825, from Ger. Glockenspiel, lit. play of bells, from Glocke bell (see CLOCK (Cf. clock)) + Spiel a play …   Etymology dictionary

  • Glockenspiel — Glock en*spiel , n. [G.; glocke bell + spiel play.] (Music) An instrument, originally a series of bells on an iron rod, now a set of flat metal bars, diatonically tuned, giving a bell like tone when played with a mallet; a carillon. [Webster 1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Glockenspiel — (Carillon), 1) ein Instrument aus diatonisch u. chromatisch abgestimmten Glocken, von Metall od. Glas, von verschiedener Form u. Größe zusammengesetzt, welche durch Hämmer angeschlagen werden. Die größten G e hat man in den Niederlanden, Holland …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Glockenspiel — (franz. Carillon, ital. Gariglione), ein in frühern Jahrhunderten sehr beliebtes musikalisches Instrument. Die größte Art des Glockenspiels findet sich auf Kirchtürmen, wo eine Anzahl kleinerer Glocken durch einen Uhrwerkmechanismus mit Walzen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Glockenspiel — Glockenspiel, Musikinstrument aus abgestimmten Glocken, oft als mechan. Kunstwerk auf Türmen angebracht (sog. Carillon); Schlaginstrument bei Militärmusiken; Orgelregister, Zimbel genannt …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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