glockenspiel (glŏkˈənspēl) [key] [Ger., = bell-play], percussion instrument. The medieval glockenspiel was a sort of miniature carillon (see bell), sometimes played mechanically by means of a rotating cylinder with protruding pins. In the 16th cent. it was given a keyboard. The 18th-century glockenspiel had metal bars instead of bells, and in the 19th cent. the keyboard disappeared and the bars were struck by hammers. It has been used in the orchestra since the 18th cent. Related modern instruments are the tubophone, which uses a keyboard with tubes instead of bars, and the vibraphone, which has resonating tubes beneath its bars that vibrate using electricity. See also xylophone.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on glockenspiel from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Theory, Forms, and Instruments