A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys of different sizes, which are arranged in the style of a keyboard and are played with two hammers. This instrument is limited to the upper register, and covers about two and a half octaves. A glockenspiel has the most exceptional shimmering tone in the orchestra, and it is often used to produce the leading melody in music. This instrument is available with 7 keys pentatonic, 8 keys diatonic (C major), 12 keys diatonic and 20 keys chromatic. Three different types of mallet can be used: rubber, plastic and wood, each creating a different and unique sound.

In the 14th century, there were two types of glockenspiel: large instruments used in church tower and smaller ones used for playing at home. In the 17th century, a keyboard was used in the smaller glockenspiels, which made it easier to play different musical parts. The glockenspiel has been used in the orchestra since the 18th century. The first composer to write for this instrument in the orchestra was Georg Friedrich Handel.

Glockenspiels appear in almost all genres of music, from hip hop to jazz. Neil Peart, member of the rock band ‘Rush’, uses the instrument in some of his songs, for example in the hit songs ‘Closer to the heart’ and ‘The spirit of the radio’. Jimi Hendrix played the instrument in his classic ballad ‘Little wing’, Avenged Sevenfold used it in the intro of the ‘Nightmare’ song. Also, other famous musicians such as John Lennon, Panic at the disco, Jethro Tull and Radiohead, have included the glockenspiel in their music.

At Varsity Music we provide a great range of new and used glockenspiels available to buy online. They are the best on the market and serviced by our trained musicians.

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