Type: Struck > Tuned > Percussion.
Region: Cote de Ivory (Ivory Coast) > West Africa.
Specimen: My instrument is from Cote De Ivory (Ivory Coast).
Acquisition Date:Acquisition Source: Have Drums Will Travel, a drum store in Vancouver Canada (now out of business).
is a member of the tuned-percussion family of musical instruments.
Through out West Africa the balafon is found through out Guinea,
Mali and Cote De Ivory (Ivory Coast). The balafon is a member of the
tuned-percussion instrument family. Many of the balafons are tuned
to the pentatonic scale. The training to become a good balafon
player is very intense. They undergo long hours of playing the
musical instrument in terms of mastering complex rhythms and
techniques. Many students are known to faint due to physical
exhaustion during the training. During the process of construction,
the balafon they would make a frame that supports the hard keys. The
gourds are located underneath the keys they serve as resonance
chambers. Each individual gourd has a carved hole that has the
fibers of a spider egg sack covering the hole. About 17 to 21 keys
are tied onto the top of the frame. The mallets are hand carved and
also the mallet end is carved from vulcanized rubber from automobile
The Descendants: The marimba and xylophone are considered the most well known decendants of the Balaphone. The Marimba also made of wood is a similar percussion instrument struck with two mallets that is found all over in Latin America. The vibraphone or "vibes" have metal keys tuned in a chormatic scale, they are used in classical, jazz to pop and other musics.