The Aluphone

A new type of mallet instrument has made its way to the field and floor. In less than a year, the Aluphone has become an integral part of multiple marching ensembles and drum corps. The instrument’s “whole new sound,” similar to Japanese temple bells, provides versatility for use in a variety of music genres, says Matthew Lunsford from Marching USA, distributor for the Aluphone as well as Premier marching, concert and educational percussion.

The Aluphone, created by renowned marimba player Kai Stensgaard of Denmark, is made of cast aluminum and comes available in a variety of configurations—from something as simple as a solo bell, hand bell or bell tree to a complex set of concert bells mounted on a frame. The Aluphone is virtually indestructible by any blunt object and can be played with a variety of mallets, drumsticks or triangle sticks. Plus, the Aluphone can be played underwater or even with a violin bow.

“Being able to play with so many mallets, beaters, bows and various other techniques, the Aluphone can give you a very mellow and graceful sound that sits on top of an ensemble [or] a piercing tone that can cut through the largest of performing units,” Lunsford says.

This innovative instrument was performed in the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremonies as well as used by indoor percussion groups and more than a handful of top drum corps including The Blue Devils, which won its 15th World title this year.

For Lunsford, the success is not surprising. “The instrument provides a texture and timbre like no other. … The Aluphone gave birth to a whole new level of sound and enabled writing like never before.”

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