Lat.‐Amer. perc. instr. of African origin. It consists of strips of wood of different length with (tuned) resonators underneath, the whole fixed in a frame and struck with drum‐sticks—in fact, a super‐xylophone large enough for perf. by 4 players (or marimberos), standing or sitting side by side. Now made with bars of rosewood and tubular metal resonators which are struck with soft‐headed hammers held by the player(s). Grainger scored for the marimba in the suite In a Nutshell before 1916. Milhaud wrote a conc. for marimba and vibraphone (1947) and Creston a conc. for marimba (1940). It now frequently occurs in orch. works.
The S. African original, known to Afrikaans‐speaking Europeans as the kaffir piano, is called the malimba by natives.