The official national musical instrument of Guatemala (it originated there), the marimba is a percussion instrument consisting of wooden bars struck with mallets. Much like a xylophone, the name marimba is from Bantu, meaning ‘many single bars.’
Wooden bars produce the best sound, with rosewood the preferred material, but tone and pitch can change with humidity and other changes in temperature, so in some cases, synthetic material is used. The mallets are also usually made of wood, with rubber at the end, generally wrapped with yarn.
Listen to the Berklee Marimba Ensemble: