I am looking for the name of this musical instrument, which I have heard in old Tom & Jerry episodes, the show Mad Men and jazz radios. It does not sound like a cymbalom but may be a variation that goes by another name.

You can hear it here as Track 6: Scenic ride (starts at 24:29) I am not referring to the big base that accompanies it. It's almost like a high-pitched piano with a slight echo.

I find this type of music incredibly relaxing but I can't find songs to explore because I don't know the music instrument or this style of jazz.


That's a vibraphone. It's like a xylophone, but the bars are metal, so they vibrate longer. The resonators below the bars have discs inside that are turned by a motor, alternately opening and closing the resonator, causing the volume to oscillate, simulating vibrato and giving the instrument its name. The motor can be turned off, in which case the vibrato stops.

I was introduced to the instrument when my father turned me on to the Modern Jazz Quartet.

  • 2
    You opened a new door for me, friend. Accepting this answer after the website lets me.
    – Discipol
    Jul 19 at 23:20
  • 1
    Talk about a heavy instrument too. :) In Jr. High School band our teacher/conductor was a percussionist, so we have an extensive array of percussion gear. I played a brass instrument, so I only got to mess around with marimbas, vibraphones, tympanis etc... But I remember the drummer used to trick new people into "helping move" the vibraphones. All the metal (and the motor) weight a lot!
    – cnamejj
    Jul 20 at 6:57
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    One example: you can hear Lionel Hampton soloing on vibraphone in the Benny Goodman Quartet, playing swing music.
    – jrw32982
    Jul 22 at 21:47
  • Beatles have a great demo of "I'm Only Sleeping" with the Vibraphone on the melody: youtu.be/shpQR7Hq7PQ Aug 6 at 2:20

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