Definition of glockenspiel in US English:



  • A musical percussion instrument having a set of tuned metal pieces mounted in a frame and struck with small hammers.

    • ‘Flitting fitfully from discordant strings and hectic glockenspiels to lean oboe solos, Rota's masterpiece is an unstable symphony to the teeming metropolis.’
    • ‘With liberal use of glockenspiel, harmonium and mouth organ, it sounds like he found his instruments in a playgroup toy box.’
    • ‘In the 19th century glockenspiels were often made of glass under the name ‘harmonica’ or ‘armonica’, as used by Saint-Saëns in Le Carnaval des animaux for ‘Oiseaux’.’
    • ‘With the chime of the glockenspiel and the slow pull of the violin the band began and invited us to witness a cavalcade of sound and images.’
    • ‘Beneath it, there's a sense that the ever-present vibraphone and glockenspiel are tapping out a secret language.’
    • ‘Along for the ride are a battered old piano, an oboe, a glockenspiel and a banjo.’
    • ‘Rather than tinkering with tradition, he expands upon it with computer-generated hums and bleeps, tambourines and glockenspiel, warming the stark acoustic sound.’
    • ‘There's too much sweetness overall, and a couple of unnecessary instrumentals rife with resonant pianos and tinkling glockenspiels.’
    • ‘String groupings of violins and cellos swell throughout and voice aching, mournful melodies, the piano occasionally joined by a celeste or glockenspiel.’
    • ‘The music began in slightly oriental fashion, then filled out with strange scratching noises, the sound of a glockenspiel being played with a cello bow and semi-random percussion.’
    • ‘The former work is rather seductive, thanks in part to the coos of the vocalists and also because of the exotic tones of the marimbas, glockenspiels, and metallophone.’
    • ‘In lesson time pupils learn to play ‘classroom’ instruments such as the glockenspiel or xylophone, and there are 65 teachers who go out and deliver tuition for other instruments.’
    • ‘Only the brightest sparks musically got the real instruments, such as the glockenspiels, i.e. those instruments upon which you could actually play more than one note.’
    • ‘The arrangements are spare yet sky-wide, occasionally visited by banjos, accordions, glockenspiels, and theremin.’
    • ‘A marimba also is essentially a set of wooden bars, while the glockenspiel and vibraphone involve metal bars.’
    • ‘They certainly haven't ignored technology, but the use of instruments like banjo, accordion, glockenspiel and pump organ enhances the weathered folk feel of the music.’
    • ‘Webern's original intention for op.24 was to write a piano concerto, and the preliminary sketches are for a large and colourful orchestra, including mandolin, glockenspiel, celesta, harp and piccolo.’
    • ‘For her second solo CD, the local multi-instrumentalist has produced a grand record featuring everything from glockenspiel and saw to accordion, and even tuba.’
    • ‘They meet up in Torino without much of a plan and immerse themselves in the studio with trad rock instruments plus a bunch of theremins and glockenspiels.’
    • ‘Have a good listen right up to the part where the glockenspiel comes in.’


Early 19th century (denoting an organ stop imitating the sound of bells): from German Glockenspiel, literally ‘bell play’.