You know more now: Xylophone vs. glockenspiel


Remember NBC’s truly amazing “The More You Know” campaign? Here at TRMS, we’ve developed our own version called “You Know More Now” – for when a news story ends on a cliff hanger and you don’t know for sure what will happen … until you do! You may have seen it on the show recently:

The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/6/15, 7:04 AM ET

BP accepts massive settlement over oil spill

Rachel Maddow reports on a settlement reached over Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims that will have BP pay out 18.7 billion dollars.

But these segments aren’t complete without the musical interlude. In the spirit of the original “The More You Know” ads, Rachel taps out the short NBC jingle with a mallet. As Rachel said on the show ;last week, these stories are typically “a news cliffhanger resolved with a xylophone, a real xylophone.”

Or so we thought. Since we started airing these segments, some of you have written to tell us that Rachel might actually be playing a glockenspiel – not a xylophone. The other day at the TRMS story meeting, we debated (fiercely) what constitutes a xylophone.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/13/15, 12:55 PM ET

TRMS staff debates: Xylophone or glockenspiel

Watch what happens when a fierce debate breaks out at the TRMS news meeting about what constitutes a xylophone.

The company where we bought the instrument describes it as a “30-bell xylophone outfit.” In classical terms, the xylophone and the glockenspiel both belong to the percussion family. A xylophone’s bars are typically made of wood, and on the glockenspiel, the bars are made of steel – just like on Rachel’s instrument. In fact, the Greek word “xylo” means “wood,” where “glock” in German means “bells.”

The differences don’t end there. Xylophones and glockenspiels have a different number of octaves, create sounds in different pitches, vary greatly in size. A concert xylophone is quite large, but glockenspiels are designed to be compact and portable. 

The verdict? It looks like Rachel has been playing a glockenspiel all along. And with that … You Know More Now!

You know more now: Xylophone vs. glockenspiel