The balaphon is a kind of xylophone, originated from Western Africa, and is made of wood sticks. The dimension of these wood sticks determinates the sound (the shorter the plates are, the more the sound is acute).
Calabash placed below are here for resonance.
To perfect the variations, the calabash can be bored: the holes are covered with membranes which vibrate.
These membranes, formerly made of batwings or spider webs, have been replaced nowadays by cigarette paper or plastic membrane. Each blade of the balaphon produces a sound (for a total of 18 to 21 sounds). However, some balaphons got much less (16, 12, 8 and even 6 or 7).
This instrument is traditionally used in Guinea and in Mali for festivals and ceremonies; the musicians are resulting from family Griot (storyteller).