Vibraphone - Sound characteristics
Metallic, hard, soft, gentle, glassy, oscillating, wafting, lustrous, muted, caressing, gossamer, ethereal, drifting, trembling, voice-like.
The sound of the vibraphone is greatly lacking in overtones. In the lower register the instrument cannot assert itself very well, but in the middle and upper registers the sound brightens and becomes more easily distinguishable, though its audibility remains limited. In tutti passages, when all the instruments in the orchestra play a chord sequence, especially at climactic points and in endings, the vibraphone is inaudible.
The instrument’s vibrato helps it to project and assert itself more, since the pulsing sound is distinguishable above other instruments.