Definition of balafon in English:


Syllabification: bal·a·fon
Pronunciation: /ˈbaləˌfōn


  • A large xylophone having hollow gourds as resonators, used in West African music.
    More example sentences
    • In Malinke traditional music, men drum and play balafons (xylo-phones made from wood and gourds).
    • One composition may highlight the possibilities of the balafon whilst another concentrates on the ngoni or Kora.
    • And the tinkle of kora and the woody tones of the balafon xylophone are skillfully combined with the sounds of an Egyptian orchestra.


late 18th century: via French from Manding bala 'xylophone' + fo 'to play'.

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