This balo is a xylophone with 15 gourd-resonated bars of wood. Among the Manding peoples, professional male musicians play such xylophones to accompany praise songs in a manner akin to music of the kora. Each hand holds a rubber-tipped mallet and bells are strapped to the player's wrist to add rhythmic emphasis. A sound modifier is affixed over the holes located under the bars in the side of each gourd. In old examples such as this one, the modifier, which produces a buzzing sound essential to the African music aesthetic, is made of a membrane from a spider's-egg case. Today, makers use a more durable and accessible material—cigarette paper.