The glockenspiel is played by percussionists in orchestras and in military bands. Military bands also use variations on the glockenspiel, including the more mobile bell lyre and the tubaphone, which uses metal tubes instead of the bars used in conventional glockenspiels.
Originally, glockenspiels were made with a set of graduated bells, but today they are made with steel bars. The bars are arranged in two rows, with each row corresponding to either the white or black keys of a piano keyboard. Percussionists strike the bars with hammers made from wood or metal. Some glockenspiels have an integrated keyboard to allow the playing of chords.