The instrument is made with 14 wooden keys of an African hardwood called liga attached to a wooden frame, below which hang calabash gourds. Spider web silk covers small holes in the gourds to produce a buzzing sound, and antelope sinew and leather are used for the fastenings. The instrument is played by striking the keys with wooden mallets with rubber heads. The instrument is generally played by men, who learn to play while young, however, there is no restriction on gender. The gyil is usually played in pairs, accompanied by a calabash gourd drum called a kuor. It can also be played by one person with the drum and the stick part as accompaniment, or by a soloist.