Marimba
Overview
 
The marimba is a musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

 in the percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

, with the accidentals
Accidental (music)
In music, an accidental is a note whose pitch is not a member of a scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature. In musical notation, the symbols used to mark such notes, sharps , flats , and naturals , may also be called accidentals...

 raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys (similar to a piano) to aid the performer both visually and physically. This instrument is a type of xylophone
Xylophone
The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets...

, but with broader and lower tonal range and resonators.

The chromatic marimba was developed in Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 from the diatonic marimba, an instrument whose ancestor was a Mayan instrument not of African influence.
Modern uses of the marimba include solo performances, woodwind ensembles, marimba concerto
Concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

s, jazz ensembles, marching band
Marching band
Marching band is a physical activity in which a group of instrumental musicians generally perform outdoors and incorporate some type of marching with their musical performance. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments...

 (front ensembles
Front ensemble
In a marching band or drum corps, the front ensemble or pit is the stationary percussion ensemble. This ensemble is typically placed in front of the football field, though some groups will work the front ensemble into a tight pod onto the marching field...

), drum and bugle corps
Drum and bugle corps
Drum and bugle corps is a name used to describe two forms of marching units.* Drum and bugle corps — such as those organized by Drum Corps International after 1972, Drum Corps Associates, and other similar international organizations...

, and orchestral compositions
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

.
Encyclopedia
The marimba is a musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

 in the percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

, with the accidentals
Accidental (music)
In music, an accidental is a note whose pitch is not a member of a scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature. In musical notation, the symbols used to mark such notes, sharps , flats , and naturals , may also be called accidentals...

 raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys (similar to a piano) to aid the performer both visually and physically. This instrument is a type of xylophone
Xylophone
The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets...

, but with broader and lower tonal range and resonators.

The chromatic marimba was developed in Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 from the diatonic marimba, an instrument whose ancestor was a Mayan instrument not of African influence.
Modern uses of the marimba include solo performances, woodwind ensembles, marimba concerto
Concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

s, jazz ensembles, marching band
Marching band
Marching band is a physical activity in which a group of instrumental musicians generally perform outdoors and incorporate some type of marching with their musical performance. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments...

 (front ensembles
Front ensemble
In a marching band or drum corps, the front ensemble or pit is the stationary percussion ensemble. This ensemble is typically placed in front of the football field, though some groups will work the front ensemble into a tight pod onto the marching field...

), drum and bugle corps
Drum and bugle corps
Drum and bugle corps is a name used to describe two forms of marching units.* Drum and bugle corps — such as those organized by Drum Corps International after 1972, Drum Corps Associates, and other similar international organizations...

, and orchestral compositions
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

. Contemporary composers have utilized the unique sound of the marimba more and more in recent years.

Bars

Marimba bars are typically made of either wood or synthetic material, rosewood
Rosewood
Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining, but found in many different hues. All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for guitars, marimbas, turnery , handles, furniture, luxury flooring, etc.In general,...

 being the most desirable. Padouk is commonly used as a more affordable alternative. Bars made from synthetic materials generally fall short in sound quality in comparison to wooden bars, but are less expensive and yield added durability and weather resistance, making them suitable for outdoor use; marimbas with wooden bars are usually played inside because the bars are susceptible to pitch change due to weather. Bubinga and mahogany
Mahogany
The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....

 have also been cited as comparable to rosewood in quality for use as marimba bars. The specific rosewood used is universally from Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

, Dalbergia stevensonii. This wood has a Janka rating of 2200, which is about three times harder than Silver Maple
Silver Maple
The silver maple —also called creek maple, river maple, silverleaf maple, soft maple, water maple, or white maple—is a species of maple native to eastern North America in the eastern United States and Canada...

. The bars are wider and longer at the lowest pitched notes, and gradually get narrower and shorter as the notes get higher. During the tuning, wood is taken from the middle underside of the bar to lower the pitch. Because of this, the bars are also thinner in the lowest pitch register and thicker in the highest pitch register.

In Africa, most marimbas are made by local artisans from locally available materials.

Marimba bars produce their fullest sound when struck just off center, while striking the bar in the center produces a more articulate tone. On chromatic marimbas, the accidentals (black keys) can also be played on the space between the front edge of the bar and its node (the place where the string goes through the bar) if necessary. Playing on the node produces a sonically weak tone, and the technique is only used when the player or composer is looking for a muted sound from the instrument.

Range

There is no standard range of the marimba, but the most common ranges are 4 octaves, 4.3 octaves and 5 octaves; 4.5, 4.6 and 5.5 octave sizes are also available.
4 octave: C3 to C7.
4.3 octave: A2 to C7. The 3 refers to three notes below the 4 octave instrument. This is the most common range.
4.5 octave: F2 to C7. The .5 means "half";
4.6 octave: E2 to C7, one note below the 4.5. Useful for playing guitar literature and transcriptions.
5 octave: C2 to C7, one full octave below the 4 octave instrument, useful for playing cello trascriptions e.g. Bach
Bạch
Bạch is a Vietnamese surname. The name is transliterated as Bai in Chinese and Baek, in Korean.Bach is the anglicized variation of the surname Bạch.-Notable people with the surname Bạch:* Bạch Liêu...

's cello suites.


The range of the marimba has been gradually expanding, with companies like Marimba One adding notes up to F above the normal high C (C7) on their 5.5 octave instrument, or marimba tuners adding notes lower than the low C on the 5 octave C2.
Adding lower notes is somewhat impractical; as the bars become bigger and the resonators become longer, the instrument must be taller and the mallets must be heavier in order to produce a tone rather than just a percussive attack. Adding higher notes is also impractical because the hardness of the mallets required to produce the characteristic tone of a marimba are much too hard to play with in almost any other, lower range on the instrument.

The marimba is a non-transposing instrument with no octave displacement, unlike the xylophone
Xylophone
The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets...

 which sounds one octave higher than written and the glockenspiel
Glockenspiel
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

 which sounds two octaves higher than written.

Resonators

Dhanuk Fernando
Part of the key to the marimba's rich sound is its resonator
Resonator
A resonator is a device or system that exhibits resonance or resonant behavior, that is, it naturally oscillates at some frequencies, called its resonant frequencies, with greater amplitude than at others. The oscillations in a resonator can be either electromagnetic or mechanical...

s. These are metal tubes (usually aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

) that hang below each bar. The length varies according to the frequency that the bar produces. Vibrations from the bars resonate as they pass through the tubes, which amplify the tone in a manner very similar to the way in which the body of a guitar or cello would. In instruments exceeding 4½ octaves, the length of tubing required for the bass notes exceeds the height of the instrument. Some manufacturers, such as DeMorrow and Malletech
Malletech
Malletech LLC is a manufacturer of mallet percussion instruments and mallets formed in 1982 by Marimba Productions, Inc. The company sells its own line of marimbas, xylophones, and glockenspiels...

, compensate for this by bending the ends of the tubes. This involves soldering smaller straight sections of tubes to form "curved" tubes. Both DeMorrow and Malletech use brass rather than aluminium. Others, such as Adams
Adams Musical Instruments
Adams Musical Instruments is a manufacturer of percussion instruments based in the Netherlands. The company was founded by amateur musician André Adams, who started repairing brass instruments in 1971...

 and Yamaha
Yamaha (manufacturer)
is a multinational corporation and conglomerate based in Japan with a wide range of products and services, predominantly musical instruments, electronics, motorcycles and power sports equipment.-History:...

, expand the tubes into large box-shaped bottoms, resulting in the necessary amount of resonating space without having to extend the tubes. This result is achieved by the custom manufacturer Marimba One by widening the resonators into an oval shape, with the lowest ones reaching nearly a foot in width, and doubling the tube up inside the lowest resonators.

Resonator tuning involves adjusting "stops" in the tubes themselves to compensate for temperature and humidity conditions in the room where the instrument is stored. Some companies offer adjustment in the upper octaves only. Others do not have any adjustable stops. Still some companies (Malletech and DeMorrow) offer full range adjustable stops.

On many marimbas, decorative resonators are added to fill the gaps in the accidental resonator bank. In addition to this, the resonator lengths are sometimes altered to form a decorative arch, such as in the Musser M-250. This does not affect the resonant properties, because the end plugs in the resonators are still placed at their respective lengths.

Mallets

The mallet shaft is commonly made of wood, usually birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

, but may also be rattan
Rattan
Rattan is the name for the roughly 600 species of palms in the tribe Calameae, native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia.- Structure :...

 or fiberglass
Fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

. The most common diameter of the shaft is around 5/16". Shafts made of rattan have a certain elasticity to them, while birch has almost no give. Professionals use both depending on their preferences, whether they are playing with two mallets or more, and which grip they use if they are using a four-mallet grip.

Appropriate mallets for the instrument depend on the range. The material at the end of the shaft is almost always a type of rubber, usually wrapped with yarn. Softer mallets are used at the lowest notes, and harder mallets are used at the highest notes. Mallets that are too hard will damage the instrument, and mallets that might be appropriate for the upper range could damage the notes in the lower range (especially on a padouk or rosewood
Rosewood
Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining, but found in many different hues. All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for guitars, marimbas, turnery , handles, furniture, luxury flooring, etc.In general,...

 instrument). On the lower notes, the bars are larger, and require a heavier mallet to bring out a strong fundamental. Because of the need to use different hardnesses of mallets, some players, when playing with four or more mallets, might use graduated mallets to match the bars that they are playing (softer on the left, harder on the right).

Some mallets, called "two-toned" or "multi-tonal", have a hard core, loosely wrapped with yarn. These are designed to sound articulate when playing at a loud dynamic, and broader at the quieter dynamics.

Mallet technique

Modern marimba music calls for simultaneous use of between two and four mallets (sometimes up to six), granting the performer the ability to play chords or music with large interval skips more easily. Multiple mallets are held in the same hand using any of a number of techniques or grips. For two mallets in each hand, the most common grips are the Burton grip
Burton grip
The Burton grip is a method of holding two mallets in each hand in order to play a mallet percussion instrument, such as a marimba or a vibraphone, using four mallets at once...

 (made popular by Gary Burton
Gary Burton
Gary Burton is an American jazz vibraphonist.A true original on the vibraphone, Burton developed a pianistic style of four-mallet technique as an alternative to the usual two-mallets. This approach caused Burton to be heralded as an innovator and his sound and technique are widely imitated...

), the Traditional Grip (or "cross grip") and the Musser-Stevens grip
Stevens technique
The Stevens technique is a method of playing keyboard percussion instruments with four mallets – two in each hand. It was developed by marimba player Leigh Howard Stevens during his studies at the Eastman School of Music in the 1970s, and codified in his 1979 book Method of Movement for...

 (made popular by Leigh Howard Stevens
Leigh Howard Stevens
Leigh Howard Stevens is a marimba artist best known for developing, codifying, and promoting the Stevens technique or Musser-Stevens grip, a method of independent four-mallet marimba performance based on the Musser grip...

). Each grip is perceived to have its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, some marimbists feel the Musser-Stevens grip is more suitable for quick interval changes, while the Burton grip
Burton grip
The Burton grip is a method of holding two mallets in each hand in order to play a mallet percussion instrument, such as a marimba or a vibraphone, using four mallets at once...

 is more suitable for stronger playing or switching between chords and single-note melody lines. The Traditional Grip gives a greater dynamic range and freedom of playing. The choice of grip varies by region (the Musser-Stevens grip and the Burton grip are more popular in the United States, while the traditional grip is more popular in Japan), by instrument (the Burton grip is less likely to be used on marimba than on a vibraphone
Vibraphone
The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family....

) and by the preference of the individual performer.

The six-mallet grip is generally a combination of these three grips. Six mallet marimba grip has been used for years by Mexican and Central American marimbists. Keiko Abe
Keiko Abe
is a Japanese composer and marimba player. She has been a primary figure in the development of the marimba, in terms of expanding both technique and repertoire, and through her collaboration with the Yamaha musical instrument company, developed the modern five-octave concert marimba.- Biography...

 has written a number of compositions for six mallets, including a section in her concerto Prism Rhapsody. Other marimbists/composers using this technique include Dean Gronemeier, Robert Paterson
Robert Paterson (composer)
Robert Paterson is an American composer, percussionist and conductor.-Biography:Paterson studied composition with Christopher Rouse, Samuel Adler, Joseph Schwantner, Warren Benson and David Liptak at the Eastman School of Music, graduating in 1995. At Eastman, he was a double major and studied...

 and Kai Stensgaard.

The traditional instrument

In the most traditional versions, various sizes of natural gourd
Gourd
A gourd is a plant of the family Cucurbitaceae. Gourd is occasionally used to describe crops like cucumbers, squash, luffas, and melons. The term 'gourd' however, can more specifically, refer to the plants of the two Cucurbitaceae genera Lagenaria and Cucurbita or also to their hollow dried out shell...

s are attached below the keys to act as resonators; in more sophisticated versions carved wooden resonators are substituted, allowing for more precise tuning of pitch. In Central America, a hole is often carved into the bottom of each resonator and then covered with thin sheep skin to add a characteristic "buzzing" or "rattling" sound known as charleo. In more contemporary-style marimbas, wood is replaced by PVC
Polyvinyl chloride
Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated PVC, is a thermoplastic polymer. It is a vinyl polymer constructed of repeating vinyl groups having one hydrogen replaced by chloride. Polyvinyl chloride is the third most widely produced plastic, after polyethylene and polypropylene. PVC is widely used in...

 tubing. The holes in the bottoms of the tubes are covered with a thin layer of paper to produce the buzzing noise.

Traditional marimba bands are especially popular in Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 where they are the national symbol of culture, but are also strongly established in southern Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 and Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

, as well as among Afro-Ecuadorians and Afro-Colombian
Afro-Colombian
Afro Colombians refers to Colombians of African ancestry, and the great impact they have had on Colombian culture. Notable Afro-Colombians include Colombian scientists like Raul Cuero, writers like Manuel Zapata Olivella and politicians:...

s.

Classical works with the marimba

  • Bruce Adolphe
    Bruce Adolphe
    Bruce Adolphe is a U.S. composer and music scholar, the author of several books on music, and pianist. His current positions include Resident Lecturer and Director of Family Concerts of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and founder and creative director of The Learning Maestros,...

    : "Self Comes to Mind" (2009), "Red Dogs and Pink Skies" (2002), "Reach Out, Raise Hope, Change Society" (2011)
  • Elvis Presley
    Elvis Presley
    Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

    ;Sway
  • Paul Creston
    Paul Creston
    Paul Creston was an Italian American composer of classical music.Born in New York City to Sicilian immigrants, Creston was self‐taught as a composer. He was an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, initiated into the national honorary Alpha Alpha chapter...

    : Concertino for Marimba (1940)
  • John Harbison
    John Harbison
    John Harris Harbison is an American composer, best known for his operas and large choral works.-Life:...

    : Concerto for Bass Viol (2005)
  • Andersen Viana: Grlashodibzntmev for Vibraphone and Marimba (2006)
  • Hans Werner Henze
    Hans Werner Henze
    Hans Werner Henze is a German composer of prodigious output best known for "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life"...

    : Five Scenes from the Snow Country
    Five Scenes from the Snow Country
    Five Scenes from the Snow Country is a composition by Hans Werner Henze for marimba solo. The work was written in 1978 for Japanese percussionist Michiko Takahashi...

     for Marimba solo (1978)
  • Linda Maxey
    Linda Maxey
    thumb|right|Linda Maxey, concert marimbistLinda Maxey is a celebrated concert marimbist virtuoso and was the first marimbist on the prestigious roster of Columbia Artists Management in New York.- Artistry :...

    : The Artistry of the Marimba (1994)
  • Olivier Messiaen
    Olivier Messiaen
    Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex ; harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations...

    : La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
    La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ
    La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ is a work written between 1965 and 1969 by Olivier Messiaen. It is based on the Jesus transfiguring on a mountain according to the report of the Synoptic Gospels. The writing is on a very large scale; the work requires around 200 performers...

     ("The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ"), large 10-part chorus
    Choir
    A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

    , piano
    Piano
    The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

     solo, cello
    Cello
    The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

     solo, flute
    Flute
    The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

     solo, clarinet
    Clarinet
    The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

     solo, xylorimba
    Xylorimba
    The xylorimba is a pitched percussion instrument corresponding to a xylophone with an extended range ....

     solo, vibraphone
    Vibraphone
    The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family....

     solo, large orchestra (1965–69)
  • Olivier Messiaen
    Olivier Messiaen
    Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex ; harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations...

    : Saint-François d'Assise
    Saint-François d'Assise
    Saint François d'Assise is an opera in three acts and eight scenes by French composer and librettist Olivier Messiaen, written from 1975 to 1983. It concerns Saint Francis of Assisi, the title character, and displays the composer's devout Catholicism...

     (Saint Francis of Assisi, opera)
  • Darius Milhaud
    Darius Milhaud
    Darius Milhaud was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of Les Six—also known as The Group of Six—and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. His compositions are influenced by jazz and make use of polytonality...

    : Concerto for Marimba, Vibraphone and Orchestra, Op. 278 (1947)
  • Luigi Morleo
    Luigi Morleo
    Luigi Morleo is an Italian percussionist and composer of contemporary music, who lives in Bari and teaches in Bari Conservatory of Music - Niccolò Piccinni....

    : Concerto per Marimba e Archi (1993)
  • Thea Musgrave
    Thea Musgrave
    Thea Musgrave CBE is a Scottish composer of opera and classical music.-Biography:Born in Barnton, Edinburgh, Thea Musgrave studied at the University of Edinburgh and in Paris as a pupil of Nadia Boulanger...

    : Journey through a Japanese Landscape (1994)
  • Andrea Poggiali: Volution (2008)
  • Carlos Rafael Rivera: Popol-Vuh (Four Mayan Scenes for Orchestra), small orchestra (2005)
  • Steve Reich
    Steve Reich
    Stephen Michael "Steve" Reich is an American composer who together with La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass is a pioneering composer of minimal music...

    : Music for 18 Musicians
    Music for 18 Musicians
    Music for 18 Musicians is a work of musical minimalism composed by Steve Reich during 1974-1976. Its world premiere was on April 24, 1976 at Town Hall, New York. Following this, a recording of the piece was released by ECM New Series...

     (1976), Six Marimbas (1986), Nagoya Marimbas (for two marimbas) (1994)
  • Anders Koppel
    Anders Koppel
    Anders Koppel was a co-founder in 1967 of the rock group Savage Rose. Since 1976, he has been a member of the trio Bazaar. He also plays in the trio Koppel-Andersen-Koppel which includes his son, saxophone player Benjamin Koppel...

    : Marimba Concertos 1-4 (1995-2005), Tarantella' (for violin and marimba) (2001), Toccata (for marimba and vibraphone) (1990)
  • Ney Rosauro
    Ney Rosauro
    Ney Rosauro is a Brazilian composer and percussionist.His compositions include solos for marimba, vibraphone and multi-percussion setups, as well as music for percussion ensembles and orchestras...

    : Concerto For Marimba and Orchestra (1986), Concerto No. 2 for Marimba and Orchestra (2001), numerous solo works
  • Joseph Schwantner
    Joseph Schwantner
    Joseph C. Schwantner is a Pulitzer Prize winning American composer and educator and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the 1970 Charles Ives Prize....

    : Velocities (1990)
  • Paul Smadbeck: Rhythm Song (1984)
  • William Susman
    William Susman
    William Joseph Susman, born August 29, 1960 in Chicago, is an American composer of concert and film music as well as an accomplished pianist. He belongs to the generation of American composers that came of age in the late twentieth century, received traditional academic training while remaining...

    : Amores Montuños (2008) for flute & marimba, Marimba Montuño (2002) for solo marimba
  • William Susman
    William Susman
    William Joseph Susman, born August 29, 1960 in Chicago, is an American composer of concert and film music as well as an accomplished pianist. He belongs to the generation of American composers that came of age in the late twentieth century, received traditional academic training while remaining...

    : Three Different Keyboards (2001) for accordion, marimba & piano, Exposé (1989) for two marimbas, two violins & piano
  • Josef Tal: Chamber Music (1982) for Recorder, Marimba and Harpsichord
  • Noah D. Taylor: Concerto No. 1, for Marimba and Orchestra (2003)
  • Augusta Read Thomas
    Augusta Read Thomas
    Augusta Read Thomas is an American composer.Augusta Read Thomas was born in Glen Cove, New York. She attended The Green Vale School and later moved on to St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and then studied composition with Jacob Druckman at Yale University and at the Royal Academy of...

    : Silhouettes (2004)
  • Aisha Duo
    Aisha Duo
    Aisha Duo is the name of a jazz musical duo. The members are Andrea Dulbecco and Luca Gusella , Italian musicians who began working together after being in the same percussion class at the Conservatory of Milan....

    : Quiet Songs (2005)
  • Safri Duo
    Safri Duo
    Safri Duo is a Danish percussion duo composed of Uffe Savery and Morten Friis . Initially classically oriented, by 1999 they were discovered by a label executive working on classical music. After being signed, a track mixing both tribal sound and modern electronica was set to be released in 2000...

    : Baya Baya

The marimba in other music

There have been numerous jazz vibraphonists
Vibraphone
The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family....

 who also played the marimba. Notable among them are Gary Burton
Gary Burton
Gary Burton is an American jazz vibraphonist.A true original on the vibraphone, Burton developed a pianistic style of four-mallet technique as an alternative to the usual two-mallets. This approach caused Burton to be heralded as an innovator and his sound and technique are widely imitated...

, David Friedman
David Friedman (percussionist)
David Friedman is an American jazz percussionist. His primary instruments are vibraphone and marimba.Friedman studied drums in the 1950s, then marimba and xylophone in the 1960s at Juilliard...

, Stefon Harris
Stefon Harris
Stefon Harris is an American jazz vibraphonist. In 1999, the Los Angeles Times called him "one of the most important young artists in jazz" who is "at the forefront of new New York music" and "much in demand as a star sideman"...

, Bobby Hutcherson
Bobby Hutcherson
Bobby Hutcherson is a jazz vibraphone and marimba player. His vibraphone playing is suggestive of the style of Milt Jackson in its free-flowing melodicism, but his sense of harmony and group interaction is thoroughly modern...

, Joe Locke
Joe Locke
Joseph Paul Locke is a US American jazz vibraphonist, composer, recording artist and educator.-Biography:Locke was born in Palo Alto, California, but raised in Rochester, New York...

, Steve Nelson
Steve Nelson (vibraphonist)
Steve Nelson is an American vibraphonist, and has been a member of Dave Holland's Quintet and Big Band for over a decade. He graduated from Rutgers University with both Master's and Bachelor's degrees in music, and his teaching activities have included a position at Princeton University...

, Red Norvo
Red Norvo
Red Norvo was one of jazz's early vibraphonists, known as "Mr. Swing". He helped establish the xylophone, marimba and later the vibraphone as viable jazz instruments...

, Dave Pike
Dave Pike
David Samuel Pike is a jazz vibraphone player. He learned drums at the age of eight and is self-taught on vibes. He has also played marimba, particularly with Herbie Mann. Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, and Cal Tjader were early inspirations for him.Pike made his recording debut with the Paul Bley...

, Gloria Parker
Gloria Parker
Glorious Gloria Parker is an American entertainer and female icon during the big band or swing era, as an all girl bandleader. The Gloria Parker Show aired nightly from 1950 to 1957, coast to coast on WABC Radio and Parker entertained her audience playing the marimba, organ and the singing glasses...

, Dave Samuels
Dave Samuels
Dave Samuels is an American vibraphone player who has worked with various jazz and fusion artists, such as Spyro Gyra. Currently, he plays in an ensemble called The Caribbean Jazz Project, a Grammy-winning jazz-Latin music group...

 and Arthur Lipner.

Marimba was played famously by Brian Jones
Brian Jones
Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones , known as Brian Jones, was an English musician and a founding member of the Rolling Stones....

 in the Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

' songs "Under My Thumb
Under My Thumb
"Under My Thumb" is a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for The Rolling Stones. Its first appearance was as an album track on 1966's Aftermath...

" and "Out of Time." "Island Girl
Island Girl
"Island Girl" is a song performed by Elton John that went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and number 14 in the UK in 1975.In the U.S. it was certified Gold on 12/4/1975 and Platinum on 9/13/1995 by the R.I.A.A...

" by Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

 and "Moonlight Feels Right" by Starbuck
Starbuck (band)
Starbuck was a rock band formed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1974 by keyboardist/vocalist/record producer Bruce Blackman and marimba player Bo Wagner. Both Blackman and Wagner, along with guitarist Johnny Walker, had previous success with Mississippi-based "sunshine pop" group Eternity's Children,...

 also prominently feature the instrument. Ruth Underwood
Ruth Underwood
Ruth Underwood is a retired professional musician, best known for playing xylophone, marimba, vibraphone and other percussion instruments in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention from 1967 to 1977....

 played an electrically amplified marimba in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Art Tripp
Art Tripp
Arthur Dyer Tripp III is a chiropractor and former musician best known for his work as a percussionist with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band.-Early career:Tripp grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and started playing drums in...

 played the marimba on several of Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band's albums, most notably on Lick My Decals Off, Baby
Lick My Decals Off, Baby
-Personnel:* Captain Beefheart – vocals, bass clarinet, tenor sax, soprano sax, harmonica* Zoot Horn Rollo – guitar and glass finger guitar* Rockette Morton – "bassius-o-pheilius"...

 and The Spotlight Kid
The Spotlight Kid
The Spotlight Kid is the sixth album by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, originally released in 1972. It is the only album formally credited solely to Captain Beefheart. Often cited as one of the most accessible of Beefheart's albums, it is solidly founded in the blues but also uses...

. Victor Feldman
Victor Feldman
Victor Stanley Feldman was a British jazz musician, best known as a pianist.-Early history:...

 played the marimba on several of Steely Dan
Steely Dan
Steely Dan is an American rock band; its core members are Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The band's popularity peaked in the late 1970s, with the release of seven albums blending elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop...

's early albums. It is played at the start of "Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia (song)
"Mamma Mia" is a song from ABBA's 3rd album, ABBA, written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson, with the lead vocals shared by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The song "Mamma Mia" is a common song used in bands or orchestras...

" by ABBA
ABBA
ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1970 which consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog...

. Percussionist Evelyn Glennie
Evelyn Glennie
Dame Evelyn Elizabeth Ann Glennie, DBE is a Scottish virtuoso percussionist. She was the first full-time solo percussionist in 20th-century western society.-Early life:Glennie was born and raised in Aberdeenshire...

 has collaborated with Björk
Björk
Björk Guðmundsdóttir , known as Björk , is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Her eclectic musical style has achieved popular acknowledgement and popularity within many musical genres, such as rock, jazz, electronic dance music, classical and folk...

 and can be heard playing the marimba on Post and Telegram
Telegram (album)
Telegram is the first full-length remix album by Icelandic singer-songwriter/musician Björk. The album is a collection of remixes of several tracks from her album Post, which had all previously appeared as B-sides of the UK versions of the singles off Post, including the non-album track, "My...

, as well as "Oxygen". Jack White
Jack White (musician)
Jack White , often credited as Jack White III, is an American musician, songwriter, record producer and occasional actor...

 played marimba on "The Nurse", a song on The White Stripes
The White Stripes
The White Stripes was an American rock band, formed in 1997 in Detroit, Michigan. The group consisted of the songwriter Jack White and drummer Meg White . Jack and Meg White were previously married to each other, but are now divorced...

' album Get Behind Me Satan
Get Behind Me Satan
Get Behind Me Satan is the fifth album by American alternative rock band The White Stripes, released on June 7, 2005 on V2 Records. Though still basic in production style, the album marked a distinct change from its guitar-heavy 2003 predecessor, Elephant...

. In 2003, Marina Calzado Linage
Marina Calzado Linage
Marina Calzado Linage is an Argentina percussionist.Marina is a marimba performer, born in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.-Qualifications:...

 recorded an album bridging the gap between academic and popular music, Marimba de Buenos Aires, featuring music by Ástor Piazzolla
Ástor Piazzolla
Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla was an Argentine tango composer and bandoneón player. His oeuvre revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music...

. In 2009, Canadian musician Spencer Krug
Spencer Krug
Spencer Krug is a Canadian musician. He is currently the singer, songwriter and keyboardist for the indie rock bands Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown. He has also performed with other Canadian bands including Swan Lake, Frog Eyes, Fifths of Seven, and ska band the Two Tonne Bowlers, playing various...

, working under the moniker 'Moonface', released a 20 minute continuous piece called Dreamland EP: Marimba And Shit-Drums with Jagjaguwar
Jagjaguwar
Jagjaguwar is an indie rock record label based in Bloomington, Indiana.-History:In 1996, in Charlottesville, Virginia, friends of Darius Van Arman who performed in a band under the moniker The Curious Digit had just recorded a new album, but they were signed to no label...

. The recording consists entirely of marimba, drums and vocals and comprises many movements and recurring themes.

See also

  • List of marimba performers
  • List of marimba manufacturers
  • Keyboard percussion
  • Front ensemble
    Front ensemble
    In a marching band or drum corps, the front ensemble or pit is the stationary percussion ensemble. This ensemble is typically placed in front of the football field, though some groups will work the front ensemble into a tight pod onto the marching field...

  • Xylophone
    Xylophone
    The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets...

  • Glass Marimba
    Glass marimba
    The glass marimba is a type of idiophone also known as a vitrephone or crystallophone.Marimba translates to "a xylophone like instrument" from an African language, probably Bantu. The glass keys are made of either hard glass or soft glass...

  • Glockenspiel
    Glockenspiel
    A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

  • Vibraphone
    Vibraphone
    The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family....

  • Xylorimba
    Xylorimba
    The xylorimba is a pitched percussion instrument corresponding to a xylophone with an extended range ....

  • Marimbaphone
    Marimbaphone
    The marimbaphone is an obsolete tuned percussion instrument, developed by the Deagan company of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. in the early 20th century.The marimbaphone had shallow steel bars arranged chromatically with a tube resonator under each bar...

  • Crotales
    Crotales
    thumb|right|Crotales are often used with other mallet percussionCrotales , sometimes called antique cymbals, are percussion instruments consisting of small, tuned bronze or brass disks. Each is about 4 inches in diameter with a flat top surface and a nipple on the base. They are commonly...

  • Musical Stones of Skiddaw
    Musical Stones of Skiddaw
    The Musical Stones of Skiddaw is a lithophone made of a type of hornfels rock found in Cumbria, England. Constructed between 1827 and 1840, the instrument has entertained royalty; it is now housed at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery in Cumbria....


External links

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