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Encyclopedia > Marimba

The marimba (pronunciation ) is a musical instrument in the percussion family. Keys or bars (usually made of wood) are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys to aid the performer both visually and physically. Image File history File links Marimba. ... Image File history File links Br-Marimba. ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound by being hit with an implement, shaken, rubbed, scraped, or by any other action which sets the object into vibration. ...

Contents

The Modern Concert Instrument

Bars (Keys)

Marimba bars, like xylophone bars, are usually made of rosewood, but bars can also be made of padouk or various synthetic materials. Rosewood bars are preferred for concert playing, but synthetic bars are preferred for marching band use because they are more durable. The bars are wider and longer at the lowest pitched notes, and gradually get thinner and shorter as the notes get higher. During the tuning process, wood is taken from the middle underside of the bar to lower the pitch. Because of this, the bars are also thinner near the bottom and thicker near the top. Rosewood refers to a number of richly hued timbers, brownish with darker veining. ... Species Including: Pterocarpus dalbergioides (Andaman Padouk) Pterocarpus indicus (Narra) Pterocarpusangolensis (Muninga) Pterocarpus macrocarpus (Burmese rosewood) Pterocarpus soyauxii (African Padouk) Pterocarpus satalinus (Red Sandelwood) Padauk (or padouk) is an Indonesian collective name for a group of fragrant timbers and trees from the genus Pterocarpus, found in the tropics of Southeast Asia...


Range

The concert marimba is a non-transposing instrument with no octave displacement. Other keyboard instruments are pitched one or two octaves higher than written. There is no standard range of the marimba, but the most common ranges are 4 octaves, 4.3 octaves, and 5 octaves, although 4.5 and 5.5 octave sizes are also available. 4 octave: C4 (middle C) to C8. 4.3 octave: A3 to C8, the 3 refers to three notes below the 4 octave instrument. This is probably the most common range. 4.5 octave: F3 to C8, the 5 refers to "half" and goes down a fifth below the 4 octave instrument. 4.6 octave: E3 to C8, one note below the 4.5, useful for playing guitar literature. 5 octave: C3 to C8, one full octave below the 4 octave instrument. The range of the marimba has been gradually expanding, with companies like Marimba One adding notes up to F above the normal high C (C8) on their 5.5 octave instrument, or marimba tuners adding notes lower than the low C on the 5 octave C3. Adding lower notes is somewhat impractical because the bar become thinner (more fragile), the resonators become longer or larger, and the sixth overtone becomes more present than the fundamental tone. In music, an octave (sometimes abbreviated 8ve or P8) is the interval between one musical note and another with half or double its frequency. ... C4 or C-4 may refer to: C-4 (explosive), a type of plastic explosive In biology: C4 carbon fixation, a pathway for carbon fixation in photosynthesis Fourth cervical vertebra or C4 spinal nerve, in human anatomy Complement component 4 In vehicles: USS C-4 (SS-15), a United States... In Western music, the expression middle C refers to the note C or Do located exactly between the two staves of the grand staff, quoted as C4 in note-octave notation (also known as scientific pitch notation). ... C8 or C-8 may refer to: The Diemaco C8, a rifle. ... A3 can refer to: A3, a paper size defined by ISO 216. ... C8 or C-8 may refer to: The Diemaco C8, a rifle. ... F3 is a hentai anime that centers around a young 17 years old girl named Hiroe who has difficulty obtaining orgasm. ... C8 or C-8 may refer to: The Diemaco C8, a rifle. ... E³ logo The Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E³, was an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association. ... C8 or C-8 may refer to: The Diemaco C8, a rifle. ... C3 or C-3 can refer to: C3 (complement), a component of the blood clotting control system C3 carbon fixation in plants C-3 Martin, a U.S. military transport aircraft HMS C3, a British C class submarine USS C-3 (SS-14), a U.S. C class submarine USS... C8 or C-8 may refer to: The Diemaco C8, a rifle. ... C8 or C-8 may refer to: The Diemaco C8, a rifle. ... C3 or C-3 can refer to: C3 (complement), a component of the blood clotting control system C3 carbon fixation in plants C-3 Martin, a U.S. military transport aircraft HMS C3, a British C class submarine USS C-3 (SS-14), a U.S. C class submarine USS...


Resonators

Part of the key to the marimba's rich sound is its resonators. These are metal tubes (usually aluminum) that hang below each bar, and 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 Malletech, compensate for this by bending the ends of the tubes. Others, such as Adams and Yamaha, expand the tubes into large box-shaped bottoms, resulting in the necessary amount of resonating space without having to extend the tubes. This is also achieved by custom manufacturer Marimba One by widening the resonators into an oval shape, with the lowest ones reaching nearly a foot in width. A resonator is a device or part that vibrates (or oscillates) with waves. ... Aluminum is a soft and lightweight metal with a dull silvery appearance, due to a thin layer of oxidation that forms quickly when it is exposed to air. ... Bass (IPA: [], rhyming with face), when used as an adjective, describes tones of low frequency or range. ... Adams Musical Instruments is a manufacturer of percussion instruments based in the Netherlands. ... The Yamaha Corporation (ヤマハ株式会社; TYO: 7951 ) is a Japanese company with a large number of product areas. ... Marimba One is a manufacturer of handmade marimbas based in Arcata, California. ...


Application

Modern marimba uses include solo performances, percussion ensembles, marimba concertos, jazz ensembles, marching band (front ensembles), Drum and bugle corps, and wind ensemble or orchestra compositions. Contemporary composers have utilized the unique sound of the marimba more and more in recent years, and it is common to find them in most new music for wind ensemble, although less so for orchestra.


Mallets

The mallet shaft is commonly made of wood, usually birch, but may also be rattan or fiberglass. The most common diameter of the shaft is around 5/8". 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 instrument). Also, on the lower notes, the bars are larger, and require more weight 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, will use graduated mallets to match the bars that they are playing (softer on the left, harder on the right). Species Including: Pterocarpus dalbergioides (Andaman Padouk) Pterocarpus indicus (Narra) Pterocarpusangolensis (Muninga) Pterocarpus macrocarpus (Burmese rosewood) Pterocarpus soyauxii (African Padouk) Pterocarpus satalinus (Red Sandelwood) Padauk (or padouk) is an Indonesian collective name for a group of fragrant timbers and trees from the genus Pterocarpus, found in the tropics of Southeast Asia... Rosewood refers to a number of richly hued timbers, brownish with darker veining. ...


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 use of two mallets in each hand, the most common grips are the Burton grip (made popular by Gary Burton), the traditional grip (or "cross grip") and the Musser-Stevens grip (made popular by Leigh Howard Stevens). Each grip is perceived to have its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, the Musser-Stevens grip is more suitable for quick interval changes, while the Burton grip is more suitable for stronger playing or switching between chords and single-note melody lines. 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) and by the preference of the individual performer. Six mallets grip is normally based on the Stevens Grip. Kai Stengaard has written several pieces for this grip and it is becoming more and more normal to play with six mallets. 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 4 mallets at once. ... Gary Burton (born on 23 January 1943 in Anderson, Indiana) is a jazz vibraphone player, known for developing the then-innovative technique of playing the instrument with four mallets, rather than the usual two. ... Stevens technique is a method of playing keyboard percussion instruments with four mallets â€“ two in each hand. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... 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 4 mallets at once. ... A typical Ludwig-Musser vibraphone. ...


The Traditional Instrument

The term marimba is also applied to various traditional folk instruments, the precursors of which may have developed independently in West Africa (the balafon) and in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The tradition of the gourd-resonated and equal-ratio heptatonic-tuned Timbila of Mozambique is particularly well-developed, and is typically played in large ensembles in coordination with a choreographed dancing performance, such as those depicting a historical dramatization. Traditional marimba bands are especially popular in Guatemala, where they are the national symbol of culture, but are also found in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and parts of the highlands of southern Mexico, as well as among Afro-Ecuadorians; gyil duets are the traditional music of Dagara funerals in Ghana.  Western Africa (UN subregion)  Maghreb[1] West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. ... The balafon is a pentatonic or heptatonic resonated frame xylophone of West Africa. ... The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the Americas continent. ... Location of Mesoamerica in the Americas. ... Mozambique is a former Portuguese colony, and its native folk musics have been highly influenced by Portuguese forms. ... The Afro-Ecuadorian culture is found in the northwest coastal region of Ecuador. ... The gyil is a pentatonic percussion instrument, common to Ghana, Burkina Faso and Côte dIvoire. ... The Dagara are an African ethnic group. ...

Folk marimba with gourds, Highland Guatemala

Traditional Highland Guatemalan Marimba with resonating gourds I took this photograph in Chichicastenango, Guatemala in 1980 and hereby release it to Wikipedia and the public domain. ... Traditional Highland Guatemalan Marimba with resonating gourds I took this photograph in Chichicastenango, Guatemala in 1980 and hereby release it to Wikipedia and the public domain. ...

Resonators

In the most traditional versions, various sizes of natural gourds 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 sheep skin to add a characteristic "buzzing" or "rattling" sound known as charleo. Chenowith, Vida. The Marimbas of Guatemala. , quoted in Squyres, Danielle. "The Marimba, Xylophone and Orchestra Bells", Mechanical Music Digest Archives, 2002-01-02. Retrieved on 2006-12-06.  This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... December 6 is the 340th day of the year (341st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


In more contemporary style marimbas wood is replaced by PVC tubing. The holes in the bottoms of the tubes are covered with a thin layer of paper to produce the buzzing noise. Polyvinyl chloride Polyvinyl chloride, (IUPAC Polychloroethene) commonly abbreviated PVC, is a widely used thermoplastic polymer. ...


Zimbabwean

According to Professor Andrew Tracey, marimbas were only introduced to Zimbabwe in 1960 [1].


Zimbabwean marimba based upon Shona music has also become popular in the West, which adopted the original use of these instruments to play transcriptions of mbira dzavadzimu (as well as nyunga nyunga and matepe) music. The first of these transcriptions had originally been used for music education in Zimbabwe. These Zimbabwean-style instruments are often made with a single row of keys (without the chromatic "black" notes on a second row) along a C major scale, which allows them to be played with a 'western-tuned' mbira (G nyamaropa). Frequently instruments are fashioned with the addition of an F# key placed inline between the F and G keys, which allows the playing of songs in G major, although the correspondence between mbira tunings and western keys is a much more complex issue. Other variations in tuning exist, and some musicians prefer the omission of the F# key. Shona music is the music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. ... Mbira Dzavadzimu in deze (top), Mbira Nyunga Nyunga (bottom), Hosho (bottom left). ...


In the United States, there are Zimbabwean marimba bands in particularly high concentration in Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, and New Mexico, but bands exist from the East Coast through California and even to Hawaii and Alaska. The main event for this community is ZimFest, the annual Zimbabwean Music Festival. The bands are composed of instruments from high sopranos, through to lower soprano, tenor, baritone, and bass. Resonators are usually made with holes covered by thin cellophane (similar to the balafon) to achieve the characteristic buzzing sound. As of 2006, the repertoires of United-States bands tends to have a great overlap, due to the common source of the Zimbabwean musician Dumisani Maraire, who was one of the few key people who first brought Zimbawean music to the West, coming to the University of Washington in 1968. The balafon is a pentatonic or heptatonic resonated frame xylophone of West Africa. ... Dumisani Maraire (1944-1999), known to friends as Dumi, was a master performer of the mbira, a traditional instrument of the Shona ethnic group of Zimbabwe. ...


Zambia

The Marimba or Shilimba or Shinjimba as the Nkoya People of Western Zambia call it are believed to be the introducers of the Shilimba or "marimba" instrument in Southern Africa. The Nkoya people use the Shilimba at their Traditional Royal Ceremonies like the famous Kazanga Nkoya Cultural Ceremony held annually between June and July in there homeland in Kaoma District, Western Zambia under Mwene (King) Mutondo and his equal counterpart Mwene (King) Kahare of the Nkoya Royal Establishment (NRE) part of the Nkoya ancient State which was started around 1700AD. The silimba is a xylophone-like instrument of the the southern African nation of Zambia. ...


The Shilimba is now used in most parts of Zambia although roots of the instruments come back to Western Zambia among Nkoya people.

PVC resonators
PVC resonators

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2272x1704, 1482 KB) Summary Jordan McKittrick Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2272x1704, 1482 KB) Summary Jordan McKittrick Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ...

Bibliography

  • Helmut Brenner: Marimbas in Lateinamerika. Historische Fakten und Status quo der Marimbatraditionen in Mexiko, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Kolumbien, Ecuador und Brasilien (=Studien und Materialien zur Musikwissenschaft 43), Hildesheim–Zürich–New York: Georg Olms Verlag, 2007.
  • Robert Garfias: 'The Marimba of Central America and Mexico' Latin American Music Review. Vol. 4 No. 2 (1983) 203-227. [pdf file]

Classical works with the Marimba

  • Paul Smadbeck: Rhythm Song (1984)

John Harris Harbison (born December 20, 1938 in Orange, New Jersey) is a composer, best known for his operas and large choral works. ... Olivier Messiaen Olivier Messiaen (IPA: ; December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992) was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist. ... Chorus may refer to: // choir, a vocal ensemble Greek chorus refrain or chorus of a song, pre-chorus may refer to bridge (music) strophic form or chorus form, in music arrangement chorus effect, the perception of similar sounds from multiple sources as a single, richer sound; signal processors design to... A short grand piano, with the top up. ... The violoncello, usually abbreviated to cello, or cello (the c is pronounced as in the ch of check), is a bowed stringed instrument, a member of the violin family. ... The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. ... Two soprano clarinets: a B♭ clarinet (left, with capped mouthpiece) and an A clarinet (right, with no mouthpiece). ... The xylorimba (sometimes known as the xylo-marimba or marimba-xylophone) is a pitched percussion musical instrument which is not a combination of the xylophone and the marimba but a xylophone with an extended range. ... A typical Ludwig-Musser vibraphone. ... Olivier Messiaen Olivier Messiaen (IPA: ; December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992) was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist. ... Saint François dAssise is a French opera in three acts and eight scenes by composer and librettist Olivier Messiaen, written from 1975 to 1983. ... Biography Los Angeles based musician Carlos Rafael Rivera was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and Miami. ...

See also

Particularly notable performers on the marimba include: Austin Billings Ryan Maule Keiko Abe Francois Du Bois Kate Adam Ludwig Albert Nick Angelis Thomas Alexander (UK) Binnsmead Marimba Kevin Bobo David Bowie Born on Tuesday Michael Burritt Pedro Carneiro Anne-Julie Caron Krista Carruthers Vida Chenoweth Musekiwa Chingodza Chin Cheng Lin... The following companies manufacture marimbas. ... The following instruments are collectively known as tuned percussion or keyboard percussion, or sometimes, mallet percussion. ... In a marching band or drum corps, the front ensemble or pit is the stationary percussion ensemble typically placed in front of the football field. ... Kulintang a Kayo, a Philippine xylophone The xylophone (from the Greek meaning wooden sound) is a musical instrument in the percussion family which probably originated in Indonesia. ... The glass marimba is a crystallophone that is similar to the marimba, but has bars of glass instead of wood. ... Most orchestral glockenspiels are mounted in a case. ... A typical Ludwig-Musser vibraphone. ... The xylorimba (sometimes known as the xylo-marimba or marimba-xylophone) is a pitched percussion musical instrument which is not a combination of the xylophone and the marimba but a xylophone with an extended range. ... Crotales (upper right) are often used with other mallet percussion Crotales, sometimes called antique cymbals, are percussion instruments consisting of small, tuned bronze or brass disks. ... VAN GOGH BY NUMBERS (album): Joe Locke & Christos Rafalides: Vibes / Marimba Duo Album Information Van Gogh by Numbers (Joe Locke & Christos Rafalides, Vibes / Marimba Duo, recorded August 2005) 1. ... A history of the Musical Stones of Skiddaw. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Marimba - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1377 words)
The bars of the marimba are wider and thinner than those of the xylophone, especially at the center; this change in shape causes the bars to respond a different set of overtones found in the overtone series, giving the instrument a richer tone.
Traditional marimba bands are especially popular in Guatemala, where they are the national symbol of culture, but are also found in Costa Rica and parts of the highlands of southern Mexico, as well as among Afro-Ecuadorians; gyil duets are the traditional music of Dagara funerals in Ghana.
The Marimba or Shilimba or Shinjimba as the Nkoya People of Western Zambia call it are believed to be the introducers of the Shilimba or "marimba" instrument in Southern Africa.
The Marimba (794 words)
These traditional marimbas are still made in rural villages, mainly in Guatemala and Mexico, and are usually played either by attaching the instrument to a frame with wooden legs or by hanging it from the player’s waist.
The marimba is the national instrument in Guatemala where it is used in religious ceremonies, as well as in social or community events.
The keys of the modern marimba are usually constructed of rosewood, and the resonators of brass or aluminum.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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