Advanced marimba techniques: An analysis with musical approaches to performance problems in "West Side Suite", music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, adapted and arranged for unaccompanied marimba by John Serry.
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis document presents a systematic study of advanced marimba techniques. Although the focus is technically based, special consideration has been taken to present the various topics in a musical setting. This methodology provides the student with a school of marimba playing that deals with the technical and musical aspects of marimba performance simultaneously. Each chapter focuses on a specific technique. A detailed explanation of the technique is given followed by exercises that aid in developing the psycho-motor controls to master the technique. The technique is then applied to musical excerpts which immediately provide the interaction of technical and musical elements. The chapter topics include: mallet permutations; the one-handed, two-mallet roll; octave playing; interval changes; peripheral accuracy; ostinato patterns; polyrhythmic playing; and chorale style playing. The musical excerpts in the body of the paper are taken from John Serry's West Side Suite, an unaccompanied marimba arrangement of music from Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story.