The Art of Marimba Articulation: A Guide for Composers, Conductors, and Percussionists on the Expressive Capabilities of the Marimba
Description: Articulation is an element of musical performance that affects the attack, sustain, and the decay of each sound. Musical articulation facilitates the degree of clarity between successive notes and it is one of the most important elements of musical expression. Many believe that the expressive capabilities of percussion instruments, when it comes to musical articulation, are limited. Because the characteristic attack for most percussion instruments is sharp and clear, followed by a quick decay, the common misconception is that percussionists have little or no control over articulation. While the ability of percussionists to affect the sustain and decay of a sound is by all accounts limited, the ability of percussionists to change the attack of a sound with different implements is virtually limitless. In addition, where percussion articulation is limited, there are many techniques that allow performers to match articulation with other instruments. Still, percussion articulation is often a topic of little concern to many musicians. The problem is not that this issue has been completely ignored, but rather that a vast number of contradictory and conflicting viewpoints still permeate pedagogical methods and literature. This is most certainly the case with the marimba, where a review of method books reveals a multitude of confusing statements about marimba articulation. It is clear that there is still widespread confusion about marimba articulation from composers, conductors, and most importantly percussionists themselves. This study attempts to advance percussion pedagogy in this area through a better understanding of the terminology of musical articulation, the acoustical principles of the marimba, and the techniques that affect sound production on this instrument. After a review of these three areas, this study examines 166 recordings, which look at the actual effect of specific techniques carried out on the marimba. Finally, the project offers a set of recommendations for composers, ...
Date: August 2018
Creator: Davis, Adam Benjamin
Partner: UNT Libraries