What is marimba?
The marimba is a keyboard percussion instrument made up of wooden bars struck with mallets to produce beautiful, warm tones, amplified by the tube-shaped resonators below. The bars, or keys, are arranged the same as a piano, enabling modern musical styles to translate perfectly to this ancient instrument. The marimba is an idiophone, similar to the more famous xylophone, but with more resonance, a warmer timbre, and a wider, lower range (like how the cello is lower than the violin).
The marimba has roots in instruments native to both Africa and South/Central America. It is the national instrument of Guatemala.
Despite its relatively recent emergence in our Western society, the marimba has found its niche across many different musical styles and genres, and its repertoire has been rapidly growing over the course of the past century. Today it is used in countless musical settings, including solo performances, wind ensemble, orchestras, jazz ensembles, marching bands, drum and bugle corps, and even popular and commercial music.
Drawn by its beautiful tone and sonic possibilities, a rapidly increasing number of innovative musicians around the world make the marimba their instrument of choice. They are constantly developing new repertoire and techniques for the instrument, and there are a growing number of music schools and conservatories around the world that offer degrees dedicated to the study of the marimba. With such rapid development, it is a very exciting instrument, indeed!
Additional information can be found in the following articles: