Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Anno Draconis, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Who's got one?

    I'd love to write marimba parts in more of my band pieces, but obviously they're big, expensive beasts. So how many bands have one, or access to one for rehearsals on a regular basis? Anyone know? I think there's a marimba part in Extreme Makeover, but I'm not sure what else.

    For those who thought a marimba was a cocktail, see here for the full SP ;)
  2. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Lots of Wilby type test pieces have them in (Lowry Sketchbook immediately springs to mind).....but even then, decent ones don't often crop up in Bandrooms - they're hired in.

    There was, I believe, an increase in uptake when Bands started to get lottery grants for lots of cash.

    Edit: If you've not already, have a chat to Gavin....there's a bell ringing in my head about ranges and the relative costs of the instruments (5 octave vs 4 and a bit maybe?)
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  3. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    We got a decent 2nd hand one in, the cost is actually a heck of a lot cheaper than a set of vibes which most championship section bands seem to have.

    As for pieces, I can only think of Extreme Makeover, Lowry Sketchbook...doesn't Dresden Figures arr Snell use a marimba? We also use it in Riverdance and Children of Sanchez.
  4. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    It's the same as all these things I think - it really depends on what you get.....and, if the budget's limited, it makes more sense to get the vibes as there are far more pieces written with vibe parts than marimba....mind with the number of badly serviced vibraphones I come across I'm thinking about including a hacksaw and a skip in the van....
  5. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I think you are right in assuming that not too many people have one. If you're writing a new piece of music which includes one, it might put bands off buying that piece if they know they have to spend umpteen thousand pounds on a new Marimba.

    My band recently spend a very long two days in a recording studio recording a sampler CD of new music for band. Most of the music required four or even five percussionists plus so much kit it took two transit vans to cart it around. Even so, some of the stranger percussion had to be sampled and dropped in at the editing stage.

    I wholeheartedly advocate total freedom for composers to write what they want, but as MD of a non-sponsored band, I know how hard it can be to get all the equipment together for a piece.
  6. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    We own one. Had it for years, don't know how/why/from where it came. It hardly ever gets used, mainly because it's not really portable. IOW, in the first place it's too big to go in anything smaller than a transit van, and secondly, although it could theoretically be dismantled, no-one has the confidence or knowledge to believe they could reassemble it. Also, it's starting to fall apart a bit now (presumably because it's old) so no-one wants to risk taking it apart in case it won't go back together at all ... I'm not even sure it's proper marimba; it has a very large range (can't remember for certain, but might be 5.5 octaves) - once we had a "pro" dep came in and told us it was technically described as a "xylo-marimba" - don't know how true that is.

    It's useful to have in the bandhall when we have a set testpiece (with all percusion provided on the day) with a xylo/marimba part, so that the shed-builders have something to practice on, but otherwise it's not much use because we can't take it on gigs very easily.
  7. yoda

    yoda Member

    Such a beautiful instrument in the hands of a skilled player. I love the way a the sound blends with muted brass, especially baritones and low horns.

    Shame that all the practical limitations as stated above hold :-(
  8. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    B&R have one, we added in Marimba parts to Leigh Baker's Bear Necesity's when we did BIC (06).

    Fabulous instrument. . .
  9. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Forgot Cry of the Celts.....
  10. The Marimba is a beautiful instrument. I was lucky enough to play Marimba at school and for my music exams. Can't think off hand of seeing it in any brass pieces apart from the ones already mentioned. They're just so big and extremely expensive that I'm surprised if bands own one that stays in their bandroom. I don't suggest dismantling them either... a xylophone is just as bad!
  11. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    Just a bit of a part.. ;)
    And just to be awkward, it needs one with an extra octave!
  12. DaveEb

    DaveEb Member

    I think while being a very effective instrument with a great sound it is destined to be one of those things a lot of bands (certainly lower section) won't have and don't see the point of rightly or wrongly.

    It isn't in that many parts the logistics of the instrument are a nightmare, and if like many you don't own your own bandroom, where do you store the thing!!, it allready takes shedbuilders long enough to sort there stuff out without them having to sort that out too.

    Another instrument to fall in this category is the Vibraphone how do u plug that in on a park job !!
  13. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    The marimba part at the start of Harmony Music is extremely effective.

    Unison Kinneil up in Scotland have one, but we find that it becomes a part of our percussion kit that is almost always lent/hired out to other bands up here, as nobody else seems to have one!
  14. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Many thanks for the responses, v. helpful! I totally agree with those who've said that it's a gorgeous instrument, with a unique sound, but I can understand why few bands (even in the top flight) own one.

    In view of the response I think maybe I'll hold the marimba part in reserve for when I'm commissioned to write the European testpiece......;)

    2048, maybe? :biggrin:

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