Intermediate Marimba Music

mymarkers

Senior Member
This isn't a drum question, but I know there are plenty of all-around percussionists on here, too. I recently bought a marimba (4.3 octave low A), and I'm looking for music to play on it. After browsing sites such as Sheet Music Plus, it seems almost everything out there is either for the beginner or an epic 10-minute Grade 6 recital piece. Is there anything in the middle? In college, I played some of the standards such as Rain Dance, Yellow After the Rain, Sea Refractions, and others such as Suite Mexicana, Mbira Song, and Rhythm Song. Any ideas? Of those, I think Rain Dance is the closest to what I'm looking for.

Or am I just going to have to write my own? I have a bunch of easy piano books that should adapt to intermediate marimba pretty easily. I'd just rather spend the time I have for music actually playing an instrument than arranging.
 

caddywumpus

Archnemesis of Larryace

That's a cool attempt, but as far as difficulty level on a scale of 1-10, I wouldn't categorize Mexican Dances by Stout as a level 7 piece, nor would I rate Polaris as just one level above Mexican Dances. Those two tunes are VASTLY different in difficulty. I do appreciate the objective reasoning and quantifying, but in the end, the "levels" of these pieces didn't really describe a sequential increasing of difficulty.

mymarkers: what kind of piece are you looking for? Something classical? Folky? A chorale or ballad? World music? Contemporary?
 

porter

Platinum Member
Indeed, and it's kind pointless to try ranking difficulty with that much specificity. I'm a fan of the simple three categories with intermediates between them.

Anyways, as far as intermediate pieces, check out Etude in C Major by Musser, the Rotations by Sammut ( II and IV especially ), the Preludes by Rosauro, and the Album for the Young by Tchaikovsky (arranged by Leigh Stevens). I've played something from all of them (save for Etude) and they're pretty great intermediate pieces in my opinion. Remember, you can usually make a hard piece easier by just slowing it down :)
 

bigd

Silver Member
I think the list Jeff posted was a start. I believe intermediate has a lot to do with where you are. Marimba is mostly played in schools. Intermediate level for a kid at say the state university of ____ is different from the intermediate level of a kid at a conservatory with a professional solo marimbist as the teacher.

Don't forget the Bach Cello Suites.

My own son has had a lovely time working on them his first semester at school.
 

mymarkers

Senior Member
Thanks everybody. Those are all good ideas. As for the style, I'm hoping for one of each. Classical has some interesting music and is a good all-around challenge to play. I also like the newer pieces written specifically for marimba. They really take advantage of the instrument and the technique. At any rate, thanks for the ideas. I only need a few good ones; I'm sure some of those will do.
 

porter

Platinum Member
Thanks everybody. Those are all good ideas. As for the style, I'm hoping for one of each. Classical has some interesting music and is a good all-around challenge to play. I also like the newer pieces written specifically for marimba. They really take advantage of the instrument and the technique. At any rate, thanks for the ideas. I only need a few good ones; I'm sure some of those will do.

If you're looking for classical, check out Mazurka out of the Tchaikovsky book I mentioned earlier. It's a wonderful little ditty. This guy plays it wonderfully at 1:30 in the video. The Rotations are quite modern and very fun to play, especially II.

One piece I forgot to recommend as well is Frogs by Keiko Abe. Also a wonderful piece, sort of similar to the Musser one but a bit happier.
 
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