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The Marimba (マリンバ Marinba) is a musical instrument in the percussion family. A musician who plays the marimba is called a marimbist or simply a marimba player.

Construction[]

The instrument consists of a large set of wooden bars arranged in a layout identical to the keyboard of a piano. The bars are not perfectly rectangular; instead, on the underside they are arched inwards, which is necessary to tune the bars. Beneath the bars are pipes of corresponding lengths which amplify the sound. It is very similar to a xylophone, but is much larger and the bars are thinner.

Marimbas exist in many different sizes depending on the range and register desired. The standard is anywhere between 4 and 5 octaves, but some have more, and the octaves may fall between different pitches.

Performance[]

The characteristic tone of the marimba is largely attributed to the type of mallet used. The most practical and common mallet material used is yarn. This provides the familiar warm, rich tone of the marimba, compared to the xylophone which sounds much brighter as it uses acrylic mallets.

Players must be familiar with how to hold mallets and perform a variety of techniques using them, including tremolo. Marimba parts often call for difficult runs and passages, so players are required to be quite dexterous. The marimbist also frequently must use more than two mallets, up to four, which can prove challenging.

Scoring[]

Marimbas are used in concert bands, symphony orchestras, jazz bands, and marching bands. In concert bands and wind ensembles, marimba parts are usually written as a portion of a greater Percussion 1, 2, 3, etc. part. As for marching bands, marimbas can either be a part of the front ensemble, or be carried as a marching marimba.

As portrayed in Sound! Euphonium[]

In Kitauji High School Concert Band, Tsubame Kamaya is particularly skilled at playing the marimba.

Gallery[]

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