The marimba is a percussion instrument that looks similar to the xylophone but is larger in size. It differs from the xylophone in that it has a wider compass and lower register, as well as resonators. The marimba’s wood bars are thinner than those of a xylophone. As a result, the sound becomes deeper and darker. The marimba did not become popular among musicians and composers until the 1950s, but it has since surpassed the xylophone in a variety of musical applications. Earlier versions of the marimba date back centuries to Latin America and African slaves, but the current version used in orchestras and modern music was adapted from the earlier designs in the 1900s in Europe and the United States.
The term “marimba” comes from the Bantu language spoken in Mozambique and Malawi. The word’ma’ means ‘a large number of objects,’ and the word ‘rimba’ means ‘a single-bar xylophone.’
A marimba player or a marimbist is a musician who plays the marimba.
In some countries, the word “phone” is added to the word “marimba,” and the instrument is referred to as a marimbaphone.
The marimba’s frame is usually made of metal, but in some cases it is made of wood. The frame is supported by wheels.
The marimba has two rows of wood bars, usually spaced about 4cm apart in height.
The marimba’s bars are made of wood and are arranged on the frame in accordance with their size. The wood bars have holes drilled in one end to allow string to be threaded through to secure the bars.
The marimba’s bars rest on pegs mounted on the frame, allowing them to vibrate when struck with the mallet.
The number of bars used to make a marimba is determined by the range.
Rosewood is a popular material for marimba bars. If the marimba bar is too hard, it can be broken with a mallet.
The pitch of the bars on a marimba is determined by the length, thickness, and density of the bar. When struck, the width has no effect on the pitch of the bar.
When tuning an instrument quickly, a lump of wax can be added to a bar. Other methods of tuning include adding or removing wood or other material. In some cases, filing material off the end of the bar is required to produce the correct pitch.
The mallet used to play the marimba is different depending on the sound desired. The marimba mallets are classified according to their hardness: hard, medium, or soft. Mallet heads are typically made of rubber, plastic, or wood. Typically, they are wrapped in yarn.
Jazz, ensembles, concertos, marching bands, bugle and drum corps, orchestras, and Latin music all make use of marimbas.
The marimba was played by Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones’ songs Out of Time and Under My Thumb.