#MarimbaBaby: A Songbook for the Intermediate Marimbist
Composer: Mark Ford
Publisher: Musicon Publications
#MarimbaBaby: A Marimba Songbook began as an idea to compose original lullabies featuring the marimba. In western society, lullabies are gradually disappearing. Social media and electronic devices are providing music, entertainment and atmosphere for young children around the world. My wife Ewelina and I feel strongly that singing and playing music with children is essential for developing a creative imagination and expressive thought. Even before we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter Emily, we started to explore lullabies through our travels around the world. Our goal was to transcribe and arrange these lullabies for the marimba.
From 2012 to 2014 we interviewed musicians, parents and grandparents in the United States, Peru, Taiwan, China, Japan, Australia, Poland, Portugal, Croatia, England, Italy, Greece, France and Belgium. We recorded our conversations with these individuals who would also sing the lullabies that their parents sang to them. As soon as we would ask about these lullabies, you could see in their eyes the love for their parents and the childhood memories associated with these songs.
We are grateful to those who were gracious enough to tell us their story. At times, there would be tears from interviewees as they remembered precious times with their loved ones. These experiences touched us and we decided to compose original lullabies and children’s songs featuring the marimba. In our own way, this music is our gift to our daughter Emily. We hope that singing and playing these songs with Emily gives her many beautiful reflections of our love and happiness together.
The selections in #MarimbaBaby represent solo marimba versions of many of our original songs for 5-octave marimba. Unlike my first book, Marimba: Technique Through Music, #MarimbaBaby is not a marimba method book. Rather, it is a collection of marimba solos based on our songs and lullabies for children. The songs in this book are of intermediate difficulty with a few at the end of the book being slightly longer and more advanced musically and technically. So #MarimbaBaby is a perfect sequel to Marimba: Technique Through Music. Ewelina and I have added samples of the lyrics with several of these songs to give the player a better understanding of each composition.
Marimba: Technique Through Music
Composer: Mark Ford
Instrumentation: Marimba (low A). 1 etude requires 5 octave
In Marimba: Technique Through Music Author Mark Ford discusses specific marimba stroke techniques, practice tips and performs each of the book’s 16 etudes on the DVD. Designed to help the intermediate four-mallet marimbist, this video is a unique educational resource that delivers more than just exercises and etudes. Students can watch detailed explanations of marimba technique to develop their own performing skills. Students have the best chance for building technique and musicality by working on short selections in a variety of different musical styles. This text guides the student through several etudes that focus on different musical applications of one specific technique. Each section of the book begins with a brief introduction to a specific stroke followed by graduated etudes that utilize that stroke. In this manner, the student will become confident with these basic strokes and their application to musical expression on the marimba.
“Each of the 16 etudes in this superb collection is composed to assist the intermediate four-mallet marimbist in learning a specific pedagogical technique. The 16 marimba solos are varied in their musical style, and each focuses on a specific technique. After an introduction to this 64-page loose-bound collection, general comments by Mark Ford regarding stroke concepts, getting started, and chordal applications precede six sections that are named “Single Independent Strokes,” “Single Alternating Strokes,” Double Lateral Strokes,” “Double Vertical Strokes,” “Chorales” and “Combined Strokes.” The first two sections each have two etudes, while the remaining four sections have three etudes each. Of particular interest is Ford’s concluding sections on “Chorales” and “Combined Strokes.” Both contain more difficult etudes—any one or a combination of which might be appropriate for the younger college-age recital (e.g. junior recital) or as potential contest/festival selections for intermediate to advanced high school marimbists. The titles of the tonal chorales are “Wellington,” “Azalea” and “Coventry,” and their tonalities are D-major, F-major and B-major, respectively. In the introductory remarks to “Chorales,” Ford suggests several outside listening examples or the student to reference regarding appropriate chorale style considerations. The concluding section’s titles are “Birchbrook,” “West Oak” and “Stoneman.” These solos present multi-metered, contemporary-style compositional techniques. The final composition in this collection, “Stoneman,” is dedicated to Ford’s uncle, Bill McClintock, who lived next door to Ford when he was growing up. The sensitive “dolce” marking for this 3/4, B-flat major etude provides a gentle musical tribute to an individual who obviously impacted Ford’s life significantly. “Stoneman” would be appropriate for an undergraduate college percussion recital. Although this composition requires a fiveoctave marimba, the remaining solos in this collection can be performed on a low-A marimba. Congratulations to Mark Ford for providing 16 etudes that will permeate the teaching and performance pedagogy of marimba students for years to come.” – Jim Lambert Percussive Notes, April 2006.