About The Marimba

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The Marimba is a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars struck with mallets to produce musical tones. Resonators (the bronze, cylindrical structures) attached to the bars amplify their sound. The bars are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural bars (similar to a piano) to aid the performer both visually and physically. This instrument is essentially a bigger version of the xylophone, just made with different materials that produce a much lower and sometimes softer tone.

The marimba was developed in what used to be Guatemala centuries ago, but is now present day Chiapas, Mexico. The marimba is also the official national instrument of Guatemala, due to it originating there.

Ricardo utilizes, on average, 6-8 different pairs of mallets each performance that range from harder light colored mallets, to softer darker colored selections. Ricardo’s classical songs such as The Entertainer and The Whistler call for harder mallets to punctuate sound and speed; while Ricardo’s Latin and Lounge song selections, such as, Meditation and Spanish eyes call for softer mallets to amplify resonation and finesse. Every individual song and sometimes even the venue help suggest the mallet pairing. It is up to Ricardo and his team to prepare the right combination for every performance.

It is very common for marimba performers to utilize sheet music as they play due to the complexity and abundance of possible notes, however; Ricardo’s amazing abilities allow him to forgo the necessity of traditional sheet music. Instead, all Ricardo needs on his music stand is a list of songs with the properly paired mallet selection clearly discernible.