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Contemporary Mallet Method

method book
Composer: Jerry Tachoir
Publisher: Riohcat Music distributed by Innovative Percussion
Instrumentation: Marimba or Vibraphone

Review:
"Aimed at "those keyboard-mallet percussionists that have an interest in four-mallet playing," Tachoir's method begins with an explanation of the grip often referred to as the "Burton grip." The grip is carefully illustrated, and a warm-up routine is also explained. The second chapter addresses the topic of sticking, exploring patterns for all the major scales and chromatic scales. Exercises are given for playing arpeggiated chordal structures, using all four mallets. Tachoir also delves into a bit of music theory, with an introduction to the modes and diminished and whole-tone scales. Sticking suggestions are given for the scales of C Dorian, C Phrygian, C Lydian, C Mixolydian, C Aeolian, and C Locrian. A discussion of "Modal Interchange" (the chromatic alteration of chord tones) and suggestions for working with specific chordal structures completes this chapter. Chord voicing is the topic of the third chapter. Two techniques, used to spread or expand a chordal structure, called "outer voice exchange" and "drop 2 technique" are explained and illustrated. The chapter concludes with exercises designed to practice these two techniques. The fourth chapter is devoted to challenges of harmonizing a melodic line, both when accompanying oneself, or when comping behind another player. Once again, examples are given to illustrate the text. The fifth chapter is called "Clarity of Executing Lines on the Vibraphone Through Use of Dampening." (If this title rings a bell of familiarity, it is because the chapter has been reproduced verbatim, in the form of a pamphlet available in Ludwig Industries' packet of educational materials.) The author discusses five types of dampening techniques: slide dampening, touch tone dampening, adjacent note mallet dampening, hand dampening, and pedaling. The book culminates in a series of eleven musical exercises, each with a commentary offering practical suggestions for performance and practice. The title of this seventy-two page text implies, perhaps, that it is a comprehensive course of study filled with page after page of practice material, in the mold of some of the popular mallet "methods" currently on the market. Be advised that this is not the case. Although the text is quite informative and concentrates on the practical corners of the performing musician, most students will need help in applying the concepts and techniques discussed to their own performance. This is especially the case in regard to the chapters devoted to the modes, modal interchange, and chord voicings. The ideas found in this text, however, make it a valuable resource book and supplement to the pedagogical material currently available to the mallet teacher." - John R. Raush

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Related Artists

Jerry Tachoir Jerry Tachoir
Jazz Vibraphone and Marimba Artist
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