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Marimba: Technique Through Music

marimba etude book
Composer: Mark Ford
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: Marimba (low A). 1 etude requires 5 octave

Program Notes:
Marimba: Technique Through Music now comes with a supplemental DVD! 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.

Review:
"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





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Mark Ford

Coordinator of Percussion Activities
University of North Texas

Mark Ford is the coordinator of percussion activities at The University of North Texas in Denton, Texas and a Past-President of the Percussive Arts Society. He is a marimba specialist and the coordinator of one of the largest percussion programs in the United States at UNT. Ford is an active performer on the marimba and he has been featured throughout the United States at universities and music conferences. He also regularly performs at International Music Festivals in South America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

With several marimba and percussion CDs to his credit, Mark’s recordings have further established his dedication to excellence in music. Ford’s solo marimba CDs, Motion Beyond and Polaris, have received outstanding reviews including The Instrumentalist which stated Ford's performance is "superb and his compositional style is equally outstanding." Mark has also recorded two DVDs and a CD with Japanese virtuoso marimbist Keiko Abe and the UNT Wind Symphony.

As a composer Mark Ford has written several popular works for solo marimba and percussion ensemble including Head Talk, Polaris, Kingdom Lore Fanfare, Stubernic, Afta-Stuba!, Heads Up! and The Surface of Life. His compositions have been performed at universities and concert halls throughout the world and also featured on National Public Radio. Ford is also the author of Marimba: Technique Through Music, a four-mallet marimba method book published by Innovative Percussion, Inc. Mark’s latest composition, Marimba Heritage is a mallet ensemble showcase. The work is built on motives of numerous marimba solos and is designed to honor the tradition of solo marimba performance.

Ford has been recognized as a leading percussion educator and his UNT Percussion Ensemble was selected as a winner in the 2009 PAS International Percussion Ensemble Competition. Mark Ford proudly represents Dynasty Percussion, The Zildjian Company, Evans Drum Heads, Latin Percussion and Innovative Percussion Inc. as performing artist and clinician.

For more information on Mark Ford and the UNT Percussion Area, please go to www.music.unt.edu/percussion.

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Mark Ford Mark Ford
University of North Texas

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