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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! Author Mark Ford discusses specific marimba stroke techniques, practice tips and performs each of the book's 16 etudes in the video library below. 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

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Mark Ford

Coordinator of Percussion Activities
University of North Texas

Mark Ford is a marimba artist and the Coordinator of Percussion at The University of North Texas College of Music in Denton, Texas.  As a Past-President of the Percussive Arts Society and the coordinator of one of the largest percussion programs in the United States at UNT, Ford is an active performer and composer.  Mark has been featured as a marimba soloist throughout the United States at universities, festivals and music conferences. He has performed internationally throughout Europe as well as in Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia and South America.  In addition to his duties at UNT, Ford is also the Artistic Director for the annual Drum Fest Marimba/Vibraphone Competition in Opole, Poland.

With over three decades of performing, teaching and composing to his credit, Mark’s recordings have established his dedication to excellence in music. Ford’s solo marimba CDs, Stealing a Moment, Motion Beyond and Polaris, have become standards in the percussion world.  His CDs have been described by PAS’ Percussive Notes as “beautiful, exceptional and virtuosic.”  Mark has also recorded numerous concertos with the UNT Wind Symphony under the direction of Eugene Corporon.   These include two DVDs and a CD with Japanese virtuoso marimbist Keiko Abe as well as the latest 2017 Wind Symphony recording, Stubernic Fantasy, which includes marimba/percussion concertos by Jennifer Higdon, Daniel McCarthy, Keiko Abe and Ford (this recording will be released in December 2017).

As a composer Mark Ford has written popular works for solo marimba and percussion ensemble including Marimba Heritage, Head Talk, Polaris, Kingdom Lore Fanfare, Stubernic, Afta-Stuba!, Morning Light, The Surface of Life and Coffee Break (co-composed with Ewelina Ford).  His Stubernic Fantasy Concerto was premiered in Poland (orchestral version by The Opole Philharmonic) and the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Convention (wind ensemble version by the Lone Star Wind Symphony) and has been performed on tour by the US Navy Band and the US Air Force Band.  His compositions have been performed at universities and concert halls throughout the world and also featured on National Public Radio.  His most recent works include Moon Chasers for solo marimba, IE2 written for the Ju Percussion Group in Taiwan and Pivot Point for saxophone quartet, marimba and cajon.    Ford is also the author of Marimba: Technique Through Music, a four-mallet marimba method book published by Innovative Percussion, Inc.   His new book for marimba, Marimba Songbook will be released in the fall of 2017.

Ford has been recognized as a leading percussion educator, and his former students perform and teach throughout the country.  Under his direction the UNT Percussion Ensemble has toured in Poland, Croatia, France and Belgium and also won the PAS International Percussion Ensemble Competition.  Mark Ford proudly represents Innovative Percussion Inc., Dynasty Percussion, Bergerault, Zildjian, Evans Drum Heads, and Meinl Percussion as performing artist and clinician.

Mark Ford

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Mark Ford Mark Ford
University of North Texas

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