Marimba Music: Two Metres of Timber & a Teenager

By: Lincoln Grounds
Date: 11 Sep 2013

Actors and TV presenters have often been heard to say they never work with children or animals. I know composer/producers who, from bitter experience, have a similar approach to Marimbas.

Marimba Deconstructed

Get close to one if you can. They are quite a daunting prospect. My first experience was with a 5.5 octave monster. Two metres long and arrived in a van in numerous pieces.

Once reconstructed, it was apparent that each note had its own unique collection of overtones. Some harmonic, some atonal. A sonic challenge. Such fun!

Samples or Originals

As luck would have it, I was fortunate to be working with a fearless young warrior equipped with the tools and just enough reckless intent to tame the wooden beast.

And, with so many fantastic sampled Marimba packages available, why did I find myself in this predicament?

The answer is simple – a percussionist wielding four mallets with two hands will get voices, patterns and tones from a Marimba that will inform and shape compositions in a way that even a skilled programmer armed with gigabytes of awesome marimba samples won’t.

That’s how it felt to me and that’s why I have so enjoyed writing with Richard Rayner on our Marimba Fusion and Dramedy projects.

Watch this video to find out more about the recording.

How to Collaborate

A chimpanzee with a typewriter may eventually re-create the works of Shakespeare. It’ll take a long time, but not half as long as it would take me to do what Richard does with things that you hit.

The way our tracks have evolved is quite simple. Richard with a great combination of youth and talent creates endless patterns, melodies and textures which he sends to me.

If on first listen, I can imagine a useful and interesting finished track that will evolve from an idea, I’ll run with it, adding other instrumentation and finishing the job. Sometimes an idea is half way there – I’ll suggest a mood based re-work. Sometimes, for whatever reason, nothing sparks and an idea is ditched.

This is how these albums have been written with production music in mind. At a young age, Richard has mastered the art of being a collaborator. Energetic, prolific and never precious.

As time goes by, I have no doubt at all that he will master the art of producing tracks from beginning to end. That’s the thing about teenagers – they’re bloody annoying!

Marimba Fusion

Marimba fusions & solo performances across a range of moods & feels.

by Lincoln Grounds & Richard Rayner

Listen to the Album

Marimba Fusion

Dramedy Marimba & Pizzicato Strings

Quirky & mischievous marimba & playful pizzicato strings with a hint of comedy.

by Lincoln Grounds & Richard Rayner

Listen to the Album

Marimba Fusion
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