RHYTHM SONG

Posted By : Jeff Moore
Piece Title : Rhythm Song
No. of times Viewed (April 2019) :42
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Dificulty Rating :
Level : Junior / Senior
Composer / Arranger : Smadbeck, Paul (1955-)
Composer / Arranger Details: Paul Smadbeck was born on December 5, 1955. He studied at Ithaca College under Bill Youhass, Walter Mays, J.C. Combs and Gordon Stout. His works for marimba are a staple in the solo literature.
Total Number of Percussionists Required :1 Percussionist(s)
Categories : Tuned Percussion
Instrument / Discipline : Marimba
Instrumentation : N/A
Range of Instruments / Number of Drums : 4.3 Octave Marimba
Written for / Commissioned by : Unknown
Permission given for Youtube video by Copyright holder
and Youtube Channel Owner. Recorded / Provided by:
 Coming Soon - Pending Copyright Authorisation
Accompanied :N/A
Publisher :Keyboard Percussion Publications
Publishers Website :www.mostlymarimba.com
Publisher Details :

 

It was 2000 when the need for a single internet address for Marimba Productions Inc. and Malletech LLC was realized. This single internet address is intended to contain the products, services and publications of the two said companies such as Malletech instruments, mallets and accessories, Keyboard Percussion Publications and Studio 4 Music publications, even the recordings of Resonator Records. In this site, a lot of information about marimba and percussion performers, composers, acoustics, seminars and concerts can also be found.


Marimba Productions, which is the older of the two companies, has been operating since 1979  that time as a publishing company. The establishment of this said company was driven by the 26-year old Leigh Howard Stevens difficulty in finding a publisher for his manuscript, Manuscript of Movement for Marimba. A lot of publishers turned down the project. But it was one famous publisher that helped Stevens by suggesting the inclusion of a 2-mallet playing, vibes, xylophone and bells in his manuscript in order for it to have a better chance of getting published. The manuscript, before being published contains a lot of texts and diagrams which made it really boring. Besides, his manuscript only dealt with 4-mallet playing which can only cater to a small market.


It was in New York City where Marimba Productions was incorporated. In 1986, Stevens moved to New Jersey where his company was reincorporated. Marimba Productions Inc. also began publishing scores of some marimba solos that had been commissioned by Leigh Howard Stevens shortly after the publication of his manuscript. Successfully, his first three publications, Raymond Helbles Tocata Fantasy, David Maslankas Variations on Lost Love and John Serrys Night Rhapsody have become one of the most influential creations in the marimba repertoire. These three creations were performed on his New York City Debut Concert in Town Hall on October 27, 1979.

In 1978, which was a year earlier, Leigh`s first solo marimba mallet line was introduced by Vic Firth Inc., a company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The mallets have unique design and were very different from other keyboard mallets manufactured previously. The mallet handles were characterized by an extended length birch, loose wrapping, stitched heads and tones having a range of sounds. Leigh eventually took over in 1982. Bob Becker, David Friedman and Dave Samuels, three of the greatest mallet players in the world helped Leigh in establishing MALLETECH, the first brand of mallets devoted to serious keyboard percussion players.

Musser, the largest manufacturer of keyboard percussion instruments in the world at that time, sought the expertise of Leigh by hiring him as their design consultant in 1985. Leigh designed the new extended range marimba after working on the bar and resonator tuning systems for all the marimbas, xylophones and vibes. This new extended range marimba is now known as the M450 LHS. This instrument still has two of his patented designs, a built-in frame height adjustment and tunable resonators on the lowest octave. Due to the products high-end specifications, M450 LHS became the worlds best selling extended-range concert marimba in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His design of a furniture-grade all wooden frame marimba replaced the fake leather-wrapped frame components of some of today`s most expensive instruments. But due to low price, some manufacturers still use leatherette wrapped frame components.


Leigh decided to withdraw himself from Ludwig/Musser in 1991 to add keyboard percussion instruments to the successful Malletech mallet line. His first professional Malletech instruments were showcased at the 1992 PASIC. It is now highly established and has gained the favor of the world`s greatest players. It has even been acknowledged as the world`s best marimba.


Malletech marimbas and mallets have become two of the trademarks of Marimba Productions Inc. until this business was bought by Zildjian Company in 1997. It was 2000 when Leigh re-acquired half of the business again. He named the LLC as Kp3. He also bought Malletech trademark and the mallet business from Zildjian in June 2005. These two now operate under the name Malletech, LLC.


From 1997 to 2005, Marimba Productions Inc. operated as a publisher with percussion music published under the name Keyboard Percussions Publications. Leigh found Resonator Records, a record label in 1997 specializing in keyboard percussion music. It has released the works of Gordon Stout, Michael Burritt, Eric Sammut and the Marimba Festival Orchestra, even the recordings of Leigh himself.


As years went by, Marimba Productions Inc. continuously acquired the catalogs of other percussion publishers, such as Contemporary Music Project, M. Baker Publications, Percussion Arts and Studio 4 Music. These catalogues contain the majority of the serious percussion repertoire by Gordon Stout, Clair Omar Musser, Bob Becker, Michael Burritt, Eric Sammut, Eric Ewazen, David Maslanka, Raymond Helble, and Paul Smadbeck.


The two companies currently operate on a 20,000 sq. ft. building in Neptune, New Jersey. The company is currently being managed by officers Julie Istre (General Manager) and Leigh Howard Stevens (President and CEO).

Year Composed / Copyright Date :1984 /  1991
Duration :8Minutes
No. of Mallets/Sticks Required :4
Special Needs :None
Sheet Music Available From :www.steveweissmusic.com      Check to see if in stock
Programme Notes / Performance Details :

One feature of Rhythm Song is its minimalist style infused with American jazz/fusion and African music. Paul Smadbeck intentionally wants the player to do a tradional drum set performance. This can be achieved by considering selected notes as pitched drums. The simplicity of the pieces harmony and melody is intended to make the melody and harmony follow a rhythmic contrapuntalism which in the first place was the entire point of his creation. The entire work and all its rhythmic possibilities develop from a single simple melody played in 7/4 time. The single melody that started out from a lonely form was eventually distributed between the four mallets and generated intricate melodies woven within the mallets and across the keyboard. Merging and evolving throughout the piece, these intricate rhythms and harmonic texture produced the African marimba, gyil and balafon music feel. 

Prior to the 6/8 time which is the first section of the piece, Smadbeck pointed out that the pulse should be driven ahead solidly and persistently with no fluctuation in tempo. It is known and coined by some jazz and fusion players as putting it in the pocket. In short, the player should play this piece with a groove. Also, it can be noticed that this piece in that particular section has an African feel in two but has no fluctuation in the pulse.

Conventionally, this piece is performed as a marimba solo as it was originally written by Paul Smadbeck. But there had been attempts of having this piece played by two percussionists wherein the second one does an octave higher. And these attempts werent a mistake at all since these were able successfully emphasize the constrasting parts and had the overall impact of the piece heightened.

Smadbeck pointed out that the unique combination of percussion and tone is the secret to instruments expressive power According to Smadbeck, the attack should be like playing with the drum but at the same time showcasing the piano keyboard notes in a four to five octave range. This piece is great for marimba get-togethers and is now known for its suitability for either solo or double performances.

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Posted By : Jeff Moore    Date Posted: 29 January 2009 10:19:00 AM
Smadbeck suggests performing this with more than one marimbist, doubling octaves. An effective recital opener for an undergraduate if played with exaggerated dynamics and immaculate accuracy.
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