Composing for Marimba: Tools and Techniques for Composers

This document offers composers a contextual reference and pragmatic overview of the modern marimba. This guide is not designed as an orchestration text, suggesting ways to write for the instrument, rather, it illustrates through examination of well-known solo and chamber works how selected composers have effectively written for the instrument. 

Composing for Marimba: Tools and Techniques for Marimba

Constellations for Lead Pan, Electronics, and Projection

Solo for lead pan, transducer speaker, and projection. The electronic sounds are all derived from NASA and ESA recorded sounds. Constellations are projected onto the pan to determine each movement's pitch set.

Suspended Notion for Prepared Steel Pan and Electronics

Suspended Notion was written with the hope that the listener briefly suspends their previously held notion about a given instrument, in this case, the prepared steel pan. Hopefully, some other image emerges. Through the interaction of performer and pan, electronics and pan, and all three at once, the notion that it is one performer becomes blurred. 

Panning Variations for Vibraphone duo

Written in 2013, this composition makes use of the stereo characteristics of the vibraphone. It is meant to be performed with each player on opposite sides of the audience i.e. one in front, the other behind or one on the left the other on the right, etc. Unpublished


"Dynamically Challenged" for solo snare drum (2008)

An intermediate to advanced snare drum solo with a focus on consistent dynamics and changes from one extreme dynamic to another. Available from Bachovich Music Publications within The PAS MassChap 2008 Snare Drum Collection.


"Hennes Kalde Stare" for solo xylophone (2009)

Intermediate to Advanced 2 mallet xylophone solo featuring independence between hands and atonal effects. Published by Bachovich Music Publications. Available from Steve Weiss Music within The MassChap 2010 Xylophone Collection.


"Hunter/Prey" for multiple percussion Solo (2008)

1st place in the Weisman Art Museum's 2008 Artsounds composition competition, undergraduate division, Hunter/Prey is an advanced multiple percussion Solo for vibraphone, large bass drum, 3 tom-toms, cymbals, bongos, 2 almglocken, 2 woodblocks, and bamboo windchimes. The music was written to accompany a painting of the same name by Wesley Kimler which is on display at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, MN on the University of Minnesota Campus. Recording available for listening in the Weisman Art Museum. Unpublished.


"Nuages" by Claude Debussy, arranged by Joe Millea (2013)

An arrangement of Nuages from Debussy's "Nocturnes" for full sized Steel band. Unpublished.