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Thread: 4 mallets on Xylophone

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    Default 4 mallets on Xylophone

    I finished an orchestral work the other day and in a couple of sections I ask for 4 medium mallets on xylophone to play 4-note chords. Is that OK? One of my orchestration books briefly said "xylophonists usually use 2 mallets" without expounding on why it is common on instruments like marimba but not on xylophone. Or is there a certain level of proficiency required for it, that might not be present in some non-professional orchestras like at a university? Or maybe it's perfectly normal...

    If you want to hear it, it's at 2:22 here https://youtu.be/cCNjXoOwJKk

    xylophone-4-mallets.jpg

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    Senior Member Retrograde Inversion's Avatar
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    A university level percussion student shouldn't have any particular difficulty with that, as long as they have a decent amount of time to practice it.

    Incidentally, with all that brass, I'd consider putting that part up an octave.

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    it will be ok. enjoy the sound

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retrograde Inversion View Post
    A university level percussion student shouldn't have any particular difficulty with that, as long as they have a decent amount of time to practice it.

    Incidentally, with all that brass, I'd consider putting that part up an octave.
    OK great! Transposing up an octave may be a good idea indeed, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    it will be ok. enjoy the sound
    Thanks, David.

    Thank you both for taking the time to check that for me.

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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    Yeah it will be OK. The reason the textbook says "usually 2 mallets" is because the Xylo usually plays lively melodic passages and that forces the usage of two mallets to be nimble.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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