Double-stroke scales for marimba/xylophone; Schwantner Concerto for Percussion

Joseph Schwantner, Concerto for Percussion, Movement 3
If you click the link above, it will take you exactly to an great application of the exercise below.
I have also embedded the video at the bottom of this post, if the above link doesn’t quite work, jump to 2:17 in the video, and you will see the double stroke examples on marimba in an actual piece of cool music. It’s a very exciting and modern show piece for drums, mallets and some experimental sounds involving the ‘water gong’ (in movement 2 I believe). It is very listenable but very intense in places.

Today’s exercise is double stroked scales which can be played on xylophone, marimba or any other suitable keyboard percussion instrument…
(heck, practice this on piano if you like ! )
Follow this pattern with your scales, and follow the sticking listed directly below each note, my example is given in the key of C Major, R is for right hand, L is for left hand:

follow this pattern for all of the Major scales.
If you prefer, you can think of this with scale-step numbers. In this case 1 = C, 2 = D, 3 = E, 4 = F, 5 = G.

Due to a phenomenon referred to as ‘kerning’, the R’s and L’s below each scale note don’t exactly line up vertically. This is because all letters and numbers of a font have different spacing adjustments between letters. This is part of the science of creating fonts and making them readable.


Wikipedia has an excellent article about how ‘kerning’ works. Click here to visit that page.

The video is featuring percussion soloist Nick Bonaccio. The piece is conducted by Andrew Massey. The orchestra is not identified as far as I can tell, but it may be the Vermont Youth Orchestra. It’s a great piece of music. I like it a lot.

Evelyn Glennie, Leonard Slatkin, National Symphony Orchestra, Music of Joseph SchwantnerEvelyn Glennie has an excellent recording of this with Leonard Slatkin conducting the National Symphony Orchestra.

Joseph Schwantner also composed a very exciting marimba solo called Velocities, which is also found on the Evelyn Glennie album linked above.


Credits for the performance video of Velocities go to:

Part of Dr. Justin Stolarik’s University of Texas at Austin DMA 2 Solo Percussion Recital, entitled “An Unconventional 20th Century Retrospective.”
Thursday, November 15th, 2007 at 4:30pm in Bates Recital Hall.

Concerto for Percussion, movement 3:


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