Marimba: Characteristics, price, and history of orchestral instruments


Marimba is said to have started in ancient Africa by digging a hole in the ground, passing a wooden board, and hitting it to make a sound. In the Bantu languages of Africa, “marimba” means an instrument consisting of many wooden sticks, because “limba” means a wooden stick and “ma” is a multiple noun class prefix. The instrument that became the prototype of the marimba crossed the sea with the people of Africa and arrived in Central and South America. There, the gourd turns into a wooden resonance pipe.


This instrument originated in Africa. It is used as percussion along with other instruments such as the glockenspiel, vibraphone, and xylophone. It often appears as a keyboard percussion instrument in concerts. There are many ways to play it. Basically, the array produces a loud, soft sound. You can hit it for a long time and give it variety.

About the price

The price is very high. Even the cheapest ones cost over 400,000 yen, and the more expensive ones cost 3 million yen.

Development company

Currently, there are many marimba manufacturers in the world.

Company nameCountryfeature
YAMAHAJapanIt is a famous Japanese manufacturer and is loved by many players.
AdamsNether LandA manufacturer specializing in wind and percussion instruments in the Netherlands. There is also a branch office in Belgium.
Marimba oneUnited StatesLocated in Artaxata, California, USA.
MusserUnited StatesClar Omar Musser is an American musical instrument maker made by a leading marimba player.
MalletechUnited StatesA musical instrument manufacturer made in the United States.

Marimba history

It is said that the history of marimba began in ancient Africa by digging a hole in the ground, passing a wooden board, and hitting it to make a sound. After that, the gourd was hung on the back of the wooden board, and the style changed to the sound of hitting the wood. This instrument travels to Central and South America, from gourds to wooden resonance tubes. In the latter half of the 19th century, it became a popular folk instrument in Mexico and Latin America. About 100 years ago, Marimba, which went to the United States, was unified to its current form by Deagan, who made improvements such as arranging the keyboard in the same way as the piano and changing the resonance tube to metal. It was an instrument that was active in the folk instrument and pop genres, but is now also popular as a classical music instrument.

Features of marimba

The marimba is a percussion instrument with a pitch, and you can hear the sound by hitting the wooden soundboards that are lined up like a piano keyboard. It is not black and white like a piano, but it has black keys and white keys. The difference is the size of the keyboard, because the trees are tuned one by one. The treble part is narrow and thick, and the width becomes wider and thinner toward the bass part. It is important for the performance to be aware of the difference in the sense of thickness of the tree in the high range, mid range, and low range. Hit the marimba sound board and the mallet is called “mallet”. Mallets can be made by wrapping yarn around a rubber head or by using soft rubber. In recent years, marimba with a range of 5 octaves has been widely used, and you can play simple piano songs, and many original works in this range are still being made. One of the charms of marimba is the low-pitched sound, so songs that make use of it need that range.

Marimba song

The marimba is one of the instruments often used in folk music, especially in orchestras. It may also be used in BGM music. Used in TV, movies, games, etc.


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