Listen to a sample of the recording of Arpeggios Studio by Miquel Bernat
From the point of view of performance technique, this study presents the player with the difficulty of the execution of arpeggios throughout the whole marimba register. These arpeggios are based on chords derived from the harmonic series that appear as such (the case of the arpeggio that opens the work) or arranged in the form of modal scales. The second section of the work (from bar 14) develops the material of the arpeggios by transforming them into various motifs that play with the accentuation. As is well known, the use of modal scales as a productive resource is something that has been present in most musical cultures around the world throughout history – from Japanese gagaku music to gamelan to the music from much of black Africa – and has been transferred to the music of recent decades at the hand of composers such as Olivier Messiaen, Toru Takemitsu and Magnus Lindberg.
This piece demands rapid displacement over the full range of the instrument, because the arpeggios (in particular in the first part) are very open, passing rapidly through various octaves. The performer must pay careful attention to the movement of the feet and legs, so as not to waste time or lose balance, thereby causing unwanted unevenness in the sound and thus in expressiveness of the arpeggios.
Like many works in which the harmony is not vertical, the bass has to be prolonged, in order to support the notes that will sound afterwards which are related harmonically. For this reason the mallet playing the bass line should preferably be softer and heavier, in order to achieve greater depth and reverberation. However, as this mallet will not be serviceable in the higher registers, the performer must carefully select the sticking to achieve the best quality of sound in each register.