Listen to a sample of the recording of Estudio en Oitavas by Miquel Bernat
For me, the interval of an octave is one of the most important and interesting in the western diatonic scale. Thanks to its flexibility, it can be used as an expressive, melodic interval, for timbric colour, and also as a melodic, rhythmic development in any musical sequence. In this Estudo de oitavas, apart from being self-contained within the ostinato that defines it, it is used as a driving force that gives the marimba a more effective sound presence.
This work, perhaps the shortest in the collection, has its origins in Gestos (2007), a duet for marimba and cello by the same composer, where in the third movement the marimba only uses octaves in blocks or arpeggios. When I studied (and later played) this work a few years ago I realized that the marimba part on its own was of great help in studying the octaves, and it occurred to me that this movement could be developed to create a marimba solo and include it in this collection. I mentioned this idea to the composer and what he did was to take the cello and marimba motifs from the duet and merge them, adapting them to create this etude.
Paradoxically, a curious way to study and stabilize the interval of an octave emerges in the moments where it is not played, as occurs in the passages containing brief melodic melismas (such as in bars 3 and 4) and where I recommend maintaining the interval position of the octave while playing only with the inside mallets of each hand.