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The marimba is probably my favorite percussion instrument, no doubt due to the special quality of its lower octaves. Low marimba is a color that cannot be replicated in any other way (unlike the upper octaves, which sound basically just like a xylophone, or at least serve the same purpose orchestrationally), and that very uniqueness made it all the more difficult to go through the Avenue X score today and revise the marimba part, cutting off the low F-to-A-flats like I was lopping off the toes of some monster under the bed. This of course was all due to my willful negligence, assuming everybody and their dog had a marimba that went down into the nether-regions of the “Great-C” these days, but it turns out I was just plain greedy, and therefore proved wrong. The A2 holds as the standard, no matter how hard I pretend it is otherwise. I should have paid closer attention to the red notes in Sibelius as I copied in the music (that would be the software yelling at me, “out of range! out of range!”) but I’ve grown accustomed to blissfully ignoring that program’s warnings about ranges, likening its assumptions about what various instruments can and cannot play to the rantings of an elderly curmudgeon (“But you can’t do that…You just can’t DO that!”).

The good news is that after revising the part I decided that I have probably been overplaying my grief and stressing way too much about it. It’ll be fine, and the revisions will most likely sound just as good as if not better than the original part with those low F’s and A-flats. So maybe next time when it turns out that I can’t, in fact, DO that, I might actually heed the warnings.

But then again, probably not. I still say Sibelius doesn’t know what the heck it’s talking about. You should see what it thinks the range of a violin is…

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