VF Artist YoungKyoung Lee performs Alejandro Viñao’s new marimba/electronics solo ‘Madera, Viento y Metal’ (Wood, Wind & Metal).

If you are not familiar with Alejandro Viñao, check out his other works for marimba and percussion ensemble:

Khan Variations: Performance by Svet Stoyanov

Estudios de Frontera: Performance by Eastman Percussion Ensemble


The marimba has a very distinctive and seductive sound. However, except at the lower end of the instrument, its resonance is relatively short, and in the middle and high sections of the register the sound decays quickly after the initial attack.

In this piece I used electronic sounds to extend and transform the resonance and timbre of the marimba. As the title of the piece suggests, I sought to add to the colour of ‘wood’ characteristic of the marimba sound world, the colours of wind and metal which I felt complemented and contrasted the marimba in a rich and evocative way.

Unlike in my purely acoustic compositions, the harmonies in Madera Viento y Metal follow not only the logic of the notes and scales on which the piece is based, but are also dictated by the colours and resonances resulting from the interaction between the marimba and the electronics sounds I created for this work. This interaction is dynamic, changing from moment to moment as the music unfolds.

To put it simply, in this work harmony and colour do not function as independent categories but may be experienced by the listener as the unified quality of an emerging sound world.

Dave Gerhart
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