In the literary world, tall tales are a type of short story that spring up from old legends. They always have a fantastical element to them—they’re “larger than life,” so to speak, and are written to inspire those who read them. For writers of fiction, there’s this idea that short stories are where writers learn to write. Before you can bang out the next War and Peace on your old Corona typewriter, you have to learn a thing or two about plotting, character development, and other authorly crafts. And the best way to learn those things? Through writing short stories and tall tales.
Tall Tales is designed to do the same thing for beginning four mallet players. This collection of eight short pieces gives beginning marimba players several opportunities to practice fundamental techniques and musical expression as they grow into intermediate players. By learning the pieces in this collection, players will develop several fundamental musical skills, including basic stroke types, different permutations, dynamic range, and lyrical expression.
Each piece, or “tale,” in the collection, like a literary tall tale, revolves around a unique main idea or theme, giving players a new challenge with each piece they learn. From the rich, powerful chorales of “Unexpected Turns” to the rushing, arpeggiated accents of “High Tide,” each piece presents students a new way to grow as musicians.
This variety of styles and themes also means these pieces lend themselves well to performance in addition to pedagogy. Students can perform a single Tale or several Tales in any order to best suit their own needs and repertoire. Performers and audiences alike will appreciate the Tales’ programmatic versatility.