Modelling Synth – Marimba (Pt 1)

Emulating a Marimba with Sculpture

xylophones made from wood, metal or stone have different timbres. Different materials vibrate in different ways, so each xylophone’s timbre sounds warm, tinny, clunky or clear.

For this i wanted to emulate the sound of  hitting a wooden block at different velocities since Marimba bars are typically made of either wood or synthetic material. This sound is primarily warm and clear and for that i decided to set the material to wood and the resolution to full to capture most of the frequencies.

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Ive set the tension mod and media loss at a minumum due to the fact that most of the sounds produce from a marimba are quite pure in tone with the addition of harmonics and overtones that set the marimba apart from other mallet instruments.

The marimba, has its most significant overtone two octaves above the fundamental, at the fourth mode of vibration. Therefore it is important to ensure that this overtone sounds at the appropriate frequency, or the marimba’s characteristic timbre may be lost.



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Above is the spectral analyzation of my marimba made in sculpture using logics pre fade EQ analyzer. The root note that is being played is a C4 and is dominant at 500hz. According to the overtones created by the marimba, the most significant overtone frequency is at 2kHz which is twice the octave above the fundamental (C6).

It is also notable that Marimba often feature resonators which increase the dynamics of the fundamental and the overtones. Each resonator strengthens the fundamental both by its own resonance as well as its production of one half of all overtones in that resonance. Above there are frequency present at 4150Hz and a overall presence around the 1kHz and would indicate resonators are being used.

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As for the capturing, i decided to capture the strike as the main fundamental frequency and the strike as the overtones, positioning them relatively spaced apart so that it is capturing most of the body of the sound whilst also maximising VeloSens to utilize more velocities whilst inputting midi.

This is similar to striking different areas of the bars since striking the centre of the bar will primarily produce a sound with more frequencies and so for the sake of replication, ive decided to make this the basis. The more frequencies that are presents

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As for the envelope, ive set the attack to fast since the marimba is inherently a mallet instrument, most of the dynamics and plucky nature comes from the initial sound. Ive set the sustain to max and the release to medium so that the tones play for the maximum dynamic whilst it fades away relatively fast.

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