Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

John R. Raush


The marimba was ushered into the Western art world early this century. Thus, compositions written specifically for solo marimba are limited. One means of expanding the repertory is to transcribe for marimba. This study discusses the techniques of transcribing for solo marimba. It represents a synthesis of information drawn from examining, performing, and creating transcriptions for marimba. The introductory chapter covers related pertinent and prefatory topics such as a brief history of the marimba and its literature, the necessity for transcriptions, and the benefits and value of transcriptions and transcribing. The second chapter, which constitutes the body of the work, begins with a discussion of the criteria for selecting works to transcribe. It describes the limitations and idiosyncrasies of the marimba, discusses ways to handle the fundamental obstacles of range and sustaining, and outlines concerns in rewriting and idiomatic imitation. The examples for this chapter are drawn almost exclusively from the author's transcriptions of Bach's Invention No. 4 in D Minor and Debussy's "Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum" and "Golliwogg's Cake-walk" from Children's Corner. The third chapter summarizes the study. The study concluded that the transcriber must possess historical knowledge and analytical skills in order to make musical, idiomatic, and actually convincing decisions in the transcribing process. Principles were derived and guidelines were developed to aid the transcriber, yet it was noted that the uniqueness of each obstacle in the transcribing process demanded a creative, discerning response. Often the work of any such project is measured in part by its usefulness and contribution to the musical community. This study endeavors to serve as a "how to" manual for any musician desiring to transcribe for the marimba, to stimulate the growth of the solo marimba repertory with transcriptions and original compositions, and to give composers and other valuable general and specific information about the marimba.