Marimba, mallet and mind – enhancing the marimba sound by Ki-aikido approach

Henrik Knarborg Larsen, Ole Adrian Heggli, Bjørn Petersen

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This study highlights the potential benefits of applying physico-mental strategies from the Japanese martial art Ki-aikido in the general approach to teaching and playing percussion instruments. Two groups of percussion students played an exercise on marimba before and after either a Ki-aikido or a control instruction. Between-group Fourier analyses were robust and showed a significant effect of the Ki-aikido intervention, indicated by a change in the harmonic distribution in the instrument’s timbre. By contrast, subjective ratings by marimba experts were less consistent and showed no effect of the intervention on any parameter. More research into the field is encouraged.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of New Music Research
Pages (from-to)469-478
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Marimba
  • Ki-aikido
  • timbre
  • sound quality
  • spectral analysis

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