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Deagan Diana Model 40

Black and white photo of Rebecca with four mallets playing her Deagan Diana 4 octave marimba

My first marimba was a Deagan Diana model 40. Please take a listen to that beautiful instrument on the Creston Concertino (recorded 1977, Master’s Recital). 

Transition from 4.0 Deagan to 5.0 Yamaha 

Publicity photo of rebecca with her mallets and marimba

In 1985, the incredible sounds of my new Yamaha YM6000 marimba changed everything! My warm, beautiful Deagan suddenly sounded different to me: warm – yet not focused; beautiful – but not projecting; clear – but with a limited dynamic range. You can hear the difference that I heard in this short video comparing the two instruments!

                Complete recording of Giuliani on YouTube

Pioneering 5.0 Octave Marimba Performance 

Publicity head shot of rebecca with mallets that she made in late 1980's

My Yamaha YM 6000 arrived on Christmas Eve, 1985. I was overwhelmed with its responsiveness, beautifully focused sound, and especially its size. None of my mallets worked because they were too light and too short. I made new mallets that were longer and heavier to get the sounds I wanted. This also meant developing new ways to move around the marimba to reach the notes, especially in the bass.

I chose to use the Bach Chaconne in D mi as a musical challenge to motivate my practice and exploration. You can hear the results on this recording from my CD Across Time (1993)

Bass Line with Melody Now Possible

Rebecca in blue long jacket and red blouse playing Yamaha 5 octave marimba in 1987

The first movement of Jazz Suite for Marimba, 60 Bar Blues, by Minneapolis based composer jazz guitarist and bass player, Joan Griffith. What fun music to play!

Honoring My Muses

Rebecca with 4 mallets in brightly colored vest with her marimba in 2016

In writing this composition, I honor two women whose love of music has inspired me so much – my mother Alice and my friend and muse, Keiko Abe. The melody, chorale, and bass line came to me as I improvised on my mother Alice’s piano at a time of transition for her. I love the textured and quietly insistent rolls in the opening of Keiko Abe’s composition Wind Sketch and used a similar texture in For Alice.

© 2023 Rebecca Kite – All Rights Reserved