Kenneth Friedman
Let's Make a Marimba

Sounds of Music was a Science Olympiad event in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 season. In 2010-2011, Xiyu Wang and I created a bamboo flute and a marimba. We placed first in New York State and 11th in the National Competition. In 2011-2012, Colin Barber and I created a cello and a marimba. As a percussionist, both years, my focus was the marimba.

The task was to make two instruments prior to the competition. Then, at the competition, we had to perform a song on our instruments and answer a series of questions focused on the physics of sound and music.

Parts Used

I used standard oak wood for the frame and base. The keys of the marimba are made from African Padauk wood. The notes are elevated on felt and strung with nylon string. The resonators are made from PVC pipes spray painted gold, and the mallets are made from a bouncy ball wrapped in felt.