Below you will find the abstract of my doctoral dissertation. This research was done as a pilot study to determine if mallet velocity can be accurately measured during two-mallet marimba performance. Click here to view the complete publication.
The purpose of this study was to measure and report stroke velocity in two-mallet marimba performance using a tri-axial accelerometer module and LabView 5.1 data collection and display software. A review of keyboard percussion instrument pedagogy materials and a review of previous research completed in this area of study revealed a lack of information dealing with the ability to quantify stroke velocity executed by a percussionist when playing keyboard percussion instruments.
Pedagogical materials addressing keyboard percussion instruments were reviewed and three previous scholarly studies aided in the design of this study. Using a tri-axial accelerometer, a low velocity and high velocity piston stroke were measured, as well as three variations of a piston stroke as outlined by Leigh Howard Stevens in his book Method of Movement for Marimba. Stroke velocity in selected two-mallet marimba excerpts were also measured.
Data was organized by specified stroke motions and excerpts. Line graphs were used to indicate stroke velocity values calculated using a mathematical formula that converted the x, y, and z axes of acceleration values into one composite stroke velocity measurement.
The conclusion of this study indicates that stroke velocity can be quantified adhering to the outlined methods found in this research design. Further studies are needed to determine any relationship between stroke velocity and sound quality.