Adjusting Keyboard Roll Speed


Forgive me if this has been addressed, but is there a way to adjust the roll speed on marimbas/vibes etc.? I'm working on something that needs a slower, more mellow sounding roll.

Eric - there are a couple things you can explore. As far as the actual [i]recorded[/i] marimba/timpani/xylo rolls, they're recorded at certain speeds and velocities, so there will be some limitation there. However, during the spot you wish to hear a more mellow sounding roll, you might try lowering the velocity to about 63 which may actually call up a softer performance of the roll in question. If that's still not to your liking, I'd suggest acually [i]writing[/i] the notes of the roll (with the roll controller turned off of course). I've actually started doing this quite a bit when I'm looking for a customized permutation or roll speed.

This may sound like a lot of steps, but actually it's not too bad. Essentially, you'll write out the actual rhythm of the roll (i.e. 6-tuplets or 5-lets) with the actual stickings. You may have to play around a little bit to see what rhythm works best for the piece. Once you've got that to your liking, you'll have an ugly bit of notation to look at, so if you want to get rid of that, select all of the notes in question, move them to a new voice/layer and hide them. Then in the original voice/layer, write the actual roll as you'd expect to see it notated (i.e. half note with 3 slashes). Then on these newly entered ";clean notation"; notes (don't touch the hidden notes in layer 2), then set them to [i]not[/i] play back. I'm not sure how this is done in Finale, but in Sibelius, once you've selected the notes, just UNclick the checkbox that says ";play on pass 1"; (or 2 etc. if this phrase is part of a repeat). Now your players will see a nice clean notation, while the hidden ";ugly"; notation is what you'll hear to play back your customized roll. Using keyboard shortcuts, this process  is actually very fast (depending on the complexity or length of the rolled passage).


Sounds good! I'll give it a try.

best... tip... EVER!


Anything that doesn't require me to have a ";print"; version of a file and a ";playback"; version is great.  Sibelius 4 with dynamic parts + this tip is a real time saver.
Login or Signup to post a comment