Skip to main content

Hello fellow vibists,

I hope I posted this in the right section! I am looking for some suggestions of classical pieces for vibes. I play mostly jazz, but while I was in college I played classical marimba, for example Keiko Abe pieces. (Ah, I miss having access to a marimba!) Anyway, I am looking to broaden my vibes repertoire with a variety of modern classical pieces.

I appreciate any suggestions you have, thanks!



DanaSud Mon, 09/07/2009 - 19:06

Hi Jenn,

There is a book dedicated to this by Ian Finkel called "Solos for the Vibraphone Player" (Hal Leonard)

After that there are some solo pieces I have worked through:

"Sonata for Vibraphone and Piano" by Paul Bernadin

"Sonatina for Vibraharp" by Brad Stirtz

Of course David Friedman has a book of pieces which are beautiful and challenging, some of which are in a "classical" vein. I am sorry to say I don't know the title. When I went to look for my copy, I couldn't find it :( I'm not talking about "Dampening and Pedaling".

That's all I got off the top of my head.

David Friedman Tue, 09/08/2009 - 05:46

In reply to by tonymiceli

Hi Jenn,

I have another book of solo vibraphone pieces, "Mirror from Another", published by Hal Leonard. I also have a fairly new solo vibe piece called "Texas Hoedown", published by Norsk Musikforlag" and available through Steve Weiss music. My marimba pieces are also published by Norskmusikforlag and available through Steve Weiss.

If you're looking for an extremely challenging contemporary piece for solo vibraphone using extended techniques, check out "Mourning Dove Sonnet" by Christopher Dean. It's a wonderful piece. There's also a french vibraphonist, Frank Tortillier who has written several solo vibraphone pieces. I know that his publisher(I've forgotten the name) publishes quite a few pieces by contemporary french composers; not always my cup of tea, but certainly worth checking out.


Eric Tue, 09/08/2009 - 11:38

In reply to by David Friedman

I'm glad you brought up "Mourning Dove Sonnet," Mr. Friedman. I got a great deal out of learning that piece. Mr. Deane also has another piece for vibraphone that I love called "The Apocryphal Still Life."

If you want something with less extended techniques, there is also a collection by Richard Gibson. It's listed in Steve Weiss' catalog as "Wallflower, Snowbird, Carillon." These don't have as many extended techniques as the Deane pieces, but they are definitely worth a listen.

Eric Martin

jenn Sun, 09/13/2009 - 17:21

In reply to by Marie-Noëlle

Thanks for the responses! I am checking them all out.

I don't have a website yet...was hoping to get to that this summer and now I've been too busy with the start of the school year and a new teaching job. I have a small profile here:


Marie-Noëlle Sun, 09/13/2009 - 17:32

In reply to by jenn

Thanks Jenna.

I hope you can find what you expected from these suggestions.

You know there are quite easy ways to present yourself (pics, tunes, vids...), through myspace or facebook. Shouldn't require too much time, at least for a good start. I saw you are composing and arranging. Would be great to hear you play!

I see you online quite often these days. It's cool: we all think there are not enough vibes women. FYI we nicely call them "Milt in Skirt".

So once more: welcome on board! :o)


wiliscool Sat, 05/28/2011 - 20:22

In reply to by jenn

Hey jenn,
Sorry to respond to such an old post, but i didnt see anyone say this:

Its useful to keep in mind that the vibraphone fits the range of a violin quite well, and many classical violin pieces can be played. My personal favorite to do this with is Bach's violin partitas. I also saw a video once of someone playing a bach piano prelude on vibraphone, although that may sometimes be impossible to play on vibraphone, with the right piece, and a few minor octave displacements, it can be very do-able.

Good luck


dritske Thu, 10/28/2010 - 19:20

Hi Jenn,

While browsing I found this old topic, but I still wanted to leave a reply.
It's really worth checking out the Preludes by Louis Cauberghs.
You can find them here or here.

I hope you still get to read my very late reply :)


brumc Sat, 10/30/2010 - 11:31

Contemplation by Murray Houllif is very cool. A mix of contemporary and jazz harmony and pretty challenging technically.

The solos found in Victor Feldman's compilation "All Alone by the Vibraphone", are a bit more approachable but well constructed and fun to play. Definitely more directly related to jazz playing.

JasonD Sun, 10/31/2010 - 14:49

Hey Jenn,

If you're into something really contemporary and (in my opinion) very cool, check out Bruce Hamilton's "Interzones" for solo vibraphone and soundscape accompaniment. I played it on my senior recital and it was one of the most fun projects I've ever worked on (also one of the hardest).

You can find and listen at

I am also a huge fan of Mark Glentworth's "Blues for Gilbert," which is a sort of standard in college vibraphone repertoire.


Wyld_Thing Sun, 03/06/2011 - 11:34

Chick Corea's Children's Songs. They're originally for solo piano, but because they're pretty simple some of them transcribe nicely for vibes. There's a clip of Gary Burton and and Chick playing an arrangement here:
They're really beautiful.

Also, for something that's a bit 'in between' classical and jazz, try 'Jazz Suite' by Richard Michael. This has some improv in it, but also a lot of notated chordal and linear passages which are really good to get your mallets round. There's a recording of me playing one movement of it here:


Philippe Mace Sun, 03/20/2011 - 17:42

Hi Jenn,
Of course like you said there is more classical-contemporary pieces for marimba than vibraphone.
But there is also some interesting pieces for vibraphone.
Starting by the pieces by David Friedman he told you about which sounds great and are really well writed for the instrument.
I give you a short list of pieces writed by contemporary composers if you are interrested by avant-garde music.
Most of them are really tricky and need to be played by advanced players. Some sounds great to me, some not so much, it depenses of your taste !
I dont' have the publishers.

- Shorts stories by Martin Matalon
- Omar I et II by Franco Donatoni
- Nuages noirs by Denisov
- Lettre inachevée by Luis Naon
- Loops II by Philippe Hurel
- Études by François Narboni
- The Links series by Stuart Saunders Smith (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10)
- Solo by Philippe Manoury
- Melancolia by François Narboni
- Monodrame IV by Yoshihisa Taïra
- Linde by daniel Alejandro Almada (vibraphone and electronic)
- Vibra Elufa by Karlheinz Stockhausen
- Losing Touch by Edmund Campion (vibraphone and electronic)

You have pieces which sounds more classical by the french composer and mallet player Emmanuel Séjourné.
Concerto for vibraphone and percussion, concerto for vibraphone and strings.

Good luck.

Chris Hull Thu, 05/08/2014 - 13:34

In reply to by Philippe Mace

I like your list! Like Jenn, I also studied at a classical/conservatory-style school. The Links series and Vibra Elufa are both favourites of mine. I'd add:
-Concerto Piccolino by Milton Babbitt
-Mourning Dove Sonnet, and:
-Apocryphal Still Life, both by Christopher Deane

Also, if you can conjure up two marimba accompanists (it's basically a vibraphone solo with some marimba accompaniment) and a handful of crotales, Toru Takemitsu's Rain Tree is one of my favourite works of all time. I've played it a couple of times, and it's always a joy.
I think there's something about how mellow the tone of the vibraphone is that makes all this atonal music fit so beautifully on it...they are some challenging pieces, but are just a pleasure to play.

gloria krolak Mon, 03/21/2011 - 16:46

The Classical Jazz Quartet has CDs of Bach, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky (Nutcracker). Stefon Harris on the vibes. I don't know if that helps you. Hope so.

John Keene Mon, 05/30/2011 - 08:24

I've been thinking about this recently as a result of asking classical players what kind of gigs they do to fill in the blanks between teaching and orchestra gigs. Many said that they play wedding ceremonies since the music is all reading and not improv. However, the current market suggests that the ceremony musicians are also asked to play the cocktail/dinner hour in addition to the ceremony when both are in the same location, and the classical repertoire doesn't really work all that well over the noise and more uptempo-setting of the post-ceremony agenda. I'm convinced that this opens a door for vibes players that few if any have explored (in the U.S. as I am not acquainted with European ceremony customs).

It seems to me that there is a tremendous market for a vibraphone player to apply their training and skills to generating more income by playing wedding ceremonies. The money is good, the music is good, the hours are short, and generally there are no surprises since the playlist is set in advance. It is an ideal instrument for outdoor weddings since a piano is non-available and it also keeps the music acoustic as opposed to using an electronic keyboard.

So what I'm envisioning is a trio or quartet - two violins, cello, and vibraharp playing classical music, or substituting flute for the second violin. There are two repertoire books called "Music for Three" that have all of the music arranged and orchestrated; it's just a matter of learning it.

So what would be the pieces to learn? Probably easier than one would guess. I would suggest visiting the website of any string quartets known for doing weddings in one's city, and then look at their selection list and especially their mp3 demos. 99% of the selections are going to be the classical "hits," referring to pieces that the guests would easily recognize: Pachelbel's Canon, Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary, Handel's Air from Water Music, Vivaldi's Spring from the Four Seasons, and the hits list goes on.

Obviously, a vibes player (who I would refer to as a "vibraharpist" since that sounds more formal) would have to have an affinity for this kind of music to begin with, but as I read about vibists complaining about not getting gigs I remain surprised that few have really explored this area at all. As the economy continues to go up and down, one thing stays constant - people keep marrying and burying and those musicians who fill that need are going to keep working.

[re-edited for clarity]

tonymiceli Mon, 05/30/2011 - 19:30


i have a book coming from switzerland with 12?? etudes in them.

when the book comes i'll post some of the mp3s. if you think you can handle them and would record and post one of the etudes here, i'll send you the book! but you'd have to pay us back with a performance of one of the etudes.

keep an eye out for the book, i'll post something when i get it!

chuckempire Sun, 10/30/2011 - 08:37

There's some very new vibraphone repertoire published by Edition Svitzer which is great!

in particular - "A Farewell to Those Left Behind" by Tim Ferchen is a great, melody driven, modern classical style piece.

There's some pretty amazing arrangements by Max Leth in "Tales for Vibraphone" as well. I think we'll probably see more of this book in the college recital world over the next few years.

I can see that Daniel Berg has some pieces up there as well, but they might be a bit too much in etude land.

Anders Åstrand has published some duos for vibraphone and marimba there as well, if you ever go that direction. The duos on svitzer were written for Daniel Berg's and Fredrik Duvling's duo so they're not easy pieces.

In the hardcore contemporary classical world - The "Links" series for vibraphone are about as hard as you can get! I spent a long time learning Links No. 1.

Losing Touch for Vibraphone with Electronic Tape by Campion is also an amazing piece and very difficult. I have a video up of that work in a recital: (about 13:30 in that video).

The problem with Losing Touch is that the publisher will only RENT the stereo tape part and the CD that comes with the music is only meant for "practice and student recitals". So it's a bit hard to get it out of the school of music (at least if you're trying to do the right thing by the publisher). You also need to use a click through headphones for this piece so it's not easy to play it unless there are other electronic works on a program because the setup is kind of involved.

I can third or fourth or wherever we're up to on Mirror From Another. That music great, I've played them at lots of little concerts and recitals. (So thanks for those David!)


ulf Sat, 03/28/2015 - 20:40

Dear Jenn and everybody interested in classical compositions !

I´m a bit late for this thread, but I would like to point at
This is the biggest shop in Germany for percussion music.
I often use it's catalogue as a starting point when I am searching for compositions to play.
I don't know whether Brandt will ship to USA, but at least you can have a look to the catalogue.
There are tons of titles !
Surely there are similar possibilities in the USA or elsewhere ?

Kind regards, yours Ulf