Josh Gottry: "forFOUR - 7 Solos for Developing 4 Mallet Technique"

Josh Gottry: "forFOUR - 7 Solos for Developing 4 Mallet Technique"

Marimba Literature Library:
"forFOUR - 7 Solos for Developing 4 Mallet Technique" by Josh Gottry

Welcome to another installment of 100+ "standard" pieces that will comprise our MARIMBA LITERATURE LIBRARY - recorded by some of the most talented percussionists in the country. In this new video, Josh Gottry performs his solo collection entitled "forFOUR - 7 Solos for Developing 4 Mallet Technique".

You can use the chapter links in the playbar to quickly jump to a solo of your choice:


00:00 – 1. Double Dip
01:34 – 2. Triple Vision
03:38 – 3. A Little Mixer
04:57 – 4. Feeling One
06:16 – 5. Chorale Without Time
09:21 – 6. Groove
10:39 – 7. Bac-a-tu Ba


Josh Gottry's ForFour is loaded with excellent solos and exercises for the advancing mallet player. For each solo in this wonderful collection, there is a full page of exercises meant for technical development (concentrating on the strokes being used in the piece) and piece preparation (concentrating on specific patterns found in the piece). This is a great method book for those just learning how to play with 4 mallets. You will find that For Four really fills a gap in the early 4-mallet marimba literature.

Genre: Marimba (4-mallet) | # of Players: 1
Level: Medium Easy | Duration: 10:00

Marimba (4.3-octave)


From Josh Gottry:

In 2007, C. Alan Publication released my collection of seven original solos for developing 4-mallet marimba technique in a book entitled forFOUR. Since that time, many individuals, percussion studios, and school percussion programs have used these solos for study and performance. I occasionally receive e-mails inquiring about my mallet choice for each of the pieces in this collection, so as follows is a brief description of each piece, along with the mallets I typically recommend to my students or use when I perform these selections.


“Double Dip” – This piece is specifically intended to work double vertical strokes in fairly static intervals. Other than in the last few measures, only one hand is moving at any time and the intervals within each hand remain consistent within each phrase. For those playing with a cross grip, I recommend 41R. For those using Stevens grip, I suggest 213B.


“Triple Vision” – This solo is designed to work single alternating strokes in the left hand (in a static perfect fifth interval) and single independent strokes in the right hand. Either the 324 (Titanium series) or 84 (Contemporary series) work particularly well for this movement and help the performer maintain a warm resonant sound while still providing enough articulation for the flowing eighth-note figures in 12/8 time.


“A Little Mixer” – This selection is also composed to help students working on single alternating and single independent strokes, in this case, particularly in smaller intervals. As opposed to the first two selections which exclusively use the natural notes on the keyboard, this solo features only the pentatonic notes on the upper manual of the marimba. For this piece, I recommend the 323 mallets from the Titanium series.


“Feeling One” – This is the first solo to utilize three different stroke types: single independent (primarily in inner-mallet, alternating-hand scale figures), single alternating strokes (in a 1, 2, 3, 4 arpeggiated figure), and double vertical strokes (in small intervals, primarily seconds and thirds). This piece spends a lot of time in the mid-to-lower range of the marimba, so the 324s in the Titanium series are a great choice to provide fullness and a nice, round articulation.


“Chorale Without Time” – This solo is a marimba chorale utilizing exclusively sustained 4-mallet chords. Looking for a mallet that provided enough weight for a full sound in the lower register, while still being light enough to manage larger intervals and soft dynamics, I found the 84s (Contemporary series) to be the ideal choice for this work.


“Groove” – As you can guess from the title, this is a groove based solo with syncopated rhythmic figures and engaging ostinatos. It is also the first piece to use all four stroke types, including the double lateral stroke. The range of this piece spans almost the entirety of a 4.3-octave marimba and the mallets must be articulate in the upper register, but full and round in the lower range. I’ve found the best choice to be the 123s from the Super Vibe series, a slightly heavier mallet that provides consistent articulation in all registers. If you prefer a lighter mallet, the 83s (Contemporary series) are also an excellent choice.


“Bac-a-tu Ba” – This solo was originally composed in the early 2000s to be used as an Arizona all-state percussion ensemble audition piece. The work makes use of all four stroke types, and includes passages where both hands work together as well as one phrase where the left hand serves as accompaniment to the melody in the right hand. This solo utilizes primarily the middle range of the marimba and includes grace notes and interesting rhythmic figures that sound great when performed with the 323s from the Titanium series.


Josh Gottry (b. 1974) earned his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance at Northern Arizona University, his Master of Music in Composition at Arizona State University, and has successfully established himself as a respected educator, an accomplished percussionist, and an internationally recognized composer.


Mr. Gottry currently serves as adjunct music faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, teaching courses in music theory & composition, percussion, and music humanities. Additionally, he works with ensembles and students at all grade levels as a clinician and within his private lesson studio. His performance record spans over 25 years with experience including professional orchestras, musical theater, worship teams, jazz combos, community and chamber ensembles, as well as solo performances and recitals. In 2011, he was selected to serve as a teaching artist with the Arizona Commission on the Arts, presenting clinics and residencies on percussion and composition for schools and after-school programs. In 2021, his book FREELANCE: 10 Commonsense Keys to Making YOUR Music YOUR Business was published by C. Alan Publications


For more than two decades, Mr. Gottry has been creating innovative, pedagogical, and engaging new compositions and arrangements. During that time, he has been selected for numerous ASCAP Plus awards and has created over 100 published works. Having come to composition through his musical pursuits as a performer and educator, he is uniquely able to create brilliantly creative and idiomatic works that have been performed throughout the world at schools, festivals, and international conventions.


Josh Gottry is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, has been published in Percussive Notes, Rhythm! Scene, and The PAS Educators' Companion, and currently serves as editor for Rhythm! Scene. He is also a past president of the Arizona Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, a former PAS committee chair for the PAS Composition Committee, and contributed several years as a new literature reviewer for Percussive Notes. Mr. Gottry is a clinician/endorser for Balter Mallets, Meinl Percussion, Remo Drumheads, Vic Firth Drumsticks, and Yamaha Percussion, and has presented clinics at the Arizona Music Educators Association Conference, multiple state PAS days of percussion, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.