I'm completely new to keyboard mallet percussion and, for now, working without a teacher. I'm going through basic exercises such as those in G. H. Green's Instruction Course for Xylophone. I'm not certain how to interpret hand notation on the very first exercises on pp. 6 & 7; e.g., is Exercise #9 to be played with the right hand only? Similarly with this selection where the notation switches from alternate to just notating one hand:

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I suppose this should be head-slappingly obvious but as a beginner I don't want to head down the wrong path by practicing incorrectly since most sticking direction strongly emphasizes alternating hands.


1 Answer 1


It works just like as any 2 hand/stick based percussion: whenever hand notation is not specified, it's assumed that you have to alternate hands, eventually starting from the last specified hand, if any.

Being this a beginner's book, there are sections in which the hands have to be explicitly written in order to introduce the student to the exercise, but a few notes after that they are gradually removed, and only reintroduced when there are changes that require clarifications.

This is clear in the image you posted: it begins with alternate (single) strokes in the first two quarters of the first bar, then it just writes the first hand out of four notes, but since the same note structure is kept you can assume that you just have to keep alternating your hands.

The full hand marking only returns at the end of the second bar, where the double right is introduced, which is required due to the change of structure that comes after that; the same happens at the very end when the exercise has to be repeated again.

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