Medium/Advanced Marimba Solo
by Charles Chaplin, arr. Alex Stopa
Instrumentation: Marimba (5-octave, low C)
“Smile” was composed in 1936 as the love theme for Charlie Chaplin’s acclaimed final silent movie Modern Times. (Even though the characters never spoke, earning the movie its “silent” moniker, there were sound effects and a score.) Some two decades later John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added lyrics to Chaplin’s melody, and in 1954 “Smile,” sung by Nat King Cole on Capitol records, landed a spot on the Billboard charts. With its simple melody and optimistic lyrics, “Smile” is loved the world over and remains heartwarming and timeless almost a century after it was written.
Alex Stopa’s arrangement for solo marimba highlights the warm and mellow characteristics of the middle to lower register of the instrument while giving a casual tip of the hat to ragtime pianists such as Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller and Jelly Roll Morton. Playable by intermediate marimbists and familiar to audiences, “Smile” is sure to be a winning choice for percussion recitals and festivals!