Keiko Abe, a prominent figure behind the development of the marimba
Before about 40 years ago, the marimba had a range of four octaves, and there were not that many songs for the marimba. It was thanks to a Japanese marimba player, Keiko Abe, that the marimba is now recognized as a solo instrument. Ms. Abe espoused the wonder of the marimba through performances and lessons conducted around the world, and she was involved with Yamaha in the development of new marimbas. It is because of her strong desire to play a greater variety of songs that today's five-octave instruments exist. Ms. Abe continues to be active at the forefront of the marimba, asking composers to write numerous new songs for the marimba, creating arrangements of violin and piano songs, enthusiastically performing with orchestras, and so forth.