The front ensemble in a band, also known as pit, is a percussion section that stands in front of the band and does not march. This is because the instruments played by the front ensemble, unlike those played by drumline, are too big to be marched.
The front ensemble consists a wide variety of instruments including xylophones, vibraphones, marimbas, timpani, bells, chimes, gongs, cymbals, bass drums, and electronic instruments, as well as other auxiliary percussion. The pit generally gets its tempo from the Drumline and sometimes the drum majors. However, the band cannot listen to the pit, or they will get off tempo due to the sound delay.
Mallet Percussion Edit
Mallet percussion primarily consists of the marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, and glockenspiel. Mallet percussionists typically play supporting melodies in marching band. Mallet percussionists usually use two or four mallets when playing.
The marimba is a large wooden keyboard usually ranging from four to five octaves. Marimbists usually use yarn mallets when playing.
The vibraphone is a metallic usually smaller than the marimba, ranging from three to four octaves. Unlike other keyboards, the vibraphone has a dampener pedal. When not pedaled, notes played on the vibraphone are staccato and do not resonate. When pedaled, the notes resonate after being played. Vibraphonists usually use cord mallets.
The xylophone is a smaller wooden keyboard ranging around three octaves. Xylophonists usually use hard plastic mallets. The sound of the xylophone resonates very little. Xylophonists often play runs.
The glockenspiel is a small metallic keyboard with a range from two to three octaves. Glockenspiel parts often consist of the melody. Some glockenspiels have a pedal that allows for muting and resonating notes similar to the vibraphone.
Chimes, also known as tubular bells, are a set of large vertical bars that produce a sound like bells from a bell tower when struck.
Crotales are tuned cymbals arranged similar to a keyboard. Crotales are struck with hard mallets and produce a lower-pitched sound that resonates longer than the glockenspiel.