Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Committee Member

Dean Gronemeier

Second Committee Member

Timothy Jones

Third Committee Member

Richard Miller

Fourth Committee Member

Thomas Leslie

Fifth Committee Member

Michael Tylo

Number of Pages



Zeferino Nandayapa Ralda was the greatest Mexican marimba artist of the twentieth century. Born in Chiapas, Mexico, Zeferino was the youngest son of Norberto Nandayapa, the most well respected Mexican marimba builder of his time. Throughout Zeferino’s lifetime, he

cultivated a career that made him well-known in Mexico and firmly established the name Nandayapa as being synonymous with the word marimba. Zeferino’s career consisted of appearances as a solo artist, as a featured soloist with symphony orchestras around Mexico, as leader of marimba bands, and, many appearances abroad. He wrote many arrangements of standard Mexican folk songs, classical literature, as well as composed many original pieces. Zeferino also lead several bands throughout his career, the most famous being Marimba Nandayapa.

Zeferino’s greatest contribution to the tradition of Mexican marimba playing was his ability to keep the marimba current and appealing to the masses. He achieved this by programming popular styles of music with his marimba band. Additionally, Zeferino promoted

the marimba through numerous recordings, radio, movies and television shows. This document has been written for marimbists and non-marimbists alike. It chronicles the life and career of Zeferino Nandayapa and is for anyone who has an interest in the tradition

of Mexican Marimba playing, and what Zeferino Nandayapa Ralda accomplished throughout his life to promote and garner popularity for the instrument.


Marimba; Mexico; Nandayapa


Latin American Studies | Music

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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