Bertie Marshall – Icon of our culture

Trinidad and Tobago has lost another of its cultural masters. Bertram “Bertie” Marshall has passed away on Wednesday 17th Ocober 2012. He was 76. Pan innovator Bertie Marshall is the inventor of the Double Tenor Steelpan.He was born in 1936 in Port of Spain and by 18 he was tuning steelpans..

‘Mr. Marshall was dissatisfied with what he called ping pong’s inferior tone. By 1956 Bertie Marshall had accomplished the most significant development in today’s steelpan tone, revolutionizing the method of tuning, by changing the instrument from the inharmonic style. By tuning the notes by octaves and introducing complex tuning techniques he produced harmonics, giving the steelpan its complex sound. By discovering and establishing this harmonic tuning method he is singularly responsible for the sound of today’s frontline steelband instruments, brightening the overall sound in the process’

Bertie Marshall tuning steelpan


The Order of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago (2008)

Chaconia Gold Medal, given for “Outstanding Service to the Country” (1992)

Two awards at the World Steelband Festival 2000, one “For Innovation and Contribution in Respect of the Steel Drum” and the other being the largest award given at the Festival, “Pan Trinbago and Signature 2000 Salute Bertie Marshall Steelpan Innovator Extraordinaire”




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