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The Cambridge Companion to Percussion


  • 24 b/w illus. 24 music examples
  • Page extent: 310 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.64 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9781107472433)

Percussion music is both the oldest and most recent of musical genres and exists in diverse forms throughout the world. This Companion explores percussion and rhythm from the perspectives of performers, composers, conductors, instrument builders, scholars, and cognitive scientists. Topics covered include percussion in symphony orchestras from the nineteenth century to today and the development of percussion instruments in chapters on the marimba revolution, the percussion industry, drum machines, and the effect of acoustics. Chapters also investigate drum set playing and the influences of world music on Western percussion, and outline the roles of percussionists as composers, conductors, soloists, chamber musicians, and theatrical performers. Developments in scientific research are explored in chapters on the perception of sound and the evolution of musical rhythm. This book will be a valuable resource for students, percussionists, and all those who want a deeper understanding of percussion music and rhythm.

• Explores percussion from the perspective of classical music, jazz, popular music, world music, and scientific research • Chapters are written by outstanding percussionists who are also scholars, researchers, conductors, scientists, and composers • Presents a broad overview of percussion music in the twenty-first century and explains its international influences


Introduction Russell Hartenberger; Part I. Orchestral Percussion: 1. Timpani traditions and beyond Russell Hartenberger; 2. Orchestral percussion in the twenty-first century: concerns and solutions William L. Cahn; Part II. The Development of Percussion Instruments: 3. Marimba revolution: mallet instruments, repertoire, and technique in the twenty-first century William Moersch; 4. Instrumental ingredients Garry Kvistad; 5. The percussion industry Rick Mattingly; 6. Virtual drumming: a history of electronic percussion Thomas Brett; Part III. Percussion in Performance: 7. Lost and found: percussion chamber music and the modern age Adam Sliwinski; 8. Taking center stage: percussionist as soloist Colin Currie; 9. Percussion theater: the drama of performance Aiyun Huang; 10. Three convergences: a percussionist learns to conduct Steven Schick; Part IV. Composing Music for Percussion Instruments: 11. Finding a voice Bob Becker; 12. Flexibility as a defining factor Jason Treuting; 13. Thoughts on percussion and rhythm Steve Reich; Part V. Drum Sets and Drumming: 14. In the pocket: how a drum set player grooves Peter Erskine; 15. The 'funky drummer' break: ghost notes, timbre, and popular music drumming Steven F. Pond; 16. Way beyond wood and skin: drum sets, drumming, and technology Jeff Packman; Part VI. World Percussion: 17. Speaking of rhythm Russell Hartenberger; 18. African influences on Western percussion performance and pedagogy B. Michael Williams; 19. The Gamelan Beleganjur as Balinese percussion ensemble Michael B. Bakan; Part VII. Percussion and Rhythm: 20. Lessons from the laboratory: the musical translation of scientific research on movement Michael Schutz; 21. In the beginning was the beat: evolutionary origins of musical rhythm in humans John R. Iversen.


'The Cambridge Companion to Percussion is a concise yet action-packed and concept-rich volume that, like its subject matter, strikes forcibly in the range of ideas from its contributors. The book aims broadly, its chapters cover a vast quantity of musical material, the topics are timely, and the references in the footnotes essential.' Thomas Brett, BrettWorks reviews (

'The writing is varied and informative, pleasing and revealing. The publication does a good job in informing the reading public about percussion as seen by performers, educators, composers and conductors. This book deserves a place in library and personal collections worldwide.' National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors Journal

'… the volume comprises fairly focused essays, on a variety of topics, that taken together provide an effective overview of the richly varied world of modern percussion … [and] is particularly valuable and should be required reading for any student hoping to embark on an orchestral career.' CHOICE

'… this reviewer highly recommends … a thorough read regarding the field of percussion music education which is represented in many colleges and universities. The writing is varied and informative, pleasing and revealing. The publication does a good job in informing the reading public about percussion as seen by performers, educators, composers and conductors. This book deserves a place in library and personal collections worldwide.' Geary Larrick, Nacwpi Journal

'This is another fine addition to the Cambridge Companion series and is essential for all libraries supporting percussion studies and research. It also provides thoughtful and entertaining reading for the player or listener who wants deeper insight into this wide-ranging discipline.' Russ Girsberger, Notes


Russell Hartenberger, William L. Cahn, William Moersch, Garry Kvistad, Rick Mattingly, Thomas Brett, Adam Sliwinski, Colin Currie, Aiyun Huang, Steven Schick, Bob Becker, Jason Treuting, Steve Reich, Peter Erskine, Steven F. Pond, Jeff Packman, B. Michael Williams, Michael B. Bakan, Michael Schutz, John R. Iversen

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