Theory and Composition of Percussion Music

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This book is a blend of art and science, with the art being music and the science being bibliography. The books is divided into three sections, that discuss subjects of music theory, scholarly sources and new publications from the later half of the 20th century respectively.

The first section of essays address subjects in the area of music theory especially, such as form, sound, rhythm, melody and harmony. The analytical scope ranges from ancient Greek philosophy through contemporary avant garde. Multicultural sources are included, with a base of western art music. However, as is true in the field of percussion worldwide, classical music is combined with popular and jazz musics, in addition to ethnic and educational sources.

In the second section, Books and Articles address scholarly sources such as Professor Benward, Leonard Bernstein, Dr. Cho, the Harvard Dictionary of Music, Forte, Goetschius, Goldman, Paul Hindemith, Jaques Dalcroze, Kennan, Persichetti, Piston, Rameau, Michael Rosen, Salzer, Schenker, Arnold Schoenberg, Dr. Otice Sircy, Shinichi Suzuki, Zarlino and Dr. Zarro. The format is bibliographic essays, with commentary about these notable sources as well as the inclusion of author experience that is related to the subject at hand. In this section, music theory is discussed from the Renaissance to the 20th Century.

The final section Methods and Compositions, studies new publications from the second half of the 20th Century. Composers included are Bach, Beck, Benson, Cirone, Dameron, Dinicu, Erickson, Harrison, Kraft, Molenhof, Pratt, Schinstine, Tchaikovsky, Turlet and Wasson. Pedagogues cited include Balent, Drummers Collective, Firth, Moore, Spohn, Whaley and Whistler.

Discussions incorporate scholarship, analysis, composing, teaching, history and interpretation. An effort has been made to include women in this history as well, although often the citations are from the author's professional experience. Many, many names are part of this monograph, all important people in this author's life in music for more than fifty years. A balance is maintained between classical and popular, tradition and invention, theory and composition, percussion and other instruments. Several ethnic traditions are part of this story.


“….the greatest value of this book is in the personal asides. The highs and lows of a career are brought into the open, including the pitfalls and problems that beset one fine percussionist. A career musician will value these moments and hopefully avoid the problems encountered by a peer in the field. Thus, no professional percussionist’s library will be complete without this book.” – (From the Commendatory Preface) Richard Pinnell (Ph.D., UCLA), University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

"Congratulations to MultiCultural Review's music reviewer, Geary Larrick, whose latest reference book, Theory and Composition of Percussion Music, recently appeared from Edwin Mellen Press. The book features a series of essays on music theory, practice, and research; the analytical scope ranges from ancient Greek philosophy through contempo- rary avant-garde. Multicultural sources figure prominently, as do the scholarly and practical contributions of women. In all, the theoretical and bibliographic essays balance classical and popular music, tradition and invention, percussion and other instruments, and older works and those of the late twentieth century." - Multicultural Review, Volume 13, Number 2, Fall 2004

“This study provides percussionists, scholars, and the general public with some valuable information, regarding the works of well and not so well known composers of percussion music and books. To include all of them would be an impossible task. Larrick does get into their style of writing, and to some extent their ideas, both musical and psychological; however, his constant referring to his own experiences seems to take something away from the scholarship of the book. It does seem to be his writing style as I have read his other books. Based on Larrick's previous volumes of scholarly books, Theory and Composition of Percussion Music, is a significant contribution and will provide important information to the reader.” – Professor John Beck, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

Table of Contents

Section 1 - Analytical Essays
Catalogue, Data, Drummer, Form, Harmony, Internet A, Internet B, Internet C, Melody, Review, Rhythm, Sound, Versatility, Writing, Xylophone
Section 2 - Books and Articles
Bachmann, Barry, Benward, Bernstein, Bobbitt, Boustead, Brandt, Burkhart, Cho, Cooper, Crawford, Dobrin, Dodecachordon, Evans, Findlay, Forte, Goetschius, Goldman, Heacox , Herder, Hindemith, Jaques Dalcroze, Kennan, Kliewer, Kohs, Larrick,McDonough, Miller, Persichetti, Piston, Program, Rameau, Ritterling, Rogers, Rosen, Russo, Salzer, Schenker, Schillinger, Schoenberg, Shaw, Sircy, Stephenson, Straus, Westergaard, Wheeler, Winsor, Zarlino, Zarro
Section 3 - Methods and Compositions
Bach, Balent, Balent and Hilliard, Beck, Benson, Bridge, Carroll, Cirone, Dameron, Dinicu, Drummers Collective, Erickson, Gajate Garcia, Harrison, Hernandez, Kinyon, Kraft, Larrick, Latham, Miller, Minnemann, Molenhof, Moore, New Media, Percussion Catalog, Petrella, Pratt, Rabb, Riley, Sanders, Spohn, Tschaikowsky, Turlet, Wasson, Whaley, Whistler

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