Percussive thoughts

Drummers, percussionists, shed-builders – whatever you call them they are definitely the Cinderellas of the brass band world. Often overlooked musically; they suffer complaints from others about all “their” equipment that has to be transported, constructed and put away again; rarely given any solo opportunities; often tacet for some or all of pieces of music; and seen as a novelty item when they are finally given the chance to show their skills.

Even the literature (non sheet-music) is limited – few journals and magazines exist (though there are more the last 50 years or so catering for the rock/pop drummer), articles and books are also relatively scarce.

It took many years before brass bands included more than the basic snare drum and bass drum to provide a beat, together with clash cymbals. The drum kit then put in an appearance and, gradually, over the years more extensive percussion sections were built up by bands, as and when their finances allowed. The music written for bands took a while to catch up with the percussion sections’ capabilities until, today, we expect composers and arrangers to take full advantage of percussionists’ skills and the instruments available to enrich the musical performances.

How many percussionists can you name? Compared with other brass players?

perc01Looking through some 1930’s copies of Musical Progress & Mail for Stephen Etheridge, I came across this inserted issue 3 of “Percussion – an entertaining magazine for all drummers” which was clearly included in the subscription to MP&M. I don’t know exactly when issues 1 & 2 were published or how many others existed. Holdings data from the British Library indicate it started in 1934 and ran, at least, until 1936.

The Percussive Arts Society, which still publishes “Percussive Notes“, was formed in 1961 and the first issue of Percussive Notes came out in 1962.

 

A bibliography of percussion is given below – do you know of any other journals, books or articles that can/should be included?

Click here for the full PDF of the Percussion magazine from 1935.

Percussion Bibliography

  • Ackman, James Kent – Intermediate Percussion Methods Used in Selected Public School and Their Relationship to the Performance Requirements of State Approved Band Literature – thesis, University of Florida, 1998
  • Adair, Yvonne – Music Through The Percussion Band – Boosey and Hawkes, 1952
  • Adair, Yvonne – The Percussion Band: a Guide for Teachers – Novello, 1951
  • Aldridge, John – Guide to Vintage Drums – Centerstream, Anaheim Hills, California, 1994
  • Anon – History of the modern drum set – 2013
  • Anon – Percussion: an entertaining magazine for drummers – London [1934-1936]
  • Anon – Percussive Notes – [official journal of the Percussive Arts Society, 1962-]
  • Arvay, Brandon – A Comprehensive Method for Tuning and Pedaling Timpani – thesis, University of Kentucky, 2015
  • Aube, Meghan Georgina – Women in percussion: the emergence of women as professional percussionists in the United States, 1930-present – DMA thesis, University of Iowa, 2011
  • Avgerinos, G. – Handbuch der Schlag- und Effektinstrumente – Das Musikinstrument, Frankfurt
  • Bajzek, Dieter – Percussion: an Annotated Bibliography with Special Emphasis on Contemporary Notation and Performance – Scarcrow Press, 1988. ISBN: 0810821079
  • Barty-King, Hugh – The Drum: A Royal Tournament Tribute to the Military Drum – Royal Tournament, 1988. ISBN: 0951358804
  • Beck, John H. – Encyclopedia of Percussion – Taylor and Francis (Routledge), 2007. ISBN: 0415971233
  • Benvenga, Nancy – Timpani and the Timpanist’s Art: Musical and Technical Evolution in the 19th and 20th Centuries – Gothenburg, 1979
  • Blades, James – A Check-List of the Percussion Instruments in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments – Reid School of Music, Edinburgh, 1982
  • Blades, James – Orchestral Percussion Technique – Oxford U.P.
  • Blades, James – Percussion Instruments and their History – Praeger, New York, 1971
  • Blodgett, Jedediah Alan – Percussion Education in Secondary Public Schools: A Pilot Study Comparing the Concert Band vs. the Percussion Ensemble Approach – MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 2015
  • Caba, G. Craig – United States Military Drums 1945-1865, A Pictorial Survey – Civil War Antiquities & Americana, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1977
  • Cangany, Harry – The Great American Drums and the Companies that Made Them: 1920-1969 – Modern Drummer, Cedar Grove, New Jersey, 1996
  • Colaneri, Christopher – Incorporating Total Percussion Into The Middle School Band Program: An Examination of Practices and Methodologies For Educating The Intermediate Percussion Student – VDM Verlag, 2009. ISBN: 978-3639136425
  • Day, C.R. – Instruments of percussion – A Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Instruments Recently Exhibited at the Royal Military Exhibition, London, 1890 – Eyre & Spottiswood, London, 1891, pp. 228-234
  • de Korte, Jeremy – Drummers and drums: perceptions of percussion in early Australian bands – Band Blasts from the Past blog, March 2020 [https://bandblastsfromthepast.blog]
  • Dean, Matt – The Drum: A History – Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland, 2012. ISBN 978-0810881709
  • Denov, Sam – Cymbal Selection for Brass Band – The Brass Band Bridge – Issue 41, August 1990, pp. 10-13
  • Dobney, Jayson – 18th-Century Norwegian Drum by Christen Fjerestad Discovered – National Music Museum Newsletter – Volume 31 (4), November 2004, pp. 1-3
  • Dobney, Jayson – A Colorful Drum for a Colorful Drummer – North South Trader’s Civil War – Volume 30 (5), 2004, pp. 56-60
  • Dobney, Jayson – Creation of the Trap Set and its Development Before 1920 – Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society – Vol. 30, 2004, pp. 24-56
  • Dobney, Jayson – Decorated Drums of War – Music in Art – Vol. 41 (1-2), 2016. [Sounds of Wars and Victories: Images of Military Musicians on Battlefields and Promenades: Selected papers presented at the Thirteenth Conference of the Research Center for Music Iconography, commemorating the centennial of World War I, New York, Armistice Day 2014]
  • Dobney, Jayson – Development of the Orchestral Snare Drum in the United States – Percussive Notes – June 2004, pp. 60-67
  • Dobney, Jayson – Historic Timpani at the National Music Museum – Percussive Notes – Vol. 45 (2), April 2007, pp. 12-17
  • Dobney, Jayson – Innovations in American Snare Drums 1850-1920 – MMus thesis, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, 2003
  • Dobney, Jayson – Royal Kettledrums from the House of Hanover – Galpin Society Journal – Volume 69, April 2016, pp. 201-224
  • Girsberger, Russ – Percussion Assignments for Band and Wind Ensemble – Volume 1: A-K – Meredith Music Publications, 2004. ISBN: 978-1574630305
  • Girsberger, Russ – Percussion Assignments for Band and Wind Ensemble – Volume 2: L-Z – Meredith Music Publications, 2005. ISBN: 978-1574630312
  • Gworek, Nathaniel Richard – A Study of Percussion Pedagogical Texts and a Percussion Primer – DMA thesis, University of Connecticut, 2017
  • Harr, Haskell W. – Drum Method: For Band and Orchestra – Hal Leonard Corporation, Milwaukee, 2006. ISBN: 978-1423407720
  • Hartenberger, Russell (ed.) – The Cambridge Companion to Percussion – Cambridge University Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-1316145074
  • Hoffman, Stewart – The Band Teacher’s Percussion Guide: Insights into Playing and Teaching Percussion – Oxford University Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-0190461690
  • Holland, James – Percussion – Schirmer Books, New York, 1981
  • Howard, Joseph H. – Drums in the Americas – Oak Publications, New York, 1967
  • Kastner, Kathleen Sherry – The Emergence and Evolution of a Generalized Marimba Technique – thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1989
  • Martin, Micah A. – Percussion Instruction in Beginning Band for Programs with a Single Teacher – MA thesis, Pittsburgh State University, 2017
  • Montagu, Jeremy – Timpani and Percussion – Yale Musical Instrument Series – Yale University Press, 2002, ISBN: 0300093373
  • Myers, Thomas A. – Snare Drum Selection and Tuning for the Brass Band – The Brass Band Bridge – Issue 53, August 1993, pp. 4-7
  • Nichols, Kevin Arthur – Important works for drum set as a multiple percussion instrument – DMA thesis, University of Iowa, 2012
  • Norris, John – Marching to the Drums: A History of Military Drums and Drummers – Spellmount, 2013. ISBN: 978-0752468792
  • Overmier, D. – Troublesome Percussion Parts in Concert Band Repertoire – Instrumentalist – Vol. 55 (1), 2000, pp. 40-47
  • Peinkofer, K. and Tannigel, F. – Handbook of Percussion Instruments – their Characteristics and Playing Techniques, with Illustrations and Musical Examples from the Literature – Schott, London, 1976
  • Price, Andrea – Composing for percussion section – Brass Band World – (235) June 2014, pp. 31
  • Primatic, Stephen – Percussion Methods An Essential Resource for Educators, Conductors, and Students – Meredith Music Publications, 2015, ISBN: 978-1574633795
  • Rager, Daniel – The History of the Marimba – Music Faculty Publications, Cleveland State University, 2008
  • Richards, Emil – World of Percussion – a Catalog of 300 Standard, Ethnic, and Special Musical Instruments and Effects – Gwyn Books, Sherman Oaks, 1972
  • Rimmer, Drake – Percussion: its Place in the Brass Band, in: Frank Wright (ed.) – Brass Today – Besson & Co., London, 1957, pp. 100-102
  • Schuette, William & Armstrong, Myrna L. – Civil War Drummer Boys: Musicians, Messengers, and Medical Assistants – Military Medicine – Volume 184, Issue 1-2, January-February 2019, pp. 1-4
  • Smith, Sarah E. – Percussion Instruments in America’s Shrine to Music Museum – Percussive Notes – 37 (1), February 1999, pp. 6-10
  • Stanfield, Norman – The Tambourine and the Salvation Army: Rebellion in the Service of Authority – Canadian Folk Music – Vol. 41 (4), 2007, pp. 7-19
  • Strain, James A. – The Xylophone, Circa 1878-1930: Its Published Literature, Development as a Concert Instrument, and Use in Musical Organizations -thesis, Eastman School of Music, 1995
  • Stuart, Gregory William – A Percussionist’s Practice – thesis, University of California, San Diego, 2009
  • Taylor, Henry W. – The Art and Science of the Tympani – Baker, London, 1964
  • Vytiska, Miroslav – Bicí nástroje ve vojenských hudbách [Percussion Instruments in a military brass Bands] – Masters thesis, Akademie múzických umění v Praze, 2013
  • White, Charles L. – Drums Through the Ages – Sterling Press, Los Angeles, 1960

 

 

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