Artful Noise

Percussion Literature in the Twentieth Century
Author: Thomas Siwe
The authoritative text on the artists, works, and innovations of the percussion revolution
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 07/27/2020
Cloth: 07/27/2020
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About the Book

Twentieth-century composers created thousands of original works for solo percussion and percussion ensemble. Concise and ideal for the classroom, Artful Noise offers an essential and much-needed survey of this unique literature.

Percussionist Thomas Siwe organizes and analyzes the groundbreaking musical literature that arose during the twentieth century. Focusing on innovations in style and the evolution of the percussion ensemble, Siwe offers a historical overview that connects the music to scoring techniques, new instrumentation and evolving technologies as well as world events. Discussions of representative pieces by seminal composers examine the resources a work requires, its construction, and how it relates to other styles that developed during the same period. In addition, Siwe details the form and purpose of many of the compositions while providing background information on noteworthy artists. Each chapter is supported with musical examples and concludes with a short list of related works specifically designed to steer musicians and instructors alike toward profitable explorations of composers, styles, and eras.

About the Author

Thomas Siwe is a professor emeritus of music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Percussion: A Course of Study for the Future Band and Orchestra Director and Ten Hall of Fame Snare Drum Solos, and a member of the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame.


"Recommended." --Choice

"The author's perspective as a student, and later pedagogue, of the percussion program pioneered at the University of Illinois lends the work a humble authority that ultimately makes for a compelling account of recent percussion history." --Music Educators Journal


"This book makes it possible for everyone to benefit from Professor Siwe’s decades of research concerning the history of percussion in the twentieth-century and the music composed by many of that century’s most important composers. Percussion music holds a special place in the twentieth century, and its story is told here by one of the twentieth century’s most knowledgeable percussion practitioners and pedagogues. Thomas Siwe has written an indispensable book, drawn from a lifetime of experience and research. Everyone interested in the essential role percussion played in the last century should read this book!"--Christopher Shultis, author of Silencing the Sounded Self: John Cage and the American Experimental Tradition

"Simply stated, this is a singular contribution detailing the history of percussion literature in the twentieth century made by one of the most knowledgeable percussion educators who was witness to many of the composers and compositions he discusses."--Kathleen Kastner, Wheaton College Conservatory of Music