The history of multi-percussion is a collection of social and musical influences beginning largely during the early Twentieth century. The Industrial Revolution began in the mid-1760s and ended approximately 1830. During this time, many innovations in machinery and enhancements of everyday life were born, including electricity, which was explored during the second revolution. Manufacturing processes of metals, such as iron and steel, allowed for the development of new modes of transportation, steam power allowed for quicker and more efficiently powered trains to move cross country, and the development of the automobile and the airplane made virtually every corner of the world accessible for the distribution of goods and people and their cultures.

 

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The world was getting louder and artists were quick to embrace the opportunity to put their opinions out into the world via their art. These Futurists accepted noise as the new music of world, creating instruments such as the “exploder.”

 

(Photo by http://i.telegraph.co.uk)

(Photo by http://i.telegraph.co.uk)

The dissolution of tonality played a major role in the development of multi-percussion. The atonality of the Second Viennese School brought new compositional processes to percussion writers.

 

(Photo by REX/Courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by REX/Courtesy Everett Collection)

The Impressionists such as Debussy challenged the stability and requirement of traditional tonalities by using pentatonic, octatonic, and whole tone scales.

 

(Photo by theguardian.com)

(Photo by theguardian.com)

The rejection of tradition of Romanticism and Impressionism also helped to shape the landscape of percussion music, an area which was accepted as an experimental playground.

 

(Photo by allaboutjazz.com)

(Photo by allaboutjazz.com)

The consolidation of personnel, instruments, and implements within jazz is perhaps the single most important influence on multi-percussion development. The drum set is one of the newest of instruments to the standard percussion collection and continues to be reinvented.

 

(Photo by http://johncagetrust.blogspot.com)

(Photo by http://johncagetrust.blogspot.com)

The West Coast composers John Cage and Lou Harrison brought found objects to the collection of percussion closets everywhere.

 

Psappha

Because percussion was a fertile ground for experimentation, all aspects were deemed “up for grabs.” Composers have since experimented with notational systems.

 

(Photo by https://welltempered.files.wordpress.com)

(Photo by https://welltempered.files.wordpress.com)

Many composers ask the performer to discover their own sound for a piece by simply indicating instrumentation as “wood, skin, metal.”

 

(Photo by http://www.artsatl.com)

(Photo by http://www.artsatl.com)

Electronics are increasingly important in the compositions of multi-percussion music provide a fresh sound and interest in multi-percussion.

 

(Photo by Dmitry Shchelkin)

(Photo by Dmitry Shchelkin)

The size of pieces have been taken to the extremes in the last few decades.

 

(Photo by New York Times)

(Photo by New York Times)

(Photo by zimbio.com)

(Photo by zimbio.com)

(Photo by http://www.standard.co.uk)

(Photo by http://www.standard.co.uk)

SÖ Percussion, Colin Currie, Amadinda Percussion Group, and Evelyn Glennie perform regularly on the most visible stages in the world, making the multi-percussion genre an elevated and vital aspect of percussion playing.