Composed in , Edgard Varèse’s Ionisation is the first piece of Western classical music to be scored for an ensemble comprised solely of. Compared to those monuments, the French-American composer Edgard Varèse’s “Ionisation” barely amounts to a flyspeck. The work’s Sheet Music – £ – Edgard Varèse – Ionisation (Percussion Ensemble).

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From cymbals to sirens Ionization is composed for 13 musicians playing some 40 instruments. All these great strides forward, astonishing as they may have been, vqrese just the beginning.

Having moved to America at the age of 32, the French-born composer was deeply affected by the aural experience of living in urban New York.

Ionisation (Varèse, Edgard) – IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music

There are those indefinite in pitch, like the bass drum, snare drum, wood blocks, and cymbals; those of relatively definite musical pitch, such as the piano and chimes; those of continually moving pitch, like the sirens and ‘lion’s roar. Perspectives of New Music. Retrieved from ” https: Notify me of new comments via email. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae.

Indefinite pitch Nearly all the percussion instruments used in Ionization generate indefinite pitch, so that most of their vibrations can’t be clearly identified as a D or a G, for example. Not only did it herald the liberation of the percussion section from its traditional supportive role; it was a turning point in musical vocabulary.

This page was last edited on 24 Februaryat Ionisation then dissolves away in a shimmering mist of decaying gongs, disappearing into the same fog from which it rose.


It demonstrated how powerfully a genuine musical idea can be expressed in new sounds.

April 26, at 9: September 30, at Retrieved 30 August The World’s Encyclopaedia of Recorded Music. Ionisation proceeds as a number of miniature sections, each with a different textural character.

Avant-gardeThomas May. Well, that would count as part of the ionisatlon piece, rather than a stand-alone piece in and of itself. Ionisation combines the terrifying cacophony of the industrial world with a profound sensitivity, unlocking the sensuous, human potential of inhuman noise. Ionisation features the expansion and variation of rhythmic cellsand the title refers to the ionization of molecules.

Sound-masses in collision For the first time in the history of western music, orchestral percussion instruments were liberated from their supportive role. Alles rund um Kunst – Seite 5 says: Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the percussion section was expected to provide colour as well.

One critic described the performance as “a sock in the jaw. Giant strides in percussion Beginning inat a time when percussion instruments in the orchestra experienced unprecedented development, composers began using these instruments in response to influences as diverse as Slavic folklore or the freewheeling use of the drum set in ragtime groups. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. As the composer later described, “I was not influenced by composers as much as by natural objects and physical phenomena.

The next section begins at 2: Pierre Grondines is a musicologist and choral conductor. Agitated figures in the drums punctuate the backdrop of bells and moaning sirens, increasing in resolve until 4: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

By the s he had become a veritable guru of twentieth-century musical creation. The Ionsation public was taken aback by the vigour and harshness of the music produced by this former disciple of the Schola cantorum. Three other instruments appear only in the last bars of the work: The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia.


Ionisation (Percussion Ensemble)

Frank Zappa often claimed that Ionisation inspired him to pursue a career in varesr. Yet what is striking about this piece of music is the degree of sensitivity with which the composer controls the instrumental timbres, achieving an understated grace and eloquence of expression which reaches far beyond more common functional uses of percussion.

His predilection for sounds outside the traditional scales was shared by electro-acoustic musicians, continually experimenting with new intervals. Views Read Edit View history. Following a brief interruption from 0: The rhythms of Ionization refer to no folkloric or exotic source and are intended to be heard as defining trajectories, masses, and tone-clusters of various densities.

There are suggestions of the characteristic sounds of modern city life.

September 30, at 9: Reinforcement, evocation, and colour From Bach to Brahms, the job of the percussion section in the orchestra had basically been to reinforce the accents already present in the musical exchange among the other instruments. This site uses cookies. The radical, innovative nature of the work was such that the New York Philharmonic percussionists who were approached to perform Ionization soon proved unable to cope with the work, and typesetters had to be called in to complete the task!