First Advisor

Guyver, Russell, 1953-

Second Advisor

Barrier, Gray

Document Type


Date Created



Theater percussion, as it shall be referred to for the purpose of this dissertation, is an existing, yet unnamed, genre characterized by a systematic approach of combining percussion with extra-musical components that tap into senses or aspects of sentiment - visually, aurally, and emotionally, and are made possible with the use of compositional additives - acting, movement, text, and multimedia avenues such as audio and video. To complete the process, these extra-musical elements are combined with the main musical influence - a composition for percussion ensemble or soloist. Several pieces in this style have and continue to be performed by ensembles around the world, although I will be focusing on three works that fit perfectly to the theater percussion archetype. These are Living Room Music by John Cage, ?Corporel by Vinko Globokar, and Alice on Time written by myself. Through research of this style it can be determined that theater percussion is a common compositional technique. However, without a name or direct affiliation to any one musical genre, its current status provides a vague, cross-categorization of compositional species, and is at risk of becoming an extinct performance art subgenre. In addition to investigating its place in music history, the process of naming and defining serve to provide a richer understanding of this style and will ideally result in a renewed and enhanced interest from performers and audiences alike.

Abstract Format



Music; Performing arts; Drama; Percussion; Stage; Theater


151 pages

Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by author.