The evolution of percussion and the new challenges for percussionists

eclecticism or specialization




percussion, evolution, repertoire, eclecticism, specialization


This work presents an overview of the evolution and the multiplicity of percussion, particularly from the 20th century onwards. Consequently, it discusses the challenges that the current percussionist faces dealing with this phenomenon, from the creation and improvement of various instruments, the development of different techniques and the emergence of a vast repertoire for different instruments and musical styles, in a global context and also a Brazilian one. This means that most percussionists find themselves at some point in a paradox between the search for eclecticism when facing this huge diversity or a greater specialization in just one or a few of the instruments and/or styles addressed. It will be also discussed how percussion teaching institutions have been dealing with this specific issues.


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Author Biography

Eduardo Flores Gianesella, Arts Institute of the State of São Paulo University “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”, Brazil

Eduardo Gianesella is a professor of percussion at the UNESP Arts Institute since 1993, where he co-directs the Percussion Group PIAP. He obtained a doctorate in Musicology from ECA/USP in 2009, which resulted in the book "Brazilian orchestral percussion: editorial and interpretive problems" published in 2012 by Editora UNESP. He completed his Masters in Music (percussion performance) at the Eastman School of Music - University of Rochester in 1990, with a CNPq scholarship. He obtained a Bachelor of Music - Percussion from the UNESP Institute of Arts in 1987 and graduated in Percussion at the Tatuí Conservatory in 1982. In addition to having integrated several orchestras, he was a percussionist for the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra from 1994 to 2022, and has participated as a percussion teacher in the main music courses and festivals in Brazil, such as FEMUSC and the Campos do Jordão Winter Festival, among others. He has taught courses and masterclasses in several countries and has performed numerous music premieres and recordings, in addition to several international tours with the various groups in which he plays.


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How to Cite

Gianesella, Eduardo Flores. 2023. “The Evolution of Percussion and the New Challenges for Percussionists: Eclecticism or Specialization”. Per Musi 24 (October):1-28.



Thematic Session RePercussions