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Edgard Varèse

Edgard Varèse

Subtitle: For Percussion Ensemble of 13 Players

General Info

Year: 1931 / 1933 / 2000
Duration: c. 5:25
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ricordi
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €26.90


Full Score
Piano (played by Player 13)
Percussion (13 players), including:

  • Anvil (2)
  • Bass Drum (medium, large, extra large)
  • Bongos (2)
  • Castanets
  • Chimes
  • Claves
  • Cowbell
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Field Drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong
  • Guiro
  • Lion's Roar
  • Maracas
  • Siren, high and low
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Snare Drum (2)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam (3)
  • Tarole
  • Temple Blocks (3)
  • Tenor Drum (2)
  • Triangle (2)
  • Whip


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Ionisation (1929–1931) is a musical composition by Edgard Varèse written for thirteen percussionists. It was among the first concert hall compositions for percussion ensemble alone, although Alexander Tcherepnin had composed an entire movement for percussion alone in his Symphony No. 1 from 1927. The premiere was at Carnegie Chapter Hall, an annex to New York City's Carnegie Hall, on March 6, 1933, conducted by Nicolas Slonimsky, to whom the piece was later dedicated. One critic described the performance as "a sock in the jaw."

Ionisation features the expansion and variation of rhythmic cells, and the title refers to the ionization of molecules. As the composer later described, "I was not influenced by composers as much as by natural objects and physical phenomena."

Frank Zappa often claimed that Ionisation inspired him to pursue a career in music.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Ionisation, Wikipedia Accessed 23 January 2019
  • Varèse, E. (2000). Ionisation : For Percussion Ensemble of 13 Players [score]. Ricordi: Milano, Italy.