Varese: Ionisation

Edition Zeza
Weight 1.80 LBS
Difficulty Advanced
Instrumentation 13 Players, see description
Duration 5-6 min.
Set of Parts 1 Full Score, 1 part for each player
Score Type Required


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. In the journal Tempo, percussionist Brian Holder writes, "The work presented the important notion that unpitched percussion (with piano and other pitched instruments coming in at the end) could stand alone as a serious form of concert music – a relatively unexplored concept at the time."

The piece is scored for 13 players:

    1. large Chinese cymbal, very deep bass drum, cowbell
    2. gong, high and low tam-tams, cowbell
    3. bongos, tenor drum, medium and deep bass drums (laid flat)
    4. field drum, tenor drum
    5. high siren, lion's roar
    6. low siren, whip, guiro
    7. 3 Chinese blocks, claves, triangle
    8. snare drum without snares, high and low maracas
    9. tarole (a kind of piccolo snare drum), snare drum, suspended cymbal
    10. clash cymbals, sleigh bells, chimes
    11. guiro, castanets, glockenspiel
    12. tambourine, 2 anvils, very deep tam-tam
    13. whip, sleigh bells, triangle, piano

13 Players, see description
5-6 min.
Set of Parts:
1 Full Score, 1 part for each player