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Gardner Read: Compendium of modern instrumental techniques

Compendium of modern instrumental techniques. Read, Gardner

Compendium of modern instrumental techniques


Gardner Read

Uitgever Greenwood Publishing Group
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An important characteristic of contemporary art music has been the use of conventional instruments in unconventional ways, achieving effects undreamed of or thought impossible in the early twentieth century. Yet many of these techniques remain poorly understood with respect to both the physical procedures involved and the results in sound output. This compendium codifies these techniques, explains their production in terms of idiomatic peculiarity and limitations, and cites representative scores in which the new devices form an integral part of the composer's sonoric concepts. Citations and numerous printed examples are taken from an international selection of works by the most advanced and significant composers. Part One considers techniques and procedures that, with only slight modification, apply to all instruments: extended ranges, muting, glissandi, harmonics, percussive effects, microtones, amplification, and extramusical devices. Part Two is devoted to idiomatic techniques with specific instruments in the categories of woodwinds and brasses, percussion, harp and other plucked instruments, keyboard instruments, and strings. While demonstrating recent and radical innovations, references are made to historical beginnings of such devices in our classical music heritage.

An earlier version of this volume, Contemporary Instrumental Techniques (1976), was widely acclaimed by musicians and educators, recognized as a significant achievement in cataloging and organization and as an invaluable reference tool. Now extensively expanded, with additional techniques, new and revised explanations, and hundreds of recent citations and examples, this monumental survey is essential for any music library or serious musician. An indispensable guide for composers and orchestrators, it will also be valuable as a sourcebook for performers and teachers and as a textbook for courses in composition.


  • "Composers may well wish to study the entire volume, as they seek to determine which techniques will endure in compositional practice; but for most readers the book will serve as an excellent resource for exploring individual interests or needs. A debt of gratitude is owned the author for making so much information available in a concise and accessible form. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above." - Choice
  • "This updated volume is a welcome and necessary addition to the literature. Read's style of writing is casual and straightforward. He clearly and concisely describes numerous complex techniques, allowing the reader to visualize and understand the correct means of execution. It should hold up well to vigorous use in library and reference collections and music studios. Any composer or instrumentalist who is interested in music that incorporates the ever-expanding range of techniques that the 20th century has engendered will want to have this book close at hand. Compendium of Modern Instrumental Techniques is highly recommended for composers, instrumental students and teachers and all music libraries." - Music Reference Services Quarterly
(ISBN 9780313285127)