This Database is a work in progress (born 1/23/19), please check back frequently. Future edits will include determining each work's true "portability."Curated by James W. Doyle. Email me at jwdoyle@adams.eduCheck out the works for percussion ensemble by women-identifying composers database at:
ComposerTitleNumber of PlayersInstrumentationLevelHow to PurchaseNotesLengthLink to performanceBackpack?added by
Elliot Coleflowerpot music no. 128 flowerpots flowerpots are recomennded5:30 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Steve ReichClapping Music22 hand clappersmedium Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Juri SeoSpoons2spoonsAdvancedUnder performance exclusivity until April 20205:00-7:00YeaEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Alyssa WeinbergEmber22 prepared snare drums with crotales and almglockenAdvancedUnder performance exclusivity until...Emily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Maria Zajkowski, Wally GunnOre22 cymbals, 2 pipes, 2 woodblocks, 2 scap tin, bongos, kick drum (two pedals)Under performance exclusivity until April 16, 2019Emily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
John R. BeckSaint Patrick's Shenangicans32x4's and cowbellsMed-Hard, unique percussion trio - scored for 2x4's and cowbells! Could be conceived of as a parody, or a tribute to Riverdance - depending on one's frame of reference! At any rate, it is intended to be played as an encore - with a good sense of humor!YesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Jane BoxallBucketheads33 buckets, cowbell, suspended cymbal, woodblockEasy-Med strike the buckets on the bottom and side as well as utilizing stick clicks at various dynamic levels. All the parts are of similar difficulty, and this piece would be accessible to younger players as well as more experienced ensembles looking for a change of pace for a recital program! Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Ron CoulterJam Box: Cajon Trio33 cajonsMed-Hard for three cajons, this piece offers a unique opportunity for subtlety, as well as improvisation and high energy interlocking rhythmic configurations that culminate in an intricate finale!Emily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Brad DutzOld Toby33 pandeiroMed-Hard for pandeiro trio,
this is a piece of medium difficulty which emphasizes a strong groove and requires an attentive ensemble awareness. It's metric structure of 10/8 requires players to continually divide the 10 eighth notes in each measure into different groupings while simultaneously continuing the flowing groove and utilizing a variety of hand drum techniques and drum positions.
YesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
David EnglandA.B.C.33 Snare DrumsEasy/Grade II Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Josh GottryXerosis3Cabasa, Guiro, TambourineMedium a small, chamber work for handheld percussion, this is an excellent change of pace piece for percussion ensembles. Appropriate for run-out concerts, tour performances, or for a “front-of-curtain” selection to open your percussion ensemble concert, this creative exploration of friction sound possibilities is entertaining and engaging for audiences and performers alike.
3:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
John HearnesAttack at Fort Issimo33 Snare DrumsGrade 1 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Brian JustisonJust Buckets for Percussion Trio33 plastic bucketsEasy-Med rocks and has room to open up for solos at the player’s discretion. A great change of pace for an up-tempo concert opener or closer. high school/college.Emily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Juri SeoTriangle Trio3triangle, tambourine, castanetsmedium-adv Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Jane BoxallStick Insect4Snare drum sticksEasy piece will add a unique aural and visual statement to any recital program. Each of the four players sits on the floor and drums on the floor surface with snare drum sticks. While the rhythms are straightforward and would be accessible to younger as well as more experienced ensembles, the accents, stick clicks (including striking the sticks of adjacent players) and movements (leaning forward and to the sides) must be well coordinated for the best possible effect. YesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Jane BoxallClappercussion4HandsEasy on interlocking ostinati, this quartet will be useful for the teaching of dynamic concepts and syncopation at an easy level. The piece can be performed while standing or seated and more than one person can play each part. While the rhythms consist of only quarter and eighth notes and their corresponding rests, the tempo moves at a very quick pace and much attention must be given to realizing the nuances called for by the various playing techniques: foot stamp, leg slap, hand clap, finger clicks and tapping the palm with two fingersYesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Christopher FellingerBody Lotion4body percussionmedium Lotion is a funny, groovy body percussion piece in a “New Jack Swing Feel”, ending with fast “drum and bass” grooves and breaks. It works great as an encore and is characterized by a wide dynamic range and many different sounds. 4:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Josh GottryFramed4tambourine, pandeiro, tar, tamborimmedium work simply intended to explore the frame drum family of percussion instruments within in a chamber setting, Framed is an excellent change of pace piece for percussion ensembles. Appropriate for run-out concerts, tour performances, or for a “front of curtain” selection to open your percussion ensemble concert, this creative exploration of frame drum sound possibilities is entertaining for audiences and performers alike.2:45 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Josh GottryTing4finger cymbal, triangle, small crash cymbal, ride cymbaleasy-medium Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Wall GunnDouble or Nothing43 tin cans for each player Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Angela KepleyFrom the Inside Out4Body Percussion & Snare DressEasy-Med the Inside Out was written for the students at Gurrie Middle School in LaGrange, Illinois. The students continually begged for a body percussion piece, but my focus for them was developing stick technique. I wrote this piece as the perfect compromise. The students get to explore movement and rhythm through the opening body percussion section and then make their way through many of the basic rudiments that are critical to playing percussion.3:40 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Alan KeownTink4Bongos (1 set)
Timbales (1 set)
2 small China cymbals (high & low)
4 small nipple gongs (2 high, 2 low)*
2 opera gongs (high & low)*
Brake drum (slightly muffled)
3 very small woodblocks (high, medium, low)
2 glass bottles (high & low)

*Possible substitutions:
Tin cans instead of nipple gongs
Stainless steel mixing bowls rather than opera gongs
Med-Adv by Alan Keown was written for small instruments to be played with tiny implements giving it a light but tasteful sound pallete. Some sections of the piece are groove-oriented, while others are made to imitate the style of the contemporary composer, Paul Lansky. The instrumentation includes some found objects, like glass bottles, and instruments from different cultures like Japanese woodblocks, Chinese opera gongs, and nipple gongs.
This piece comes with a full, bound score and includes a CD-ROM containing an audio recording and all individual parts available for printing.
5:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Kit MillsFlutterings4VariousMedium features an almost constant rustling of sound, using a wide array of conventional auxiliary percussion instruments and some unconventional "found" instruments, most notably small pillows, hand towels, and cardboard squares (or boxes). Written with the idea that each percussionist could pack all (or most) of his required gear into a suitcase, Flutterings relies on idiomatic percussion rhythms while avoiding the frequent bombastic nature of "drumming music."7:15 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Euguene NovotneyScratch4scrapers or guirosmedium-adv unique piece by Eugene Novotney entitled "Scratch" features four players playing scrapers or guiros. The piece is constructed with three accompaniment lines, with player 1 as a "soloist" playing a "melodic" line over the other parts.10:15 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Chris RoodeLattes on the House43 Congas, claves, tambourineEasy on the House is an introductory piece written by Chris Roode to teach the application of beginning rhythms to a percussion ensemble. Written for three sizes of conga drums along with claves and tambourine, this five-player instrumentation can be easily expanded by doubling or tripling up on each part. And congas aren’t required either; various sizes of frame or hand drums can be effective too, as the ensemble builds grooves together and also accompanies each section as it struts its stuff in a lengthy solo section. You bring the espresso, have the students bring the steamed milk, and in no time you’ll be enjoying Lattes on the House.2:30 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Juri SeoFour for Flexatone4Flexatones Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Larry SpivackQuartet for Paper Bags4paper bags Quartet for Paper Bags was composed for the Brooklyn Percussion Quartet series of public school concets in 1973. The piece calls for four paper bags of varied size to be ruffled, rolled, flicked and popped by four players (of varied size, the largest player taking the top line of music).

Ruffling is best achieved by inflating the bag until the open and closed ends can be grasped with two hands, then by swishing these ends together in opposite directions as if they were two sandblocks. A rolling technique is the same used for the crumpling of a paper bag. Flicking is accomplished by suspending the bag with one hand and snapping the middle finger off the thumb of the other hand onto the bag, producing staccato notes. The sounds desired are the brittle cracklings of new paper bags. For the final "pop" the three smallest bags are inflated loud enough to produce the indicated rhythms, and then burst exuberantly by their three players.
2:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Michael UdowFour Movements4maracas, guiros, sandpaper blocks and hand clapping (+ one bottle player)Advanced Movements, "Shake, Scrape, Rub and Strike" utilize maracas, guiros, sandpaper blocks and hand clapping (+ one bottle player), respectively; ALL INSTRUMENTS FIT INTO ONE SMALL SUITCASE! ideally a certain subtle theatrical performance posture and attitude will develop as the players, seated in the traditional string quartet configuration, perform each movement.9:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
B. Michael WilliamsMaqsumed4Frame Drums the spirit of Steve Reich’s Music for Pieces of Wood, Maqsumed (as in "consumed") employs a system of building up fragments of permuted rhythms derived from the traditional Arabic rhythm Maqsum. The number of repeats in each bar is not fixed. It may vary within the approximate limits marked in each bar (e.g. bar 1 may be repeated 4-6 times, then player two enters at bar 2 for about 5-9 repeats and so on). The indications for approximate numbers of repeats are written above the part responsible for making the particular change in each bar (e.g. player 2 is responsible for bars 2 through 8 since player one repeats without changing in those bars), and consequently the approximate number of repeats (5-9) is written above player two’s part, and similarly throughout the piece.8:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
David WolfsonCrushed Ice4cowbell, triangle, tambourine, frame drum Ice is a quartet for handheld instruments: cowbell, triangle, tambourine and frame drum. It's based on a recurring rhythmic motive outlining a metric pattern of two bars of 4/4 and one bar of 4+5/8, and features rhythmic counterpoint, a section in which a timbral melody is shared among the group by way of accents withing ongoing rolled textures, and vigorous unison passages. Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Steven WulffTaiko a la Tom-Tom44 concert tomsMedium-Easy
4 minutesJosh Gottry
Robert ClaysonPitter PADder44 practice padsMedium-Easy
4 minutesJosh Gottry
Jane BoxallQuintessential5Claves, guiro, tamborine, bongos, frame drumEasy-Med as an introduction to 5/4, many younger ensembles will find this piece an interesting challenge. Scored for claves, tambourine, guiro, bongos and frame drum - the parts for claves, tambourine and guiro are suitable for inexperienced players, while the parts for bongos and frame drum are a bit more difficult. The frame drum part calls for the player to squeeze the drum head to produce pitch bends. All the rhythms however are very straightforward, yet the piece moves at a brisk tempo. YesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Chris CrockarellBalloonology5Lots 'O BalloonsMedium/Grade IV Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Nathan DaughtreyOn the Spectrum55 drums or...?easy-medium"On the Spectrum" is an extremely flexible piece that helps students explore the sonic possibilities of the modern percussion ensemble by encouraging them to choose instruments that work well together and listen to how they fit into the pitch spectrum of the group. Play it with all drum, woods, metals, keyboards, junk, whatever!3:30 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Mark FordCabasa55 cabasas (3 different sizes)medium! by Mark Ford is a fun, five-piece original ensemble for
five different-sized cabasas. This piece creates a fun ensemble
dynamic with a variety of challenging techniques for the
instrument, and is an excellent way to students
to learn or improve their cabasa playing!
4:15 T. Smith
Mark FordHead Talk5Pre-tuned drum heads, drum heads, paper headsmedium
Josh GottryShake5egg shaker, shaker, maracas, 2 pair caxiximedium Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Montgomery HatchBallet for Bouncing Balls53 large Baskeballs, 2 Small Basketballs, 4 HandballsMedium with the idea that rhythmic patterns can be seen as well as heard, Ballet for Bouncing Balls is a creative and fun new work by New York City Opera percussionist Montgomery Hatch. Literally comprised of the various sound effects of balls bouncing on the floor, the piece employs five players who use a creative array of techniques including dribbling, slapping, juggling, tossing, and of course…bouncing! There is an inherent element of theater and dance present in the work and performers are encouraged to explore it. Rhythmic motives are generally simple and groove-based, and mappings of suggested staging ideas are included with the score. 3:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
John HearnesPlentia Pens5pens, coffee mugs, spiral NotebooksIV Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Jeremy MullerMusic for Botany5maracas, four pairs of caxix chose the name “Music for Botany” as a direct correlation to Steve Reich’s “Music for Pieces of Wood.” The structure of this piece is obviously very similar to Reich’s piece, but all the components of MFPOW have been replaced by shakers (entirely made of plant materials). The two different instruments used (maracas and caxixí) are a blending of their corresponding countries (Venezuela and Brazil). The word “botany” is a latin root of “botánica” and “botânica” therefore a common ground of the two languages. At the beginning is the Venezuelan merengue pattern played on maracas which gradually resolves to the joropo pattern during the last structural section. The caxixí are very capable of creating punctual accents and are used as the additive devices.8:30 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Steve PembertonElusive One5triangle, finger cymbals, hi claves, low claves, castanetsMedium exploration into the subtleties of the sounds of both metal and wood. Grounded by a rhythmic theme that is heard both in the beginning and again toward the end of the work, each of the parts is equally important. Although written and conducted in four, there is a mesmerizing interplay of many different time "feels" and rhythms throughout the piece. A very "musical" piece scored for a minimum of instruments. while it requires a great deal of subtly on the part of each performer, this will be accessible to both younger players as well those with more advanced performance experience. 4:30YesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Steve ReichMusic for Pieces of Wood55 claves or pieces of woodAdvanced should be specifically-tuned (or at least relative)9:45 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Chris BrooksDouble Dribble65 Basketballs, police whistle, samba whistleIV Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Chris BrooksA Little Lood-vig62 1/2 Octave Chromatic Boomwhackers Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Chris CockarellBlue Plate Special6Assorted DinnerwareEasy-Med Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Chris CrockarellBarnyard Boogie6Those that can: Bok, Qwack, Meow, Baaa, Murhh, Snort, Ney, Wruf, and Er, Er, Errrr! (Optional Washboard and Thump)Medium/Grade IV Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Josh GottryUps & Downs6Agogo Bells
Temple Blocks
Medium and Downs is a groove-based work for easy to intermediate percussion ensemble utilizing relative high and low pitches on non-pitched world percussion instruments. Opening with the signature bell part from the 6/8 Afro-Cuban style over which is layered a complementary block part, the drums enter with an aggressive unison statement before the piece explores a variety of layered textures, call and response statements, and rhythmic dialog. This is an excellent work for introducing students to instruments not regularly included in standard band literature and allowing them to experience the metric flexibility of the 6/8 time signature while also providing the flexibility of either a smaller chamber ensemble for six players or a large ensemble with any or all parts doubled or tripled.2:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Dan MooreBlue Bamboo62 1/2 Octave Chormatic Boomwhackers;50 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Ben WahlundSextet for Cajon Sextet6Cajons in the summer of 2011 for the University of Kentucky Percussion Ensemble, Sextet is scored for six cajons, with or without snares as long as they are uniform, to be performed in the round (surrounding the audience). It was the intention of the composer to avoid extended techniques and striking implements for this work. Many thanks are extended to Professor James Campbell and the University of Kentucky Percussion Studio for the opportunity to work together on this project. With humble gratitude, the following composers should be recognized for their inspiration in this work as well: Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Alexandre Lunsqui, Javier Alvarez, John Adams, Béla Bartók, and Charles Ives.4:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Drew WordenEscape:
Sextet for Triangles
66 unclipped trianglesmedium-difficult
Zachary CairnsRhythmic Ceremonial RItual 7tambourinesmedium its mix of various playing styles and ensemble interaction, this entertaining piece for seven antiphonal tambourines would be a welcome addition to any percussion ensemble concert!3:50 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Julie DavilaDimensions for Tambourine77 Headed TambourinesGrave V Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Julie DavilaHeadlines8Lots and lots of newspapersIV Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Grant CambridgeOverture for Percussion Toys10Wind chimes, temple blocks, tambourine, ratchet, triangel, castanets, finger cymbals, maracas, guiro, vibra-slap, and agogo bellsMed-Hard idea for this composition is rooted in the notion of highlighting these distinct instruments and presenting them in the performance forefront. This work sheds new light, from both a performance and a technical standpoint, on instruments that are often not looked upon as carrying an important role. Each individual part carries a distinct and challenging task in tying this piece together. This is proven by the multiple occurrences of layering in addition to the many rhythmic motives that are passed back and forth among instruments. Precision and the consistent eighth note will be the keys to this piece's success. YesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Josh GottryAll Hands on Deck2-42-4 cajons, congas, or djembesmedium nine pieces – three duets, three trios, & three quartets – each playable on cajons, congas, djembes, or any combination of the three, All Hands on Deck is a flexible collection of hand drum ensembles that is ideal for many different contexts and applications. Double, triple, or quadruple parts for larger ensembles, or utilize with a small group of students in a private studio or school ensemble breakout situation to introduce basic hand drum techniques and sounds in an ensemble setting. A full page of short exercises, performance/program notes for each piece, a notation guide, and a detailed explanation of the strokes/sounds is included and will provide a solid foundation to effectively study and perform each of these pedagical and engaging ensemble compositions.17:45 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Josh GottryPuzzle Pieces2-20varyingEasy Pieces was written specifically for the C. Alan Publications Ignite Series which features entertaining yet flexible pieces for young percussion ensembles. It is a minimalistic work that allows the performers to be part of the composition process.

• Any number of pitched or non-pitched percussion instruments may be used by any number of players.
• Performers playing pitched instruments read the left-facing page of the score.
• Performers playing non-pitched instruments read the right-facing page of the score.
• Pitched instrument parts may be played in any octave.
2:30+ Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Alan BlackSacks Appeal4-8one plastic sack per playerIII Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Chris CockarellClap Happy4-12Hands, Bellies, Chests, FIngers, StompsMedium/Grade IV Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Chris Brooks, Chris CrockarellBuck Worx4-165 Gallon BucketsI & II Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Lamar BurkhearBody Jam4-16Body Parts & VoiceEasy/Grade II Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Lalo DavilaRockin' Rickie Rocket5-254, 8, 12 or 16 Voices, (1) Extremely Self-Confident Rock 'N Roll Air DrummerIV Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Lamar BurkhearBottlz6-12Plastic Water BottlesEasy/Grade II Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
John Hearnes1st & 108-9Football Uniform Attire (Including Helmet), Coach & Ref Attire, (2) WhistlesMedium/Grade IV Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Juri SeoWah2+wah wah tubesmedium-adv Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
John WillmarthRhythm Rocket2+Short Version
Buckets, practice pads (with rims or two playing zones), or any combination of drums. For that matter, anything that can produce two sounds and be played with sticks may be used (e.g., wooden stools or music stands).
Alternatively, hand drums (e.g., tubanos, djembes, water jugs, etc.) may be used in the short version.
Longer Version
Same as the Short Version, but without the hand drum option.
Easy Willmarth’s Rhythm Rocket is a great piece for beginning percussion performers. It comes with two versions—short and long. Both versions are accompanied by funky and fun play-along tracks that will keep even the squirreliest of children focused! In both versions the performers can customize their own instrumentation with anything that can yield two different sounds (e.g., buckets, music stands, or even stools). 1:25-2:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Josh GottryWood, Metal, Skin3 (or more)wood, metal, skin instrumentseasy-medium rhythmically exciting work was created using just four sound sources – wood, metal, skin, and foot stomps – and can be played with as few as three or as many as twenty or more percussionists. Performers may choose any instrument within the categories designated2:30 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Angela KepleyCircles3+bucketsEasy-Med is mostly comprised of accent patterns over a solid underlying sixteenth note foundation. This piece requires the players to control accents and taps while playing a fun, relaxed groove.2:50 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Kit MillsBucket Ruckus3+3 or 5 gallon bucketsEasy-Med Ruckus is an exciting visual showpiece that any ensemble – regardless of size or program budget – would be able do, indoors or outdoors. Using only 3- or 5-gallon buckets, your ensemble of 3-18+ percussionists will grab the audience’s attention from the first bar and bring them to their feet in the last! Use Buckets Ruckus as an eye- and ear-grabbing opener, closer, or interlude for percussion ensemble concerts, band concerts, halftime shows, or even just a quick appearance at a pep assembly, the school cafeteria or a community event.Emily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Josh GottryChipboard4 (or more)pieces of woodeasy Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
John BergamoPiru Boleindeterminateindeterminatemedium-adv is non traditional but rather more in line with some of the experiments happening with non-traditional percussion ensemble throughout India6:30-7:30YesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Bill DouglasVocal Rhythm Etudesindeterminatevocal/indeterminatemedium-adv studies used by many universities to teach complex rhythms influenced by jazz, rock, Indian, African, Brazilian, and contemporary classical music23:00 Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle
Matthew DavidsonMillet MusicUnspecifiedVarietyEasy-Med canon for unspecified number of performers utilizing percussion instruments of their choice. Rhythms are based on a transcription of women grinding grain in Benin, West Africa. Dedicated to John Cage on the occasion of his 80th birthday.YesEmily Johnson, Delaney Armstrong, James Doyle