Be inspired by the Grainger’s latest exhibition – ‘How it plays: Innovations in percussion’

Recording important innovations in Australian music history over a period of 140 years, the fascinating exhibition currently on display at the Grainger Museum is a must see.

How it plays is a collaborative exhibition and performance project, involving the Grainger Museum, Federation Handbells (Museums Victoria/Creative Victoria), Speak Percussion, the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, and Melbourne School of Design.


Begin by exploring the online exhibition today.


Bell-Field - Federation Handbells on loan from Museums Victoria, and display created by Melbourne School of Design students
Bell-Field – Federation Handbells on loan from Museums Victoria, and display created by Melbourne School of Design students

This exhibition shines a light on selected innovations in percussion, focussing on Melbourne, over a period of 140 years. It brings together a range of percussion instruments that have been created, composed for, and played by radical musicians, who have sought to change the way we can all hear, and play, music. Starting with Percy Grainger’s ground-breaking compositional experiments in ‘tuneful percussion’ in the first half of the twentieth century, How it plays then explores the work of the first truly innovative Australian percussion group, APE, in the 1970s, who experimented on Percy Grainger’s own instruments in the Grainger Museum as they evolved their practice. Jumping to the twenty-first century, the exhibition explores the musical and social phenomenon of the Federation Handbells, which engages acoustic and artistic innovation to bring the playing of bells to a wide range of communities. It concludes with an immersion in the sonic and artistic adventures in sound and performance of Melbourne organisation, Speak Percussion, an international leader in the field of experimental and new music.

Here until December, there’s an active program of events to get involved with, so check out the site or drop by for a visit at the Museum, located on Royal Parade.

Want an in depth look at this exhibition, with an expert-led discussion of Grainger’s philosophy and impact?

Join Professor Chalon Ragsdale (University of Arkansas) as he illustrates how Percy Grainger’s philosophy, and his practical applications of that philosophy, helped determine the directions of percussion writing and performance in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Using musical examples ranging from Bach and Grieg to Stravinsky, Bartok, Grainger and Grainger’s pupils, composer Henry Cowell and Bernard Herrmann, Professor Ragsdale will trace the life and work of Percy Grainger, the “Genius from Australia.”

When: Sunday 21 July 2019, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Where: Grainger Museum, Royal Parade, #13, Parkville, VIC 3052

Book here today.

The Grainger has many more exhibitions on offer, be sure to browse this range online and in person.

See the Grainger Museum Eventbrite for the full program of upcoming events.

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