Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

James B. Campbell


I will address the concept of physical gestures and discuss how they are applicable to the way percussionists visually and audibly perceive music. Through my research, I will focus on performance and pedagogy, seeking new possibilities for introducing percussionists at all ability levels to different articulations. Percussionists have traditionally been led to believe that they do not have the versatility over the initial musical attack and sustain that wind and string players do. This document has been developed to provide a more in-depth approach to how physical and musical gestures can function to create a more versatile and musical percussionist.

This project will discuss both musical and physical gestures and the current research behind them, as well as a spectromorphology, a method developed by Dennis Smalley to analyze graphic notation from computer-generated scores. By applying spectromorphology to percussion scores, I will examine how musical gestures are present in solo and ensemble literature, and I will offer suggestions on how to effectively apply these findings to methods of study and performance. This project concludes with a thorough breakdown of standard articulations across marimba/mallet instruments, snare drum, and timpani and provides suggestions on how to functionally utilize gestures for these articulations while offering graphs for each category that highlight the focal points for continued use.