skin trade: a playlist of percussion at the outer limits

Multifaceted drummer Valentina Magaletti surveys alternatives to the conventional kit

Against the conventional approach to percussion, with simple gear and canonical sound sets, this playlist aims to show how multifarious and exhilarating are the potentially unbounded resources of unconventional drumming.

Virtually every object can be transformed into a percussive source, since everything has a hidden voice, with its timbre, its beat, its extension, its field of reverberations. To listen to this hidden voice, to let it resonate in all its unpredictable syntax, to be the medium of its expression both as a performer and as a listener, is a synaesthetic experience through which we are confronted with the tactility of sound.

Rather than focusing on a musician’s skills, unconventional drumming is focused on texture, the substrate from which the sound is originated. Unconventional drumming could mean experimenting with the usual drum kit, or modified or implemented with unusual percussion, sometimes from the repertory of traditional music.

Often with unconventional drumming the sonic sources are objets trouvés – the performance becomes the building of resounding merzbau or the recollection of some lost, pristine landscape. In other cases, the choice is for everyday objects or elements that become the ally’s voice in surges of emotions, endurance or outcry.


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Valentina Magaletti plays Yves Chaudouët’s porcelain drumkit, the Batterie Fragile