Henry Cowell's Joys of Noise
A wonderfully foreshadowing quote by Cowell.
Although existing in all music, the noise-element has been to music as sex to humanity, essential to its existence, but impolite to mention, something to be cloaked by ignorance and silence. Hence the use of noise in music has been largely unconscious and undiscussed. Perhaps this is why it has not been developed, like the more talked-of elements, such as harmony and melody. The use of noise in most music today is little beyond the primitive; in fact, it is behind most native music, where the banality of the thumps often heard in our concerts would not be tolerated.
Men like Varèse, in his Hyperprism or Arcana or Bartôk, in his Piano Concerto, where he uses percussion noises canonically, render a service by opening a wide field for investigation - although they arrive at nothing conclusive. If we had scales of percussion-sounds, with each "key" determined by some underlying quality, such as drum-sound, cymbal-sound, and so on, we could produce music through the conscious use of the melodic steps that would then be at the disposal of the composer. Perhaps this is one of the things music is coming to, and a new chemistry of sound will be the result.
"The Joys of Noise" (excerpt)