Timpani
Overview
 
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

s in the percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 family. A type of drum
Drum
The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments, which is technically classified as the membranophones. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a...

, they consist of a skin called a head
Drumhead
A drumhead is a membrane stretched over one or both of the open ends of a drum. The drumhead is struck with sticks, mallets, or hands so that it vibrates and the sound resonates through the drum.-History:...

stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick
Drum stick
A percussion mallet is an object used to beat drums and other percussion instruments. Some specialized mallets are called beaters, drumsticks.Note: See Rute .-Drum sticks:...

 called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military
Military band
A military band originally was a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces. A typical military band consists mostly of wind and percussion instruments. The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music...

 drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

 by the last third of the 18th century.
Encyclopedia
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

s in the percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 family. A type of drum
Drum
The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments, which is technically classified as the membranophones. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a...

, they consist of a skin called a head
Drumhead
A drumhead is a membrane stretched over one or both of the open ends of a drum. The drumhead is struck with sticks, mallets, or hands so that it vibrates and the sound resonates through the drum.-History:...

stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick
Drum stick
A percussion mallet is an object used to beat drums and other percussion instruments. Some specialized mallets are called beaters, drumsticks.Note: See Rute .-Drum sticks:...

 called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani evolved from military
Military band
A military band originally was a group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces. A typical military band consists mostly of wind and percussion instruments. The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music...

 drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

 by the last third of the 18th century. Today, they are used in many types of musical ensemble
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

s including concert
Concert band
A concert band, also called wind band, symphonic band, symphonic winds, wind orchestra, wind symphony, wind ensemble, or symphonic wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of several members of the woodwind instrument family, brass instrument family, and percussion instrument family.A...

, marching
Marching band
Marching band is a physical activity in which a group of instrumental musicians generally perform outdoors and incorporate some type of marching with their musical performance. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments...

, and even some rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 bands.

Timpani is an Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 plural, the singular of which is timpano. However, in informal English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 speech a single instrument is rarely called a timpano: several are more typically referred to collectively as kettledrums, timpani, temple drums, or simply timps. They are also often incorrectly termed timpanis. A musician
Musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

 who plays the timpani is known as a timpanist.

Etymology and alternative spellings

First attested in English in the late 19th century, the Italian word timpani derives from the Latin tympanum
Tympanum (hand drum)
In ancient Greece and Rome, the tympanum, Greek tympanon, was a type of frame drum or tambourine. It was circular, shallow, and beaten with the hand. Some representations show decorations or zill-like objects around the rim...

(pl. tympani), which is the latinisation
Latinisation (literature)
Latinisation is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style. It is commonly met with for historical personal names, with toponyms, or for the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than Romanisation, which is the writing of a word in the Latin alphabet...

 of the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 word τύμπανον (tumpanon, pl. tumpana), "a hand drum", which in turn derives from the verb τύπτω (tuptō), meaning "to strike, to hit". Alternative spellings with y in place of either or both is—tympani, tympany, or timpany—are occasionally encountered in older English texts. Whilst the word timpani has been widely adopted in the English language, some English speakers choose to use the word kettledrums. The German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 word for timpani is Pauken; the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 is timbales. The Ashanti pair of talking drums are known as atumpan.

The tympanum is defined in the Etymologiae
Etymologiae
Etymologiae is an encyclopedia compiled by Isidore of Seville towards the end of his life. It forms a bridge between a condensed epitome of classical learning at the close of Late Antiquity and the inheritance received, in large part through Isidore's work, by the early Middle Ages...

of St. Isidore of Seville
Isidore of Seville
Saint Isidore of Seville served as Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades and is considered, as the historian Montalembert put it in an oft-quoted phrase, "le dernier savant du monde ancien"...

:



The tympanum is [an instrument made of] skin or hide stretched over a hollow wooden vessel which extends out. It is said by the symphonia
Symphonia
Symphonia is a much-discussed word, applied at different times to the bagpipe, the drum, the hurdy-gurdy, and finally a kind of clavichord...

s to resemble a sieve, but has also been likened to half a pearl. It is struck with a wand [stick], beating time for the symphonia.


The reference comparing the tympanum to half a pearl is borrowed from Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

.

Basic timpani

The basic timpani drum consists of a drumhead stretched across the opening of a bowl typically made of copper or, in less expensive models, fiberglass
Fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

 and sometimes aluminum. In the Sachs-Hornbostel classification
Musical instrument classification
At various times, and in various cultures, various schemes of musical instrument classification have been used.The most commonly used system in use in the west today divides instruments into string instruments, wind instruments and percussion instruments...

, the timpani are thus considered membranophone
Membranophone
A membranophone is any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by way of a vibrating stretched membrane. It is one of the four main divisions of instruments in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification....

s. The drumhead is affixed to a hoop (also called a fleshhoop), which in turn is held onto the bowl by a counterhoop, which is then held by means of a number of tuning screw
Screw (simple machine)
A screw is a mechanism that converts rotational motion to linear motion, and a torque to a linear force. It is one of the six classical simple machines. The most common form consists of a cylindrical shaft with helical grooves or ridges called threads around the outside...

s called tension rods placed regularly around the circumference. The head's tension can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the rods. Most timpani have six to eight tension rods.

The shape of the bowl contributes to the tone quality of the drum. For example, hemispheric
Sphere
A sphere is a perfectly round geometrical object in three-dimensional space, such as the shape of a round ball. Like a circle in two dimensions, a perfect sphere is completely symmetrical around its center, with all points on the surface lying the same distance r from the center point...

 bowls produce brighter tones while parabolic
Parabola
In mathematics, the parabola is a conic section, the intersection of a right circular conical surface and a plane parallel to a generating straight line of that surface...

 bowls produce darker tones. Another factor that affects the timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

 of the drum is the quality of the bowl's surface. Copper bowls may have a smooth, machined surface or a rough surface with many small dents hammered into it.

Timpani come in a variety of sizes from about 84 centimeters (33 inches) in diameter down to piccolo timpani of 30 centimeters (12 inches) or less. A 33-inch drum can produce the C below the bass clef, and specialty piccolo timpani can play up into the treble clef. In Darius Milhaud
Darius Milhaud
Darius Milhaud was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of Les Six—also known as The Group of Six—and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century. His compositions are influenced by jazz and make use of polytonality...

's 1923 ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 score La création du monde
La Création du Monde
The composition La création du monde, Op. 81a, is a 20-minute-long ballet with music composed by Darius Milhaud, in 1922-1923,which outlines the Creation of the World, based on African folk mythology.- History :...

, the timpanist must play the F sharp at the bottom of the treble clef.

Each individual drum typically has a range of a perfect fifth
Perfect fifth
In classical music from Western culture, a fifth is a musical interval encompassing five staff positions , and the perfect fifth is a fifth spanning seven semitones, or in meantone, four diatonic semitones and three chromatic semitones...

.

Machine timpani

Changing the pitch of a timpani by turning each tension rod individually is a laborious process. In the late 19th century, mechanical systems to change the tension of the entire head at once were developed. Any timpani equipped with such a system may be considered machine timpani, although this term commonly refers to drums that use a single handle connected to a spider-type tuning mechanism.

Pedal timpani

By far, the most common type of timpani used today is the pedal timpani, which allows the tension of the head to be adjusted using a pedal mechanism. Typically, the pedal is connected to the tension screws via an assembly of either cast metal or metal rods called the spider.

There are three types of pedal mechanisms in common use today:
  • The ratchet clutch system uses a ratchet and pawl
    Ratchet (device)
    A ratchet is a device that allows continuous linear or rotary motion in only one direction while preventing motion in the opposite direction. Because most socket wrenches today use ratcheting handles, the term "ratchet" alone is often used to refer to a ratcheting wrench, and the terms "ratchet"...

     to hold the pedal in place. The timpanist must first disengage the clutch before using the pedal to tune the drum. When the desired pitch is achieved, the timpanist must then reengage the clutch.
  • In the balanced action system, a spring or hydraulic cylinder
    Hydraulic cylinder
    A Hydraulic cylinder is a mechanical actuator that is used to give a unidirectional force through a unidirectional stroke. It has many applications, notably in engineering vehicles.- Operation :...

     is used to balance the tension on the timpani head so that the pedal will stay in position and the head will stay at pitch. The pedal on a balanced action drum is sometimes called a floating pedal since there is no clutch holding it in place.
  • The friction clutch or post and clutch system uses a clutch that moves along a post. Disengaging the clutch frees it from the post, allowing the pedal to move without restraint.


Professional level drums use either the ratchet or friction system and have copper bowls. These drums can have one of two styles of pedals. The Dresden pedal is attached to the drum at the side nearest the player, and is operated by ankle motion. A Berlin-style pedal is attached by means of a long arm to the opposite side of the drum, and the timpanist must use his entire leg to adjust the pitch. In addition to a pedal, high-end instruments have a hand-operated fine tuner, which allows the timpanist to make minute pitch adjustments. The pedal is on either the left or right side of the drum depending on where it is set up.

Most school bands and orchestras below a university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 level use less expensive, more durable timpani with either copper, fiberglass, or aluminum bowls. The mechanical parts of these instruments are almost completely contained within the frame and bowl of the drum. They may use any of the pedal mechanisms, though the balanced action system is by far the most common, followed by the friction clutch system. Many professionals also use these drums for outdoor performances due to their durability and lighter weight. The pedal is in the center of the drum.

Chain timpani

On chain timpani, the tension rods are connected by a roller chain
Roller chain
Roller chain or bush roller chain is the type of chain drive most commonly used for transmission of mechanical power on many kinds of domestic, industrial and agricultural machinery, including conveyors, wire and tube drawing machines, printing presses, cars, motorcycles, and simple machines like...

 much like the one found on a bicycle
Bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

, though some manufacturers have used other materials, including steel cable
Cable
A cable is two or more wires running side by side and bonded, twisted or braided together to form a single assembly. In mechanics cables, otherwise known as wire ropes, are used for lifting, hauling and towing or conveying force through tension. In electrical engineering cables are used to carry...

. In these systems, all the tension screws can then be tightened or loosened by one handle. Though far less common than pedal timpani, chain and cable drums still have practical uses. Occasionally, a player is forced to place a drum behind other items so that he cannot reach it with his foot. Professional players may also use exceptionally large or small chain and cable drums for special low or high notes.

Other tuning mechanisms

A rare tuning mechanism allows the pitch of the head to be changed by rotating the drum itself. A similar system is used on rototom
Rototom
Rototoms are drums which have no shell. They consist of a single head in a die-cast zinc or aluminum frame. Unlike most other drums, they have a variable definite pitch. Composers are known to write for them as tuned instruments, demanding specific pitches. Rototoms are often used to extend the tom...

s. Jenco, a company better known for mallet percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

, made timpani tuned in this fashion.

In the early 20th century, Hans Schnellar, the timpanist of the Vienna Philhamonic, developed a tuning mechanism in which the bowl is moved via a handle that connects to the base, and the head remains stationary. These drums are referred to as Viennese timpani (Wiener Pauken) or Schnellar timpani. Adams Musical Instruments
Adams Musical Instruments
Adams Musical Instruments is a manufacturer of percussion instruments based in the Netherlands. The company was founded by amateur musician André Adams, who started repairing brass instruments in 1971...

 developed a pedal-operated version of this tuning mechanism in the early 21st century.

Timpani heads

Like most drumhead
Drumhead
A drumhead is a membrane stretched over one or both of the open ends of a drum. The drumhead is struck with sticks, mallets, or hands so that it vibrates and the sound resonates through the drum.-History:...

s, timpani heads can be made from two materials: animal skin
Skin
-Dermis:The dermis is the layer of skin beneath the epidermis that consists of connective tissue and cushions the body from stress and strain. The dermis is tightly connected to the epidermis by a basement membrane. It also harbors many Mechanoreceptors that provide the sense of touch and heat...

 (typically calfskin
Calfskin
Calfskin is a leather or membrane produced from the hide of a calf. Calfskin is particularly valuable because of its softness, and non fine grain. It is commonly used for high-quality shoes, wallets and similar products, as well as traditional leather bookbindings...

 or goatskin
Goatskin (material)
Goatskin is the skin of a goat.Non tanned goatskin is used for parchment or for drumheads or sounding boards of some musical instruments, e.g., mišnice in medieval Europe, bodhrán in Ireland, esraj in India and for instrumental drum skin named bedug in Indonesia.Tanned leather from goatskin is...

) and plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 (typically PET film
PET film (biaxially oriented)
BoPET is a polyester film made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate and is used for its high tensile strength, chemical and dimensional stability, transparency, reflectivity, gas and aroma barrier properties and electrical insulation.A variety of companies manufacture boPET and other...

). Plastic heads are durable, weather resistant, and relatively inexpensive. Thus, they are more commonly used than natural skin heads. However, many professional players prefer skin heads because they produce a warmer, better quality timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

. Timpani heads are sized based on the size of the head, not the size of the timpani bowl. For example, a 23" drum may require a 25" head. This 2" size difference has been standardized by most timpani manufactures since 1978.

Sticks and mallets

Timpani are typically struck with a special type of drum stick
Drum stick
A percussion mallet is an object used to beat drums and other percussion instruments. Some specialized mallets are called beaters, drumsticks.Note: See Rute .-Drum sticks:...

 fittingly called a timpani stick or timpani mallet. Timpani sticks are used in pairs. They have two components: a shaft and a head. The shaft is typically made from hardwood
Hardwood
Hardwood is wood from angiosperm trees . It may also be used for those trees themselves: these are usually broad-leaved; in temperate and boreal latitudes they are mostly deciduous, but in tropics and subtropics mostly evergreen.Hardwood contrasts with softwood...

 or bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 but may also be made from aluminum or carbon fiber
Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber, alternatively graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF, is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber...

. The head of the stick can be constructed from a number of different materials, though felt
Felt
Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size....

 wrapped around a wood core is the most common. Other core materials include compressed felt, cork
Cork (material)
Cork is an impermeable, buoyant material, a prime-subset of bark tissue that is harvested for commercial use primarily from Quercus suber , which is endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa...

, and leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

, and other wrap materials include chamois
Chamois leather
Chamois leather , sometimes known as a shammy, is a type of porous leather that is favored for its gentle, non-abrasive composition and exceptional absorption properties...

. Unwrapped sticks with heads of wood, felt, flannel, and leather are also common. Wood sticks are used as a special effect—specifically requested by composers as early as the Romantic era—and in authentic performances of Baroque music
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

.

Although not usually stated in the score, timpanists will change sticks—often many times within the same piece—to suit the nature of the music. However, the choice of stick during a performance is entirely subjective and depends on the timpanist's own preference and occasionally the wishes of the conductor. Thus, most timpanists own a great number of mallets. The weight of the stick, the size and latent surface area of the head, the materials used for the shaft, core, and wrap, and the method used to wrap the head all contribute to the timbre the stick produces.

In the early 20th century and before, sticks were often made with whalebone shafts, wood cores, and sponge wraps. Composers of that era often specified sponge-headed sticks. Modern timpanists execute such passages with standard felt mallets.

Popular grips

The two most common grips in playing the timpani are the German and French
 grips. In the German grip, the palm of the hand should be parallel to the drum head and the thumb should be on the side of the stick. In the French grip, the palm of the hand should be close to perpendicular with drum head and the thumb should be on top of the stick. In both of these styles, as with most percussion grips, the fulcrum consists of the contact between the thumb and middle finger. The index finger is used as a guide and to help lift the stick off of the drum. The American grip is a hybrid of these two grips. Another known grip is known as the Amsterdam Grip, made famous by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which is similar to the Hinger grip, except the stick is cradled on the lower knuckle of the index finger.

In the modern ensemble

A set of timpani

A standard set of timpani consists of four drums: roughly 32 inches (81 cm), 29 inches (74 cm), 26 inches (66 cm), and 23 inches (58 cm) in diameter. The range of this set is roughly the D below the bass clef to the top-line bass clef A. A great majority of the orchestral repertoire can be played using these four drums. However, contemporary composers have written for extended ranges. Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

 specifically writes for a piccolo timpano in The Rite of Spring
The Rite of Spring
The Rite of Spring, original French title Le sacre du printemps , is a ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky; choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky; and concept, set design and costumes by Nicholas Roerich...

, tuned to the B below middle C. A piccolo drum is typically 20 inches (51 cm) in diameter and can reach pitches up to middle C.

Beyond this extended set of five instruments, any added drums are nonstandard. (Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music and remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.- Early years :Born in Venice, he was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter...

's Al gran sole carico d'amore
Al gran sole carico d'amore
Al gran sole carico d'amore is an opera with music by Luigi Nono, based mainly on plays by Bertolt Brecht, but also incorporating texts of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin. Nono himself and Yury Lyubimov wrote the libretto. It premiered at the Teatro alla Scala on April...

 requires as many as eleven drums, with actual melodies played on them in octaves by two players.) Many professional orchestras and timpanists own more than just one set of timpani, allowing them to execute music that cannot be more accurately performed using a standard set of four or five drums and music that requires more than one set of timpani.

Many schools and ensembles unable to afford purchase of this equipment regularly rely on a set of two or three timpani, sometimes referred to as "the orchestral three". It consists of 29 inches (74 cm), 26 inches (66 cm), and 23 inches (58 cm) drums. Its range extends down only to the F below the bass clef.

The drums are set up in an arc around the performer. Traditionally, North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n, British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 timpanists set their drums up with the lowest drum on the left and the highest on the right (commonly called the American system), while German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n, and Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 players set them up the opposite way (the German system). This distinction is not strict, as many North American players use the German setup and vice-versa.

Timpanists

Throughout their education, timpanists are trained as percussionists, and they learn to play all instruments of the percussion family along with timpani. However, when appointed to a principal timpani chair in a professional ensemble, a timpanist is not normally required to play any other instruments. In his book Anatomy of the Orchestra, Norman Del Mar
Norman Del Mar
Norman Del Mar CBE was a British conductor, horn player, and biographer. As a conductor, he specialized in the music of late romantic composers; including Edward Elgar, Gustav Mahler, and Richard Strauss. He left a great legacy of recordings of British music, in particular Elgar, Vaughan Williams,...

 writes that the timpanist is "king of his own province", and that "a good timpanist really does set the standard of the whole orchestra." A qualified member of the percussion section sometimes doubles as associate timpanist, performing in repertoire requiring multiple timpanists and filling in for the principal timpanist when required.

Timpani concertos

A few concerto
Concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

s have been written for timpani. The 18th century composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 Johann Fischer
Johann Christian Fischer
Johann Carl Christian Fischer was a German composer. Employed as a music copyist and theatre director for the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin at Ludwigslust, Fischer is now credited with the unique Symphony with Eight Obbligato Timpani, formerly attributed to Johann Wilhelm Hertel, court composer at...

 wrote a symphony
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

 for eight timpani and orchestra, which requires the solo timpanist to play eight drums simultaneously. Rough contemporaries Georg Druschetzky
Georg Druschetzky
Jiří Družecký was a Bohemian composer, oboist, and timpanist.He studied oboe with the noted oboist and composer Carlo Besozzi in Dresden. He then joined the band of an infantry regiment in Eger, with which he was later stationed in Vienna, Enns, Linz, and Branau. In 1777 he was certified as a...

 and Johann Melchior Molter
Johann Melchior Molter
Johann Melchior Molter was a German baroque composer and violinist.He was born at Tiefenort, near Eisenach, and was educated at the Gymnasium in Eisenach. By autumn 1717 he had left Eisenach and was working as a violinist in Karlsruhe. Here he married Maria Salome Rollwagen, with whom he had eight...

 also wrote pieces for timpani and orchestra.

Throughout the 19th century and much of the 20th, there were few new timpani concertos. In 1983, William Kraft
William Kraft
William Kraft is a composer, conductor, teacher, and percussionist.-Undergrad and Graduate School Years :...

, principal timpanist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic is an American orchestra based in Los Angeles, California, United States. It has a regular season of concerts from October through June at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a summer season at the Hollywood Bowl from July through September...

, composed his Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra, which won second prize in the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards. There have been other timpani concertos, notably, Philip Glass
Philip Glass
Philip Glass is an American composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public .His music is often described as minimalist, along with...

, considered one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century, wrote a double concerto titled Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra, which features its soloists playing seven drums apiece.

Striking the drum

For general playing, a timpanist will beat the head approximately 4 inches in from the edge. Beating at this spot produces the round, resonant sound commonly associated with timpani. A timpani roll
Drum roll
A drum roll is a technique the percussionist employs to produce a sustained sound on a percussion instrument. Rolls are used by composers to sustain the sound and create other effects, the most common of which is using a roll to build anticipation.- Snare drum roll :The most common snare drum roll...

(most commonly signaled in a score by tr
Trill (music)
The trill is a musical ornament consisting of a rapid alternation between two adjacent notes, usually a semitone or tone apart, which can be identified with the context of the trill....

) is executed by rapidly striking the drum, alternating between left and right sticks, extending the duration of the sound as required and allowing increases or decreases in volume. Anton Bruckner
Anton Bruckner
Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, complex polyphony, and considerable length...

's 7th Symphony requires a continuous roll on a single drum for over two-and-a-half minutes. In general, timpanists do not use multiple bounce rolls like those played on the snare drum
Snare drum
The snare drum or side drum is a melodic percussion instrument with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable, or gut cords stretched across the drumhead, typically the bottom. Pipe and tabor and some military snare drums often have a second set of snares on the bottom...

, as the soft nature of timpani sticks causes the rebound of the stick to be reduced, causing multiple bounce rolls to sound muffled.

The tone quality of the drum can be altered without switching sticks or adjusting the tuning of the drum. For example, by playing closer to the edge of the head, the sound becomes thinner. A more staccato sound can be produced by changing the velocity of the stroke or playing closer to the center of the head. There are many more variations in technique a timpanist uses during the course of playing to produce subtle timbral differences.

Tuning

Prior to playing the instruments, the timpanist must clear the heads by equalizing the tension at each tuning screw. This is done so every spot on the head is tuned to exactly the same pitch. When the head is clear, the timpani will produce a beautiful, in-tune sound. If the head is not clear, the pitch of the drum will rise or fall after the initial impact, and the drum will produce different pitches at different dynamic levels
Dynamics (music)
In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic or functional . The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics...

. Timpanists are required to have a well-developed sense of relative pitch
Relative pitch
The term relative pitch may denote:* the distance of a musical note from a set point of reference, e.g. "three octaves above middle C"* a musician's ability to identify the intervals between given tones, regardless of their relation to concert pitch * the skill used by singers to correctly sing a...

, and must develop techniques to tune undetectably and accurately in the middle of a performance.

Some timpani are equipped with tuning gauges, which provide a visual indication of the drum's pitch. They are physically connected either to the counterhoop, in which case the gauge indicates how far the counterhoop is pushed down, or the pedal, in which case the gauge indicates the position of the pedal. These gauges are accurate when used correctly. However, when the instrument is disturbed in some fashion (transported, for example), the overall pitch of the head can change, thus the markers on the gauges may not remain reliable unless they have been adjusted immediately preceding the performance. The pitch of the head can also be changed by room temperature and humidity. This effect also occurs due to changes in weather, especially if an outside performance is to take place. Gauges are especially useful when performing music that involves fast tuning changes that do not allow the player to listen to the new pitch before playing it. Even when gauges are available, good timpanists will check their intonation by ear before playing.

Occasionally, players use the pedals to retune a drum while playing it. Portamento
Portamento
Portamento is a musical term originated from the Italian expression "portamento della voce" , denoting from the beginning of the 17th century a vocal slide between two pitches and its emulation by members of the violin family and certain wind instruments, and is sometimes used...

 effects can be achieved by changing the pitch of the drum while it can still be heard. This is commonly called a glissando
Glissando
In music, a glissando is a glide from one pitch to another. It is an Italianized musical term derived from the French glisser, to glide. In some contexts it is distinguished from the continuous portamento...

, though this use of the term is not strictly correct. The most effective glissandos are those from low notes to high notes and those performed during rolls. One of the first composers to call for a timpani glissando was Carl Nielsen
Carl Nielsen
Carl August Nielsen , , widely recognised as Denmark's greatest composer, was also a conductor and a violinist. Brought up by poor but musically talented parents on the island of Funen, he demonstrated his musical abilities at an early age...

, who used two sets of timpani, both playing glissandos at the same time, in his Symphony No. 4 ("The Inextinguishable")
Symphony No. 4 (Nielsen)
Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable", Op. 29, FS 76, by Danish composer Carl Nielsen, was completed in 1916. Composed against the backdrop of the First World War, this symphony is among the most dramatic that Nielsen wrote, featuring a "battle" between two sets of timpani.-Origin:Danish Composer...

.
Pedaling refers to changing the pitch of the drum with the pedal; it is an alternate term for tuning. In general, timpanists reserve this term for passages where the performer must change the pitch of a drum in the midst of playing – for example, playing two consecutive notes of different pitches on the same drum. Early 20th century composers such as Nielsen, Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

, Samuel Barber
Samuel Barber
Samuel Osborne Barber II was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. His Adagio for Strings is his most popular composition and widely considered a masterpiece of modern classical music...

, and Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

 took advantage of the freedom pedal timpani afforded, often giving the timpani the bass line.

Muffling

Since timpani have a long sustain, muffling or dampening is an inherent part of playing timpani. Often, timpanists will muffle notes so they only sound for the length indicated by the composer. However, early drums did not resonate nearly as long as modern timpani, so composers often wrote a note when the timpanist was to hit the drum without concern of sustain. Today, timpanists must use their ear and the score
Sheet music
Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

 of the piece to determine the actual length the note should sound.

The typical method of muffling is to place the pads of the fingers against the head while holding onto the timpani stick with the thumb and index finger. Timpanists are required to develop techniques to stop all vibration of the drumhead without making any sound from the contact of their fingers.

Muffling is often referred to as muting, which can also refer to playing the drums with mutes on them (see below).

Extended techniques

It is typical for only one timpani to be struck at a time, but occasionally composers will ask for two notes to be struck at once. This is called a double stop
Double stop
A double stop, in music terminology, is the act of playing two notes simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument...

, a term borrowed from the string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

 vocabulary. Ludwig von Beethoven uses this effect in the slow movement of his Ninth Symphony
Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem...

. These demands tend to be made by more modern composers who sometimes require more than two notes at once. In this case, a timpanist can hold two sticks in one hand much like a marimba
Marimba
The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys ...

 performer would, or more than one timpanist can be employed. In his Overture to Benvenuto Cellini
Benvenuto Cellini (opera)
Benvenuto Cellini is an opera in two acts with music by Hector Berlioz and libretto by Léon de Wailly and Henri Auguste Barbier. It was the first of Berlioz's operas. The story is loosely based on the memoirs of the Florentine sculptor Benvenuto Cellini. The opera is technically very challenging...

, for example, Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

 realizes fulls chords from the timpani section by requiring three timpanists and assigning one drum to each. He goes as far as ten timpanists playing three- and four-part chords on sixteen drums in his Requiem
Requiem (Berlioz)
The Grande Messe des morts, Op. 5 by Hector Berlioz was composed in 1837. The Grande Messe des Morts is one of Berlioz's best-known works, with a tremendous orchestration of woodwind and brass instruments, including four antiphonal offstage brass ensembles placed at the corners of the concert stage...

, although with the introduction of pedal tuning, this number can be reduced.

Modern composers will often specify the beating spot to alter the sound of the drum. When the timpani are struck directly in the center of the head, the drums have a sound that is almost completely devoid of tone and resonance. George Gershwin
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known...

 uses this effect in An American in Paris
An American in Paris
An American in Paris is a symphonic tone poem by the American composer George Gershwin, written in 1928. Inspired by the time Gershwin had spent in Paris, it evokes the sights and energy of the French capital in the 1920s. It is one of Gershwin's best-known compositions.Gershwin composed the piece...

. Struck close to the edge, timpani produce a very thin, hollow sound. This effect is used by composers such as Bartók, Bernstein, and Kodály.

A variation of this is to strike the head while two fingers of one hand lightly press and release spots near the center. The head will then vibrate at a harmonic
Harmonic
A harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency, i.e. if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies 2f, 3f, 4f, . . . etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental...

, much like the similar effect on a string instrument.

Resonance can cause drums not in use to vibrate, causing a more quiet sound to be produced. Timpanists must normally avoid this effect, called sympathetic resonance
Sympathetic resonance
Sympathetic resonance is a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness. The classic example is demonstrated with two similar tuning-forks of which one is mounted on a wooden box. If the other one is...

, but composers have exploited it in solo pieces such as Elliot Carter's Eight Pieces for Four Timpani
Eight Pieces for Four Timpani
Eight Pieces for Four Timpani is a collection of short pieces by Elliott Carter for solo timpani – four drums played by one musician. Six of the pieces were composed in 1950. Two new pieces were added in 1966, and the rest were revised in collaboration with percussionist Jan Williams. Carter wrote...

. Resonance is reduced by damping or muting the drums, and in some cases composers will specify that timpani be played con sordino (with mute) or coperti (covered), both of which indicate that mutes—typically small pieces of felt or leather—should be placed on the head.

Composers will sometimes specify that the timpani should be struck with implements other than timpani sticks. It is common in timpani etudes and solos for performers to play with their hands or fingers. Philip Glass
Philip Glass
Philip Glass is an American composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public .His music is often described as minimalist, along with...

's "Concerto Fantasy" utilizes this technique during a timpani cadenza. Also, Michael Daugherty
Michael Daugherty
Michael Kevin Daugherty is an American composer, pianist, and teacher. Influenced by popular culture, Romanticism, and Postmodernism, Daugherty is one of the most colorful and widely performed American concert music composers of his generation...

's "Raise The Roof" calls for this technique to be used for a certain passage. Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 calls for maracas on timpani in both the "Jeremiah" Symphony and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Edward Elgar
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

 attempts to use the timpani to imitate the engine of an ocean liner in his "Enigma" Variations
Enigma Variations
Variations on an Original Theme for orchestra , Op. 36, commonly referred to as the Enigma Variations, is a set of a theme and its fourteen variations written for orchestra by Edward Elgar in 1898–1899. It is Elgar's best-known large-scale composition, for both the music itself and the...

 by requesting the timpanist play a soft roll with snare drum
Snare drum
The snare drum or side drum is a melodic percussion instrument with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable, or gut cords stretched across the drumhead, typically the bottom. Pipe and tabor and some military snare drums often have a second set of snares on the bottom...

 sticks. However, snare drum sticks tend to produce too loud a sound, and since this work's premiere, the passage in question has been performed by striking the timpani with coins. Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

 asks for the timpanist to use drum sticks in his War Requiem
War Requiem
The War Requiem, Op. 66 is a large-scale, non-liturgical setting of the Requiem Mass composed by Benjamin Britten mostly in 1961 and completed January 1962. Interspersed with the traditional Latin texts, in telling juxtaposition, are settings of Wilfred Owen poems...

to evoke the sound of a field drum.

Robert W. Smith
Robert W. Smith
Robert W. Smith is an American composer, arranger, and teacher.-Biography:Smith was born in the small town of Daleville, Alabama on October 24 1958. He attended high school in Dadeville, after which he left for Troy State University, where he played lead trumpet in the Sound of the South Marching...

's Songs of Sailor and Sea calls for a "whale sound" on the timpani. This is achieved by moistening the thumb and rubbing it from the edge to the center of the drumhead. Amongst other techniques used primarily in solo work, such as John Beck's Sonata for Timpani, is striking the copper bowls. Timpanists tend to be reluctant to strike the bowls at loud dynamic levels or with hard sticks, since copper can be dented easily due to its soft nature.

On some occasions a composer may ask for a metal object, commonly an upside-down cymbal
Cymbal
Cymbals are a common percussion instrument. Cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys; see cymbal making for a discussion of their manufacture. The greater majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound a...

, to be placed upon the drumhead and then struck or rolled while executing a glissando on the drum. Joseph Schwantner
Joseph Schwantner
Joseph C. Schwantner is a Pulitzer Prize winning American composer and educator and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the 1970 Charles Ives Prize....

 used this technique in From A Dark Millennium. Carl Orff
Carl Orff
Carl Orff was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana . In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential method of music education for children.-Early life:...

 asks for cymbals resting on the drumhead while the drum is struck in his later works. Additionally, Michael Daugherty
Michael Daugherty
Michael Kevin Daugherty is an American composer, pianist, and teacher. Influenced by popular culture, Romanticism, and Postmodernism, Daugherty is one of the most colorful and widely performed American concert music composers of his generation...

, in his concerto "Raise The Roof," utilizes this technique.

History


Pre-orchestral history

It has been said that the first recorded use of early Tympanum was in "ancient times when it is known that they were used in religious ceremonies by Hebrews."

The Moon of Pejeng
Moon of Pejeng
The Moon of Pejeng, also known as the Pejeng Moon, in Bali is the largest single-cast bronze kettle drum in the world. and "the largest known relic from Southeast Asia's Bronze Age period." It is "considered highly sacred by local people." It is thought to be a relic of early rice cultivation...

, also known as the Pejeng Moon, in Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

, the largest single-cast bronze kettle drum in the world, is more than two thousand years old. The Moon of Pejeng is "the largest known relic from Southeast Asia's Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 period. According to Balinese legend, the Pejeng Moon was a wheel of the chariot that pulled the real moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 through the night sky. One night, as the chariot was passing over Pejeng
Pejeng
Pejeng is a village in Bali, Indonesia, in the Petauan River valley. It is a bit east of Ubud in Gianyar Regency. It is home to the Moon of Pejeng, the largest single-cast bronze kettle drum in the world. Pejeng is a rural area with extensive, and ancient, irrigated rice cultivation....

, the wheel detached and fell to earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

, landing in a tree, where it glowed nearly as brightly as the real moon. This light disturbed a thief who, annoyed, climbed the tree and urinated on it; the thief paid for his sacrilege with his life. The moon eventually cooled and has been preserved as a sacred relic by the local villagers.
The drum is in the Pura Penataran Asih temple."
In 1188, Cambro-Norman
Cambro-Norman
Cambro-Norman is a term used for Norman knights who settled in southern Wales after the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Some historians suggest that the term is to be preferred to Anglo-Norman for the Normans who invaded Ireland after 1170 — many of whom originated in Wales. However, the term...

 chronicler Gerald of Wales wrote, "Ireland uses and delights in two instruments only, the harp namely, and the tympanum."

Arabic naker
Naker
A naker or nakir is a small drum, of Arabic origin, and the forebear of the European timpani .The nakers were imported into Europe during the Crusades of the 13th century....

s, the direct ancestors of most timpani, were brought to 13th century Continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

 by Crusaders and Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s. These drums, which were small (with a diameter
Diameter
In geometry, a diameter of a circle is any straight line segment that passes through the center of the circle and whose endpoints are on the circle. The diameters are the longest chords of the circle...

 of about 20–22 cm or 8–8½ in) and mounted to the player's belt, were used primarily for military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 ceremonies
Ceremony
A ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan origin.-Ceremonial occasions:A ceremony may mark a rite of passage in a human life, marking the significance of, for example:* birth...

. This form of timpani remained in use until the 16th century.

In 1457, a Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 legation
Legation
A legation was the term used in diplomacy to denote a diplomatic representative office lower than an embassy. Where an embassy was headed by an Ambassador, a legation was headed by a Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary....

 sent by King Ladislaus V carried larger timpani mounted on horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

back to the court of King Charles VII
Charles VII of France
Charles VII , called the Victorious or the Well-Served , was King of France from 1422 to his death, though he was initially opposed by Henry VI of England, whose Regent, the Duke of Bedford, ruled much of France including the capital, Paris...

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. This variety of timpani had been used in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 since the 12th century. These drums evolved together with trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s to be the primary instruments of the cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

. This practice continues to this day in sections of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

, and timpani continued to be paired with trumpets when they entered the classical orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

.

Over the next two centuries, a number of technical improvements were made to timpani. Originally, the head was nailed directly to the shell of the drum. In the 15th century, heads began to be attached and tensioned by a counterhoop that was tied directly to the shell. In the early 16th century, the bindings were replaced by screw
Screw
A screw, or bolt, is a type of fastener characterized by a helical ridge, known as an external thread or just thread, wrapped around a cylinder. Some screw threads are designed to mate with a complementary thread, known as an internal thread, often in the form of a nut or an object that has the...

s. This allowed timpani to become tunable instruments of definite pitch.

Timpani in the orchestra

Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

 is the first known composer to have scored for timpani, which he included in the orchestra for his 1675 opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 Thésée. (Earlier uses were likely, but poorly documented.) Other seventeenth-century composers soon followed suit. At that time, timpani were almost always tuned with the tonic
Tonic (music)
In music, the tonic is the first scale degree of the diatonic scale and the tonal center or final resolution tone. The triad formed on the tonic note, the tonic chord, is thus the most significant chord...

 note of the piece on the high drum and the dominant
Dominant (music)
In music, the dominant is the fifth scale degree of the diatonic scale, called "dominant" because it is next in importance to the tonic,and a dominant chord is any chord built upon that pitch, using the notes of the same diatonic scale...

 on the low drum – a perfect fourth
Perfect fourth
In classical music from Western culture, a fourth is a musical interval encompassing four staff positions , and the perfect fourth is a fourth spanning five semitones. For example, the ascending interval from C to the next F is a perfect fourth, as the note F lies five semitones above C, and there...

 apart. Timpani were often treated as transposing instrument
Transposing instrument
A transposing instrument is a musical instrument for which written notes are read at a pitch different from the corresponding concert pitch, which a non-transposing instrument, such as a piano, would play. Playing a written C on a transposing instrument will produce a note other than concert C...

s in the music of this period: the notes were written as C and G with the actual pitches indicated at the top of the score (for example, Timpani in D–A).

Later in the Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 era, Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 wrote a secular cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

 titled "Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!
Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!
Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!, BWV 214, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, composed to honor the birthday of Maria Josepha, Queen of Poland and Electress of Saxony. It is also known as Glückwünschkantate zum Geburtstage der Königin. It was first performed on 8 December 1733 in the...

", which translates roughly to "Sound off, ye timpani! Sound, trumpets!" Naturally, the timpani are placed at the forefront: the piece starts with a timpani solo and the chorus and timpani trade the melody back and forth. Bach reworked this movement in part 1 of the Christmas Oratorio
Christmas Oratorio
The Christmas Oratorio BWV 248, is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach intended for performance in church during the Christmas season. It was written for the Christmas season of 1734 incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during 1733 and 1734 and a...

.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 revolutionized timpani music in the early 19th century. He not only wrote for drums tuned to intervals other than a fourth or fifth, but he gave a prominence to the instrument as an independent voice beyond programmatic use (as in Bach's "Tönet, ihr Pauken!"). For example, his Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, was written in 1806.The work was premiered on 23 December 1806 in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. Beethoven wrote the concerto for his colleague Franz Clement, a leading violinist of the day, who had earlier given him helpful advice on...

 (1806) opens with four solo timpani strokes, and the scherzo
Scherzo
A scherzo is a piece of music, often a movement from a larger piece such as a symphony or a sonata. The scherzo's precise definition has varied over the years, but it often refers to a movement which replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or...

 of his Ninth Symphony
Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem...

 (1824) sets the timpani against the orchestra in a sort of call and response
Call and response (music)
In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or response to the first...

.

The next major innovator was Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

. He was the first composer to indicate the exact sticks that should be used – "felt
Felt
Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size....

-covered", "wooden", etc. In several of his works, including Symphonie fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique
Symphonie Fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste...en cinq parties , Op. 14, is a program symphony written by the French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830. It is one of the most important and representative pieces of the early Romantic period, and is still very popular with concert audiences...

(1830), he demanded the use of several timpanists at once.

Until the late 19th century, timpani were hand-tuned; that is, there was a sequence of screws with T-shaped handles, called taps, which altered the tension in the head when turned by players. Thus, tuning was a relatively slow operation, and composers had to allow a reasonable amount of time for players to change notes if they were called to tune in the middle of a work. The first 'machine' timpani, with a single tuning handle, was developed in 1812. The first pedal timpani originated in Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 in the 1870s and are called Dresden timpani for this reason. However, since vellum
Vellum
Vellum is mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. It is generally smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation, the quality of the skin and the type of animal used...

 was used for the heads of the drums, automated solutions were difficult to implement since the tension would vary unpredictably across the drum. This could be compensated for by hand-tuning, but not easily by a pedal drum. Mechanisms continued to improve in the early 20th century.

Despite these problems, composers eagerly exploited the opportunities the new mechanism had to offer. By 1915, Carl Nielsen
Carl Nielsen
Carl August Nielsen , , widely recognised as Denmark's greatest composer, was also a conductor and a violinist. Brought up by poor but musically talented parents on the island of Funen, he demonstrated his musical abilities at an early age...

 was demanding glissando
Glissando
In music, a glissando is a glide from one pitch to another. It is an Italianized musical term derived from the French glisser, to glide. In some contexts it is distinguished from the continuous portamento...

s on timpani in his Fourth Symphony—impossible on the old hand-tuned drums. However, it took Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

 to more fully realize the flexibility the new mechanism had to offer. Many of his timpani parts require such a range of notes that it would be unthinkable to attempt them without pedal drums.

Timpani outside the orchestra

Later, timpani were adopted into other classical music ensembles such as concert band
Concert band
A concert band, also called wind band, symphonic band, symphonic winds, wind orchestra, wind symphony, wind ensemble, or symphonic wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of several members of the woodwind instrument family, brass instrument family, and percussion instrument family.A...

s. In the 1970s, marching band
Marching band
Marching band is a physical activity in which a group of instrumental musicians generally perform outdoors and incorporate some type of marching with their musical performance. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments...

s and drum and bugle corps
Drum and bugle corps (modern)
A drum and bugle corps, also known as a drum corps, is a musical marching unit consisting of brass instruments, percussion instruments, and color guard. Typically operating as independent non-profit organizations, drum corps perform in competitions, parades, festivals, and other civic functions...

, which evolved both from traditional marching bands and concert bands, began to include marching timpani. Unlike concert timpani, marching versions had fiberglass shells to make them light enough to carry. Each player carried a single drum, which was tuned by a hand crank. Often, during intricate passages, the timpani players would put their drums on the ground by means of extendable legs, and performed more like conventional timpani, yet with a single player per drum. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, marching arts-based organizations' allowance for timpani and other percussion instruments to be permanently grounded became mainstream. This was the beginning of the end for marching timpani: Eventually, standard concert timpani found their way onto the football field as part of the front ensemble
Front ensemble
In a marching band or drum corps, the front ensemble or pit is the stationary percussion ensemble. This ensemble is typically placed in front of the football field, though some groups will work the front ensemble into a tight pod onto the marching field...

, and marching timpani fell out of common usage.

Timpani are still used by the Mounted Bands of the Household Division
Household Division
Household Division is a term used principally in the Commonwealth of Nations to describe a country’s most elite or historically senior military units, or those military units that provide ceremonial or protective functions associated directly with the head of state.-Historical Development:In...

 of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

.
As rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 bands started seeking to diversify their sound, timpani found their way into the studio. In 1959 Leiber and Stoller made the innovative use of timpani in their production of the Drifters' recording, "There Goes My Baby." Starting in the 1960s, drummers for high profile rock acts like The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

, The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The group was initially composed of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, The Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962...

, and Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

 incorporated timpani into their music. This led to the use of timpani in progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

. Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are an English progressive rock supergroup. They found success in the 1970s and sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson , Greg Lake and Carl Palmer...

 recorded a number of rock covers of classical pieces that utilize timpani. More recently, the rock band Muse
Muse (band)
Muse are an English alternative rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994. The band consists of school friends Matthew Bellamy , Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard...

 has incorporated timpani into some of their classically based songs, most notably in Exogenesis: Symphony, Part I (Overture).

Jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 musicians also experimented with timpani. Sun Ra
Sun Ra
Sun Ra was a prolific jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy," musical compositions and performances. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama...

 used it occasionally in his Arkestra (played, for example, by percussionist Jim Herndon on the songs "Reflection in Blue" and "El Viktor," both recorded in 1957). In 1964, Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Ray Jones was a jazz drummer of the post-bop era. He showed interest in drums at a young age, watching the circus bands march by his family's home in Pontiac, Michigan....

 incorporated timpani into his drum kit on John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz...

's four-part composition A Love Supreme
A Love Supreme
A Love Supreme is a studio album recorded by John Coltrane's quartet in December 1964 and released by Impulse! Records in February 1965...

.

Jonathan Haas is one of the few timpanists who markets himself as a soloist. Haas, who began his career as a solo timpanist in 1980, is notable for performing music from many genres including jazz, rock, and classical. In fact, he released an album with a rather unconventional jazz band called Johnny H. and the Prisoners of Swing. Glass's Concerto Fantasy, commissioned by Haas, put two soloists in front of the orchestra, an atypical placement for the instruments. Haas also commissioned Susman's
William Susman
William Joseph Susman, born August 29, 1960 in Chicago, is an American composer of concert and film music as well as an accomplished pianist. He belongs to the generation of American composers that came of age in the late twentieth century, received traditional academic training while remaining...

 "Floating Falling" for timpani and cello.

List of selected works for timpani

  • Béla Bartók
    Béla Bartók
    Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

    • Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta

  • João Victor Bota
    • Labirinto for 5 timpani

  • Elliott Carter
    Elliott Carter
    Elliott Cook Carter, Jr. is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer born and living in New York City. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in the 1930s, and then returned to the United States. After a neoclassical phase, he went on to write atonal, rhythmically complex music...

    • Eight Pieces for Four Timpani
      Eight Pieces for Four Timpani
      Eight Pieces for Four Timpani is a collection of short pieces by Elliott Carter for solo timpani – four drums played by one musician. Six of the pieces were composed in 1950. Two new pieces were added in 1966, and the rest were revised in collaboration with percussionist Jan Williams. Carter wrote...


  • Georg Druschetzky
    Georg Druschetzky
    Jiří Družecký was a Bohemian composer, oboist, and timpanist.He studied oboe with the noted oboist and composer Carlo Besozzi in Dresden. He then joined the band of an infantry regiment in Eger, with which he was later stationed in Vienna, Enns, Linz, and Branau. In 1777 he was certified as a...

    • Concerto for Six Timpani
    • Partita in C

  • Philip Glass
    Philip Glass
    Philip Glass is an American composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public .His music is often described as minimalist, along with...

    • Concerto Fantasy for two Timpanists and Orchestra
      Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra
      The Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra is a double timpani concerto written by Philip Glass in 2000. It is paired with the Cello Concerto on Vol. I of Glass' Concerto Project, a set of six concerti written by the composer...


  • Christoph Graupner
    Christoph Graupner
    Christoph Graupner was a German harpsichordist and composer of high Baroque music who lived and worked at the same time as Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann and George Frideric Handel.-Graupner's life:Born in Hartmannsdorf near Kirchberg in Saxony, Graupner received his first musical...

    • Symphony for 2 Horns, 2 Violins, Viola, and Timpani

  • Gordon Jacob
    Gordon Jacob
    Gordon Percival Septimus Jacob was an English composer. He is known for his wind instrument composition and his instructional writings.-Life:...

    • Concerto for Wind Band, Timpani, and Orchestra

  • Mauricio Kagel
    Mauricio Kagel
    Mauricio Kagel was a German-Argentine composer. He was notable for his interest in developing the theatrical side of musical performance .-Biography:...

    • Konzertstück for timpani and orchestra

  • William Kraft
    William Kraft
    William Kraft is a composer, conductor, teacher, and percussionist.-Undergrad and Graduate School Years :...

    • Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra

  • Johann Melchior Molter
    Johann Melchior Molter
    Johann Melchior Molter was a German baroque composer and violinist.He was born at Tiefenort, near Eisenach, and was educated at the Gymnasium in Eisenach. By autumn 1717 he had left Eisenach and was working as a violinist in Karlsruhe. Here he married Maria Salome Rollwagen, with whom he had eight...

    • Symphony No. 99

  • François-André Danican Philidor
    François-André Danican Philidor
    François-André Danican Philidor , often referred to as André Danican Philidor during his lifetime, was a French composer and chess player. He contributed to the early development of the opéra comique...

    • March for Two Pairs of Kettledrums

  • Ney Rosauro
    Ney Rosauro
    Ney Rosauro is a Brazilian composer and percussionist.His compositions include solos for marimba, vibraphone and multi-percussion setups, as well as music for percussion ensembles and orchestras...

    • Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra

  • William Susman
    William Susman
    William Joseph Susman, born August 29, 1960 in Chicago, is an American composer of concert and film music as well as an accomplished pianist. He belongs to the generation of American composers that came of age in the late twentieth century, received traditional academic training while remaining...

    • Floating Falling for Timpani and Cello

  • Jörg Widmann
    Jörg Widmann
    Jörg Widmann is a German composer and clarinetist. He lives and works in Munich and Freiburg.- Education and career :...

    • Con brio for Orchestra (and Timpani Soloist)

See also

  • List of timpani manufacturers
  • Electronic tuner
    Electronic tuner
    The term electronic tuner can refer to a number of different things, depending which discipline you wish to study.In the Discipline of radio frequency electronics an electronic tuner is a device which tunes across a part of the radio frequency spectrum by the application of a voltage or appropriate...

  • Naqareh
    Naqareh
    The naqqāra is a drum with a rounded back and a hide head. It is thus a membranophone.The term naqqāra , also naqqarat, naqqarah, naqqåre, nakkare, nagora comes from the Arabic verb naqr- that means "to strike, beat".-Construction:The rounded section of a naqqara is made of baked clay, while the...

  • Missing fundamental
    Missing fundamental
    A sound is said to have a missing fundamental, suppressed fundamental, or phantom fundamental when its overtones suggest a fundamental frequency but the sound lacks a component at the fundamental frequency itself....


Further reading

  • Adler, Samuel. The Study of Orchestration. W. W. Norton & Company, 3rd edition, 2002. ISBN 0-393-97572-X
  • Del Mar, Norman. Anatomy of the Orchestra. University of California Press, 1984. ISBN 0-520-05062-2
  • Ferrell, Robert G. "Percussion in Medieval and Renaissance Dance Music: Theory and Performance". 1997. Retrieved February 22, 2006.
  • Montagu, Jeremy. Timpani & Percussion. Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-300-09337-3
  • Peters, Mitchell. Fundamental Method for Timpani. Alfred Publishing Co., 1993. ISBN 0-7390-2051-X
  • Solomon, Samuel Z. How to Write for Percussion. Published by the author, 2002. ISBN 0-9744721-0-7
  • Thomas, Dwight. Timpani: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved February 4, 2005.
  • Zoutendijk, Marc. Letters to Flamurai. February 8, 2005.
  • "Credits: Beatles for Sale". Allmusic. Retrieved February 18, 2005.
  • "Credits: A Love Supreme". Allmusic. Retrieved February 18, 2005.
  • "Credits: Tubular Bells". Allmusic. Retrieved February 18, 2005.
  • "Kettledrum". 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica as retrieved from http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/JUN_KHA/KETTLEDRUM_1_Fr_timbales_Ger_Pa.html on February 26, 2006.
  • "William Kraft Biography". Composer John Beal. Retrieved May 21, 2006.
  • "Timpanist - Musician or Technician?". Cloyd E. Duff, Principal Timpani - retired - Cleveland Orchestra.
  • "Timpani"

External links

  • Timpani FAQ by Dwight Thomas, Principal Timpanist, Omaha Symphony
  • Timpani picture album featuring antique instruments and those in the collection of the RCO
  • Gallery of historical artwork featuring timpani
  • Videos of Tim Genis, Principal Timpanist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Boston Symphony Orchestra
    The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at the Tanglewood Music Center...

    , demonstrating his line of timpani mallets by performing excerpts from orchestral repertoire
  • Video of Stuart Marrs, chairman of the University of Maine
    University of Maine
    The University of Maine is a public research university located in Orono, Maine, United States. The university was established in 1865 as a land grant college and is referred to as the flagship university of the University of Maine System...

     music department, performing the March from Eight Pieces for Four Timpani
    Eight Pieces for Four Timpani
    Eight Pieces for Four Timpani is a collection of short pieces by Elliott Carter for solo timpani – four drums played by one musician. Six of the pieces were composed in 1950. Two new pieces were added in 1966, and the rest were revised in collaboration with percussionist Jan Williams. Carter wrote...

  • The Well-Tempered Timpani—Timpani harmonics information
  • Website of Guido Rückel, solo-timpanist of Munich Philharmonic; many timpani pictures
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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