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Timpani          Return to list of instruments     Post your comments to the blog here.

Timpani  (Kettle Drums)

Timpani is the Italian word for kettle-drums, which are tuneable drums used in the symphony orchestra. The tension of the skin membrane can be adjusted by the player, to tune each drum to a particular bass note. There are usually three kettle drums in the orchestra, tuned  to the tonic, dominant and sub-dominant notes for the key of the music being played.  There are 4 main sizes of kettle-drum, but the middle two (26 inch and 29 inch) are the most used. These are optimized for pitch rangees between F2 and F3.


Music featuring the Timpani. Audio is available for 4 tunes for this instrument.
Name of WorkCategoryComposer
Also Sprach Zarathustra - intro themeTone PoemStrauss-Richard
Fanfare for the Common ManShort PieceCopland
Polovtsian Dances from Prince IgorTone PoemBorodin
PortsmouthFolk SongVarious
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