What are the four sizes of timpani and their range

I. 32" D2-A2
II. 29" F2-C3
III. 26" B3-F3
IV. 23" D3-A3

American vs. German Setup

American: Low-High From left to right
German: High-Low From Left to right
They are opposite

Where to strike?

3"-5" Inches in from the edge of the bowl

Stroke Type?

Single Stroke

What is the term for fine tuning the timpani head to make it in tune with itself?


Two reasons to use a high stool:

1. Make playing height more comfortable
2. Multiple tunings at the same time

How to move the timpani

Hold the medal supports on the sides

German Term for Timpani


Why is timpani normally studied later in a students development?

More aural skills, hand/stick technique and rhythm can be learned through snare drum study

True or False: Timpani are considered apart of the percussion section in the orchestra


Italian term for muting the head


Tuning: Tapping Method

A pitch is given and the drum is tuned by tapping the head and quickly moving the pedal to the correct pitch

Tuning: Humming Method

A pitch is given and sung into the drum while the pedal is quickly moved until the drum "sings" back the pitch.

Parts of a timpani

Italian For Timpani

timpani or timpano (Singular)

French for timpani


British for timpani


Material type


Bowl Shape and how it affects the sound

hemispheric sound brighter
Parabolic sounds darker

Head material

Natural Calf Skin is superior but expensive and easily affected by weather
Plastic Heads (by Remo and Evans) are popular

Head care

Replace frequently, no more than 3-4 years
Replace is dented or ripped
Date Heads when replaced and consider using an expert

Care and Maintenance

Use head protector and padded drop covers. Depress pedal completely and lift the pedal off the floor when moving.
Weekend storage: Depress pedal half way or more
Extended Breaks: Release tension completely


wooden shaft and core, covered in "piano felt" aka timpani felt or wool. Wooden mallets can also be used. A range of soft to hard mallets

What is the basic timpani stroke called?

Legato Stroke
Loose, replaced grip allowing the mallet to strike with its own weight and own rebound. Timpani's Equivalent to the full stroke.

Staccato Stroke

Hold the mallet tighter and use a quick wrist stroke lifting quickly away from the head.

Muffling, how and why

Use the same or opposite hand to stop the sound.
1. to match the ensemble's articulation
2. Clear the sound
3. Sudden dynamic change

Sticking on timpani

Alternate as much as possible
Check ahead for cross overs or double left/rights to ensure consistent tone quality.