Timpani (It.; Fr. timbales ; Ger. Pauken)
- James Blades
- , revised by Edmund A. Bowles
European kettledrums (see Drum, §I, 2, (i)). The timpani are the most important percussion instruments of the orchestra, mainly because they are capable of producing notes of definite pitch and so can take part in the harmony of a composition. They are tuned precisely, each to a given note, according to the composer's directions in the score, and these notes may be altered as required during the performance of a work (typically for a change of key), by tightening or slackening the drumhead by means of screws or other mechanisms....