Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 31 October 2020

Timpani (It.; Fr. timbales ; Ger. Pauken)locked

  • James Blades
  • , revised by Edmund A. Bowles

Extract

(It. Fr. timbales Ger. Pauken)

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.

Each drum consists of a large bowl-shaped resonating chamber or shell, usually of copper (sometimes fibreglass), with a drumhead of calfskin or plastic covering the open top. The drumhead is mounted (lapped) on a hoop, over which is fitted a metal ring, or counter-hoop, which serves, on many types of timpani, as a means of tightening or slackening the drumhead....

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to access the full content.

Galpin Society Journal
Early Music
Musical Times
Proceedings of the Musical Association
Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society
J. Blades: Percussion Instruments and their History (London, 1970, 2/1974)
Anuario musical
Music & Letters
A. Lavignac and L. de La Laurencie, eds.: Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire