- Slides: 22
Timpani Masterclass Norwin Percussion Master Class #1
A few clarifications to start… Timpani-the word is plural and refers to the complete set of drums; the word “timpanies” does not exist. Timpani are also called Kettledrums The low drum is on the left. * Every drum must be tuned before you play. One drum is called a timpano. The drum is NOT a table! There are two common spellings; timpani and tympani.
Other languages: French. Timbales German. Pauken Italian. Timpani
The drums… Timpani usually are seen in groups of 2 or 4. Beginner to Intermediate level use 2. High school and college use 4. The fifth and smallest drum is used in college and professional level playing.
Drum Sizes n The sizes of the drums are in increments of 3 inches. 32, 29, 26, 23, and the occasional 20. 29” 32” 26” 23”
Ranges on each drum o For the lowest note on each drum, take a B flat major chord and put it into first inversion. i. e. D, F, Bb, D o For the highest note on each drum, take an F major chord and put it into first inversion. i. e. A, C, F, A o Therefore the ranges are: 32” 29” 26” 23” D^A F^C Bb^F D^A
Another way to look at it… Each drum gets a perfect fifth. DEFGABCDEFGA b 29” 32” 26” 23”
Playing area on the drums n The appropriate playing area on the timpani is roughly 1/4 -1/3 of the way towards the center from the rim. 29” 32” 26” 23”
Tuning the drums Start by finding the pitch you want by playing the nearest mallet instrument or piano. Try to avoid pitch pipes. Try staying near the lower end of the instrument to get a better representation of the actual note you want. After you hum the note, strike the drum once and move the pedal up in pitch by pushing down the toe. Eventually you might flick the drum with your finger instead of striking the drum. You will hear the pitch slowly rise When you think you have found your pitch, play the note again on the marimba and double check by striking the drum one final time. If the drum head is tuned well, you can sing into the drum and if the same pitch rings back to you, then it is in tune with your singing. Once you have all your drums tuned, play all notes in a row on the marimba, lowest to highest, and then play the drums lowest to highest and double check.
Remembering Intervals • A Fourth is “Here Comes the Bride” • A Fifth is “Twinkle, Twinkle little star”
Sitting versus standing Sitting Standing 1. Ease of changing Pitches 1. Better playing angle* 2. More comfortable 2. Easier Movement on faster passages Most high school, college, and professionals prefer to sit due to the pitch changes involved with higher level music. The most important thing is to sit correctly. You should sit on the edge of the stool with your weight distributed between your feet and lower abdomen…no swinging feet.
Grips o The French grip is achieved by turning the hand over so the thumbs are on top o The German grip is the exact grip as the regular snare drum grip where the back of the hand is flat and facing upward o The Americanized version of these grips is somewhere in between
The stroke… The timpani stroke is quite difficult to master. Because of the nature of the drum, we must constantly lift the sound out of the head. The stroke is called legato which means connected and smooth. The most incorrectly performed part of the stroke is the follow through. Instead of catching the stick with our back fingers, we must pull the stick head up with our wrist.
The angle of the stroke l l l Our ultimate goal is to hit the flattest part of the mallet head If we are too high (standing) then we are hitting the thin part of the mallet head If we are too low, then we will be hitting the rim
¡ When playing the timpani, the head of the mallets should be about the length of a dollar bill apart. This allows a better vibration of the head after each stroke.
Muffling Always muffle on the exact spot that you hit the drum. ¡ If you muffle too close to the rim or too close to the center, the note will keep ringing. ¡ Kick out your last three fingers and hold the stick with your fulcrum (thumb and index finger). ¡ Push gently into the head. ¡ Try to avoid contact sound with the fingers. ¡
Rolls n n n Our initial thought is to roll too fast. Slow down your hands and listen for tone. The lower the drums, the slower the roll The higher the drums, the faster the roll This allows the appropriate tone to be produced on the drum
Music example #12 drums (26”& 29”)
Cross sticking When cross sticking, keep your hands centered in front of you. Think wrist over wrist instead of reaching. A cross stick is notated with an x either with or without a circle around it. x The main reason to cross stick on Timpani is to avoid double sticking.
n Alwaysn n n Cover the timpani when you finish playing Keep your mallets stored in a mallet bag Use smart, logical sticking to where you never have 3 strokes of the same hand in a row on moderate to fast passages Lower the pedals completely after playing Nevern n n Use the drums as a table Use a buzz or double stroke roll on the drum Tune or un-tune the tension rods Play on un-tuned drums Put all your weight on the stool
Musical example #2 – 4 drums n Follow the music. Watch for cross sticking and doubles.