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  timpani advice needed  silence at 19:24 on 22 June 2005

I need to know about the practicalities of retuning timpani over large intervals during a piece. My piece involves 3 timps - one each 32", 29" 26". How practical is it for a good amateur player to retune the large timp from low D to the A a fifth above during a piece, and how long should it take? Similarly, the large timp from G at the bottom of the stave down to E below, and finally the middle timp from B down to F# below the stave. I don't have any choice about the number and size of the drums.

Can anyone help?



  Re: timpani advice needed  John Robertson at 05:27 on 23 June 2005

I just checked my book on this. If they are modern timps they should have a pedal which makes tuning quite quick. Changing over a wide interval may require manual adjustment. My book suggests at least 15 seconds to retune, and at least six seconds per drum to check tuning.

It also says the range of a 32'' is D to A so exactly what you said, but the 29'' it suggests F to C, so the E there may be a struggle. The 26'' it suggests Bb to F so that sounds out of range. However, I think all these are just the 'normal' playing area of each timp so its probably possible to play all the notes you want.

  Re: timpani advice needed  silence at 18:11 on 24 June 2005

Thanks, John. My book agrees with yours on ranges (amazing!) but I think I am within range in each case as the question refered only to the 32" (twice) and the 29". I hadn't any idea about timing, though.