- Best known definite pitched instrument
- Variety of sizes and different methods of tuning:
Crank – on side of drum that’s mechanically connected to two tension rods around the drum. As crank is turned, all rods tighten or loosen.
Other has a crank or place to attach a tuning key – located on top of drum with tension rods connected via chain and gear mechanism. As key is turned, all tension rods turn.
Pedal – common method. Operated by player’s right foot like an accelerator. Depressing it makes pitch go up, and opposite way brings pitch down.
- Need to allow 6 seconds per drum to check tuning. The first or re-tune takes longer to check (15 seconds).
- Head of drum made of plastic determines the tone quality.
- Tone quality: very loose (low pitch): tone long, rumbling, attacks are dull and thump
Very tight (high pitch): tone is hard and pingy.
- Need to select drums which place the notes written that are in middle of the range for that drum to get best tone:
- Extremes of ranges can be used but needs specific instruction to confirm the intention as generally used for special effects.
- Drums are struck with timpani sticks but any mallet can be used.
- Can muffle drum with cloth on the head.
- Glissando very playable on timp with pedal tuning mechanisms.
- Dynamics range pp to ff.
Blatter, A (1997). Instrumentation & Orchestration. 2nd ed. USA: Schirmer. Pgs 209-212