How to Tune Timpani While You Play

In this video I demonstrate how to tune Timpani while playing. This is an important technique to practice so that you can learn where your pedals need to be for the notes that are playable on your drums and it helps you with your ability to accurately tune your drums very quickly.

Tuning quickly is very important especially when the music is playing around you and you only have a second or two before you have to play a new note on your drum. If you only played music by Mozart and Beethoven you wouldn’t have to really worry about tuning so quickly, but modern orchestral and wind ensemble timpani writing can be extremely challenging for the timpanist who must tune all four drums quite often during one piece of music.

Timpani Tuning Exercise

Playing scales or easy songs that you know on the timpani is a great way for you to learn how far you must move the pedal in order to play the next note that you want. For example; play a scale from Bb to F and back down again on your 26” drum and Play Three Blind Mice.

In this video I demonstrate playing a scale and an easy song that we all know.

Timpani Tuning Technique

Without over complicating things remember that you must move your foot at the same time as you strike the drum, but you must move your foot very fast and stop at the right position. With careful practice and playing scales and tunes you’ll soon be able to tune on the fly without your timpani sounding like a slide whistle.

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