Lame timpanists? Or lame instructors?


Recommended Posts

Keyboards don't go sharp. As the air heats up, the bars themselves will go ever so slightly flat while the resonators go sharp (up to a half-step on the low end). The result is that the pitch of the bar is heard, but the fundamental is nearly gone from the sound. When bars wear out and reach their breaking point, they go flat.

The only way to make a keyboard bar sharper is to either shorten it or thicken it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 44
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

And, apparently, the only way to deliver a joke is with a stupid smiley emoticon.

Sheesh.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say there are plenty of high quality timpanists out there. From 2005 alone, some notable timpanists include Glassmen, Crown, Bluecoats*, Phantom, and Cavaliers.

*Bluecoats guy has been there since 2000 and just aged out this year I believe. Ridiculous talent right there.

Edited by Carl306
Link to post
Share on other sites
I would say there are plenty of high quality timpanists out there. From 2005 alone, some notable timpanists include Glassmen, Crown, Bluecoats*, Phantom, and Cavaliers.

*Bluecoats guy has been there since 2000 and just aged out this year I believe. Ridiculous talent right there.

Hi Carl306...

Actually, the Bluecoats' timpanist---Greg Tsalikis---was once my student in an indoor drumline. :) Not that I take credit for his talent---it's all his!

Though my thread title ("Lame timpanists?") was intended to get peoples' attention, I do believe there are some good timpanists in DCI. I also believe much of that talent is still undeveloped because world-class timpani instructors are few and far between. (And I point to the lack of projection as one aspect of this undeveloped quality.)

As I've said before, it's difficult to become a truly great timpanist without playing in an orchestra full-time for at least a few years. Playing in a concert band or wind ensemble at a university is fine, but it's not the same level of experience a timpanist gets in a good symphony orchestra. I'm not bashing bands---just saying that the quantity of great (and demanding) repertoire for timpani is far greater in orchestral music than anywhere else.

I've been lucky enough to have that orchestral experience, and I'd like to do what I can to pass some knowledge on to people who haven't yet had that kind of experience.

Scott

Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitly agree with you on the whole experience through a symphony orchestra, but then again, how many people who are actually in these corps are able to participate in that kind of thing? Most are in college or in high school and simply don't have the time or the money. Unless of course, the orchestra doesn't have any fees involved.

Awesome that you were Greg's instructor. Do you still talk to him at all?

Link to post
Share on other sites

just a quick question for any of the other timpanists that may be reading this thread...did any of you use (or even have) gauges on your timpani?

i had them, although i didn't stare at them for every single tuning. mainly just used them as reference points as i would be playing one drum and tuning another...foot memory played a major role in my...playing...

another thing on tuning, don't you hate it when you run a rep, play the whole thing solid and hit that last note flat.....yarg.....

and just one more thing to add....swriverstone, you've made a clear point that power was lacking in drumcorps timps...but have you thought about maybe drum corps timpani have a different approach for a reason? i'm certainly not trying to cause any unrest between you and i. because i got many comments on having a solid presence by the judges through the summer. just thinking maybe we're doing what's right for our activity.

i play guitar. i'm very much a heavy metal guitar man. i don't understand jazz guitar one bit, i used to think everything they did was wrong, until i figured out that they were just different...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say gauges are fine for doing blind pitch changes (when you can't pull a reference pitch out of what is going on behind you), but with the temperature on these drums cycling all the time, there's no way those gauges will be right on on a consistent basis.

Link to post
Share on other sites
another thing on tuning, don't you hate it when you run a rep, play the whole thing solid and hit that last note flat.....yarg.....

Oh yeah...I had a COLOSSAL moment of stupidity like that once---playing timpani for a huge concert (1,000+ people in the audience) at the Spoleto Festival. We were doing Mahler's 5th Symphony---a huge symphony with a gigantic timpani part. At the end of the whole symphony, the GRAND CLIMAX!---the timpani play the 4-note melody in unison with the brass, fff. I completely spaced on a critical tuning change (after nailing it many times in rehearsal), and came crashing in on that melody with one note a full tritone away from the correct pitch---DOH! The lick was so hard there was no time to correct it without looking really bad...so I just crashed through it---fff---with a GLARING wrong note. The conductor made a really surprised and angry face at me and didn't want me playing for him ever again. I wanted to put a gun to my head! :( So we've all been there...

swriverstone, you've made a clear point that power was lacking in drumcorps timps...but have you thought about maybe drum corps timpani have a different approach for a reason?  i'm certainly not trying to cause any unrest between you and i.  because i got many comments on having a solid presence by the judges through the summer.  just thinking maybe we're doing what's right for our activity.

You make a good point, and sure---I'm willing to admit that drum corps timpani might just be a different sound, different approach, different reasoning. Lots of people have said they got compliments from judges on their solid sound and presence. Though I certainly don't know this (just a theory), I've suggested that those same judges might not have ever really spent a lot of time listening to professional symphony orchestras. I know it's common for many drum corps judges to be 100% band people---and have never really been involved in orchestral music in their entire careers. (Nothing against being a 100% band person!)

So...sure, if one's goal as a drum corps timpanist is to really integrate well with the keyboards in the pit---in other words, almost serve the role of an "ultra-bass keyboard instrument," then I think many people are doing an excellent job of that. And that could be a good thing! :)

My belief (and it's just another opinion) is that timpani are capable of not only blending with the mallets...but being a huge, powerful instrument that can actually support the entire horn line...and not just the pit. In other words, my philosophy of timpani is more that timpani are a solo instrument...and not just a section instrument. This is the role of timpani in an orchestra.

But I'll readily admit that outdoor vs. indoor acoustics are two WAY different situations! And it's a lot easier to play over a string section than 65 horns! :) I would LOVE to find a pit instructor (and music caption head) who is willing---for one season even---to pump up the timpani bigtime---through more player projection and (yes) amplification...and not back down when judges say "timpani are a bit overpowering"...and try to educate judges that this is the way timpani are supposed to sound! :)

Scott

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...
just a quick question for any of the other timpanists that may be reading this thread...did any of you use (or even have) gauges on your timpani?

I was lucky to have any timps. I even had one or two drums that were older than me the past few seasons! Nothing like being in a "K-Mart" pit (or "beg and borrow" pit)...................

And thanks for this thread, although it's like a month and a half past when I could've used all this useful information............. I'll be sure to pass this thread along to the next Renegade timp player............

By the way, what part of Virginia are you from SWriverstone???? I grew up in Va. Beach a long time ago.........

Edited by wolf1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Im quite happy I found this thread ... I primarily play tuba, but this year Im going to be playing timps and well .. Ive never played them before in my life ... so reading this thread was quite good. Im gonna talk to my pit arranger about what you said and not having 5,000 pedal changes in a show. this is going to be quite a learning experience for me this summer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.