Sheet Music

Songs without forte

Exercises for lyrical timpani playing

Some of the orchestra literature for timpani seems a bit simple and technically speaking, less than spectacular at first glance. So all the more are we timpanists called upon to go past the notation and create music. In order to do this, we need to know the work, be comfortable with the style and especially develop and cultivate our will and commitment to shape the music.

The origin of all music making comes from the voice. When hearing traditional folk music, we can experience how performers naturally express and form musical lines, phrases and the constant fluctuation between building up tension and releasing it. No dynamics need to be notated. The formal structure of the song (supported by the text) appears to be essential to naturally reach climaxes and give phrases direction. This is why there are no dynamic or other musical indications in the following folk song collection (or songs without "forte").

I have simply taken a two-note timpani part and written it in the rhythm of a folk song which should be played as if it were a melody. Using dynamics carefully and discretely is the skill to be learned here. Forming musical lines and tastefully placing emphasis when needed is a question of sensitive articulation and timing. Delaying a note a tiny bit, for example, can have a considerably more convincing effect than just an accent.

The rolls notated are optional. I recommend leaving out the rolls at first to fully concentrate on the musical form, sound and subtle tempo changes. Afterwards, try to incorporate the roll in such a way that it is not perceived as a technical highlight, but rather as a very tasteful means to prolong the note and the sound, flowing with the intention of the music.

I wish you all the best making music!


Published 2014
Available at Brandt Percussion

€ 10,00 + shipping