Timpani labels

I haven’t yet had much need to use percussion and even my next project’s needs are pretty simple: just two timpani pitches per flow (movement). What’s the best way of identifying the pitches? I know I could use text inserts at the beginning of each flow. I could also give the percussionist a complete series of ‘instruments’ which represent the double pitches and include them in the staff name. I’d then apply an instrument change when necessary, although this seems a bit convoluted. Then there’s the possibility of creating playing techniques. Just curious what more experienced users do.

Dear Vaughan,
All the works I’ve been working on and that included Timpani were written on “normal” staves, so yes, I could tell the pitches in the label (as is done usually), but the notes themselves on the staff were self-explanatory… Since the works were quite old and famous (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven symphonies) the pitches would not change dramatically during the whole piece, so I do not remember having a problem of changing staff label… but I suppose that’s the problem you’re having now!

That’s exactly what I’m doing, Marc: normal [timpani] staves in a Mozart opera. I suppose the pitches are self-explanatory, although I was wondering if, as it’s done in the Neue Mozart Ausgabe, the staff label shouldn’t reflect the pitches to be used and, if so, what would be the best way to do it.

Unless you are using the ancient (and obsolete) timp notation where the written pitches are always C and G, a few labels in staff text are probably all you need.

Actually that notation has some logic to it when combined with natural horns and trumpets, but in that situation you are not going to have frequent retuning anyway.