Timpani Pedalings

Dorico’s algorithms for tracking harp pedalings is pretty nifty.

Does Dorico do the same for timpani, based on the fact that each available drum diameter has an applicable pitch range?

32" D1-G1
29" F1-C2
26" A1-E2
23" C2-G2
20" E2-Bb2

…where C3 = middle-C.

Of course timpanists can pedal their own parts, but they also appreciate it if sensible pedalings can have been included in their parts for them.

That’s right, and I’d let them do it themselves. Like harp pedaling, it’s one of the first things very young musicians learn about those instruments and tuning and pedaling come up time and time again. Unless you’re writing an instructional text for timpani, I’d leave such indications out.

3 Likes

But this, like the harp pedalling feature, is really useful for both composition and proofreading, to ensure the part is playable and idiomatic. Sometimes I will add all the harp pedalling only to hide it before I print. A similar feature for timpani would also be useful.

The overlapping ranges of the timpanis plus the wide variety in how many timpanis are part of the currently played set make it incredibly more difficult to implement a useful algorithm to do this automatically. Add the preference to play every timpani as much as possible in its middle range and the requirements become so complicated that the algorithm might calculate something that a player would never play.

And then there are sets like this that are actually not super uncommon in film scoring.

3 Likes

I’ll take that as a “no” for the moment. :grimacing:

It will probably be implemented alongside the “automatic fingering calculation” function :slight_smile:

For a well written timpani part I would prefer not having any pedaling instructions. There are so many individual choices and preferences that it would be impossible to find a “right” way to do it.

On the other hand some sort of assistent could help those who lack experience in writing for timpani. I encounter many parts which are written too low. Maybe because it sounds great on a DAW. Maybe because composers/arrangers are hesitant to write timpani an octave above the bass instruments (which is totally normal in literature). Sometimes you would need three 32" drums and hardly use the smaller ones.

Unfortunately, it really does! Slowing down timpani samples to low C and even lower sounds great even though it is physically impractical to make physical drums sound like that.

I played Jekyll and Hyde for a while, which starts with a single note C#1 in sffz. On most instruments this sounds like a bellyflop.

Just curious-
When one creates a sound file using timpani rolls, is it possible to adjust the speed of the roll like a real player (slower for low notes, faster for high notes)? Do the samples do this?

The ending of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony has the timp rolling a low E fortissimo for a glorious effect.

Yes, I think Timp samples are generally recorded with appropriate roll speeds for different pitches. That works out fairly well with using the same sample for several pitches. Each sample of several hits is carefully looped to sound continuous, so No, I don’t think we can change the roll speeds that were sampled.