What are these notes?

Ok team,

I need help figuring out what these notes in this timpani part are. The prominent notes in the timpani are G, Bb, C# and Ab.

I have stared at this for hours trying to figure it out but I need help or better eyes!

Please take a look and help me figure this out. It is hand written notation and is driving me crazy!


Kevin Gilpatrick

I assume the composer is unavailable…

It seems to me to be 3 C#'s with the first 32nd crossed out. “On the beat 3” is ambiguous. Does s/he mean that there are 3 notes instead of 4 (directly on the 4th beat), or is this supposed to occur on beat 3? One would need to see this passage in the context of the entire page (or even better the entire work) to make an informed decision.

How about this?

What is the piece? Might there be a recording on You Tube or elsewhere? I think david-p nailed it - C# and Bb are already available.

Thank you, I think you might be correct. It just looks like there is more there counting the stems but that is probably just the handwriting.


This is what I went with, it obviously does not begin on beat 3 so I think there is a triplet involved. I hope I’m close…

Timpani shot 2.jpg

Beat 3 has an explicit crotchet rest, so I think “on the beat” means on beat 4, and the number 3 is a triplet of I’d say just 3 C#'s. There’s no flat sign, and the second note of the triplet is quite unclear, so I’m not convinced it’s a Bb. And there’s only three accents, not five.
Why did the composer/copyist have to write “on the beat” in the first place? I think they messed up the rhythm, writing in a hurry. It’s messy to erase triple beams. 'Ehh, whatever, let’s just add “on the beat” '.There’s a stray quaver rest after beat 3, that probably shouldn’t be there. And I even think it actually might be a triplet of semiquavers (16ths) instead of demisemiquavers (32nds).
As timpani often reinforce and coincide with similar rhythms in other parts, I would look in e.g. brass parts and the rest of the percussion, if there’s any. It may give the solution. But that’s probably unneeded, superfluous and redundant advice…
Not having seen the rest of the score, my guess is:

(My first use of the slice function, yay!)