How to Play the Timpani
Where to place the timpani
German-style and American-style placement
There are two styles of timpani layout: the German style and the American style.
Traditionally, the German style places the large timpani at the right side of the player, and the smaller timpani progressively to the left. In other words, the drums going toward the right sound lower.
On the other hand, beginning in the U.S. and in other countries, the direction is reversed, with the timpani with higher pitches laid out towards the right. This is a logical arrangement like a piano keyboard, where the notes go from lower to higher, left to right. The timpani that began to be used widely in Japan were from the U.S.A., so the American timpani layout is used.
Two types of pedal positions
Different pedal positions are also used on the timpani. For some German timpani, the pedal is moved laterally and then attached. This configuration makes the pedals easier to press when four timpani are used in a row.
On the other hand, many timpani that were developed in the U.S. and in other countries have a pedal in the center, so that the timpani arrangement can be changed freely.
Although instruments are chosen based on the performance format and genre, making it difficult to generalize, we can say that although the timpani belongs to a traditional world, it continues to evolve based on ideas that make performance more practical.