tim·​pa·​ni | \ ˈtim-pə-nē How to pronounce timpani (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of timpani

: a set of two or more kettledrums played by one performer in an orchestra or band

Examples of timpani in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The finale excited in all the right places as swift dynamic adjustments let the orchestra, conducted by Sinclair, be its own echo as the timpani rumbled. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, 28 Feb. 2021 At the end, a timpani roll is muted to sound almost gonglike, with Ms. Koh’s violin a coppery tremble above it. New York Times, 1 Jan. 2021 Lindberg’s Absence calls for the same scoring — strings, timpani and pairs of winds, horns and trumpets — that Beethoven used in most of his symphonies. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 6 Nov. 2020 The challenges are built into the Ginastera, pitting the harp against an orchestration including trumpets, horns, timpani and tom-toms. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 25 Sep. 2020 Its rambunctious opening in E-flat major grabs our attention before shifting surprisingly into the actual D-major home key for the bustling march theme, its infectious rhythm punctuated by bold timpani figures. Barrymore Laurence Scherer, WSJ, 4 Sep. 2020 The timpani take command, as drums never had before in any music outside the military. Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2020 Even trombones and timpani got carried away here and there. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 29 Feb. 2020 Struggle, that is, until Primo wins his brother Secondo’s heart with a glorious pair of timpani. Craig Cavallo, Saveur, 31 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'timpani.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of timpani

circa 1854, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for timpani

Italian, plural of timpano kettledrum, from Latin tympanum drum — more at tympanum

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Time Traveler for timpani

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The first known use of timpani was circa 1854

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Cite this Entry

“Timpani.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/timpani. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of timpani

music : a set of two or three large drums (called kettledrums) that are played by one performer in an orchestra

More from Merriam-Webster on timpani

Nglish: Translation of timpani for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about timpani


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