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 program includes Silverstre Revueltas, La noche de los Mayas, and two works by Philip Glass, Days and Nights in Rocinha and Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra (featuring Jim Atwood and Paul Yancich on timpani). Sue Strachan, NOLA.com, "Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra supporters celebrate at kick-off party before appearance at Carnegie Hall," 26 Feb. 2018 The soundtrack of the WWE Performance Center is the thump of human bodies against canvas mats, like a timpani drum being smacked with a shovel. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Million Dollar Moves: After His Unlikely Baseball Career Flamed Out, Rinku Singh's Next Stop Is WWE," 3 July 2018 Antonini cued principal David Herbert to let rip the roar of timpani that gives the Haydn symphony its nickname. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Avi Avital's brilliant debut highlights lively, engaging CSO program," 8 June 2018 Piccolo and timpani contributed to a hard-hitting storm. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra keeps the flame burning as 'The Prometheus Project' continues (review)," 14 May 2018 Willie will be using small percussion and vibes and timpani. Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle, "Galaxy of avant-garde sounds will play off planetary drawings," 25 Apr. 2018 What followed was a tour de force, a Rondo that swung wildly between unbridled zeal and ultimate refinement, all the way down to the last measures, when even the faintest of taps on the timpani made a deep impression. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra heats up Severance Hall on snowy night with Beethoven, Elgar (review)," 2 Mar. 2018 The piece started out with soft rolls by Maraca2 on medium gongs placed on the heads of timpani, with pedals altering the pitch. Richard S. Ginell, latimes.com, "L.A. Phil premiere finds its power in percussion, percussion and more percussion," 26 Jan. 2018 To be sure, the pianist’s comprehensive technique eased him deftly through the busy thickets of notes, while the finale carried palpable high-wire excitement when the big tune burst forth with a wallop of brass and timpani. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Conductor's firm control makes for satisfying Tchaikovsky with CSO," 15 Dec. 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

The first known use of timpani was circa 1854

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on timpani

Spanish Central: Translation of timpani

Nglish: Translation of timpani for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about timpani

Comments on timpani

What made you want to look up timpani? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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