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 Stagehands scurried around packing up cellos, basses, timpani, pianos and other equipment. New York Times, 1 Oct. 2021 Despite intriguing instrumentation — two harps, timpani, celeste and two clear oboes among a more typical amount of strings, horns and flutes — the overall effect is not deep, but a rich tapestry is not what Shankar is going for here. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 7 May 2022 Then the music darts and lunges here and there, incorporating electric guitars, keyboards, timpani and shifting time signatures and tempos. Spin Staff, SPIN, 22 Apr. 2022 The Larghetto, for instance, was a marvel of technical and emotional craftsmanship, and by dipping so low in the Allegro, Tetzlaff left ample room for contrast and beautifully set up a fresh cadenza with timpani. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 15 Apr. 2022 Then, as if out of nowhere, a big double chorus, accompanied by an orchestra with timpani thumping, announces a grand Hosanna that lasts no more than 45 seconds for a dazzling but startlingly perfunctory blessing. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2022 The pedal-less timpani, smaller than modern drums and struck with wooden mallets, thundered in the hall when played by Maury Baker. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Mar. 2022 This orchestra consisted of twelve strings, two trumpets, timpani, harpsichord and organ. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Mar. 2022 The timpani were the rock stars of the fourth movement, hammering out vigorous counter-punches, but the woodwinds had been no less compelling earlier in their delicate evocations of birds and folk music. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 11 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

A love for education starts at an early age. The Reviews team researched the best science toys for kids to jumpstart their learning.

Learn More About timpani

Time Traveler for timpani

Time Traveler

The first known use of timpani was circa 1854

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near timpani

timpan

timpani

timpanist

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for timpani

Cite this Entry

“Timpani.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/timpani. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on timpani

Nglish: Translation of timpani for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about timpani

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!