Timpani Part Library - PDF Downloads

This page is the beginning of a long-term project. I plan to post many scanned pdfs from my extensive collection of timpani parts. Parts are included either by request or for one of these reasons:

Of course reason #1 is directly related to my part alteration discussion that begins here. With the advent of the IMSLP there is less and less need for reason #3, although none of those parts have any markings. Throughout my career I have saved copies of any parts of repertoire that have significant markings or that I may play again so I don't have to "reinvent the wheel" when the piece is repeated.

All of these parts are formatted to print on letter-sized pages (8 1/2" x 11"). This is less than ideal for music, but most people do not have printers that can handle larger paper sizes. I can supply full-sized copies on quality paper for a reasonable fee, contact me at the e-mail address below for details.

Generally my notation is a plain added note for a definite change. A note in parenthesis () is optional, or may just indicate the bass note for informational purposes. Notes in brackets [] may need the pitch adjusted slightly with the pedal to match others in the orchestra. I DO NOT recommend writing letter names for the altered notes.

Also I encourage anyone to contact me with suggestions for additions to this library.

Manuscript Parts

These MS parts are 2nd generation copies, since I wanted to keep the markings from my performances of these pieces. I've found if you have access to a large paper xerox machine, and enlarge the pages 125% and use manual contrast set 2 steps lighter than the usual setting - you will get a good result.

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (in score form)

This is the first of the manuscript parts copied out during my grad school days in Cleveland. The published parts for this piece are not in score form, so you can't see what your playing partner is doing. Which is the reason for this part and several of the others in this collection.

I have included the page of the score with the part for the timpani quartet in the 3rd movement so the English Horn part can be seen. I should have put more cues in my MS parts. I have always played the 2nd timpani part in this piece when I've been Principal, I feel it's more important.

Holst: The Planets (in score form)

Again, the published parts for this piece (now in the public domain) are not in score form. Bar numbers are included. It's especially useful to have the other part in front of you in this piece. I have never seen the need to edit this part as some do, especially the one section in Saturn. One of my favorite pieces...

Mahler: Symphony #1 (in score form)

This is a LARGE file. The published parts for this piece (and the other early Mahler symphonies that use 2 timpanists) have a separate part for timpani 1 & 2. This part is written in score form so you know what your colleague is playing. There are some discrepancies (mostly added notes) between this part and the Critical Edition score in the first 3 movements which have been corrected. If a section is marked in brackets, leave it out. Many players add a low D on the final note (2nd 1/4 of the last bar), but I do not.

Mahler: Symphony #2 (in score form)

Several notes here:

1. There is no page #5 in the part.
2. There are some corrections from the latest 2nd Critical Edition and measure numbers are included in this updated part.
3. A 3rd timpanist is needed in the 5th movement @ reh 20. for 14 bars. The easiest method is to have player #3 play the 2. part (i.e. the low F). That way s/he can play on one of the 2 sets without the need for yet another drum. A separate music stand (with pages 14 & 15 of this part) is useful.
4. It is useful to copy the score pages for the off-stage timpani part, even if it's played on stage.
5. Because of the low notes I use a 5-drum setup for this piece and I (as player 1) have the extra 33" drum in my setup. So some of the passages are changed in the last movement as a result. Those are marked in [brackets].

Mahler: Symphony #3 (in score form)

In this piece I use a special setup, 33" (known locally as Big Bertha), 31", 29", 26" and play the 2. part throughout. Mahler places the lower pitches in that part except for 5 after reh 60 which I play (low D). Otherwise we played it as written. It is VERY difficult to get the ending unison passages together in the final movement. Don't force the sound, it's only marked one f.

Mahler: Symphony #8 (in manuscript with all the tacet sections written out)

When a colleague complained about the tacet sections in the published part I wrote this part out, since I've owned the score to this piece for many years. I used it when I performed the piece later on in my career. It is rarely done with 2 players these days. It helps to have an oversized drum (Big Bertha again) for all the low Ebs. The published part is also available in the symphonic literature section.

Nielsen: Symphony #4 "The Inextinguishable", op. 29 (in score form)

Again, this part is in score notation, it makes it easier to coordinate the "duel" sections that way. This part has been updated to match the latest critical edition and includes measure numbers. Another one of my favorite pieces...

Sibelius: Symphony #2, D Major, op. 43

The reason this part is included in this section is because it was a particular favorite of Cloyd Duff and he didn't like the look of the published version, so I wrote out a MS part. There is now a new computer-generated edition that is a major improvement. I don't change a lot of notes but I really like all the ones in this part. Not all were my idea, some were from Mr. Duff, others from various conductors, some are my own. Of course pacing and complete control of all facets of the roll is the big challenge in this piece.

Stravinsky: Rite of Spring (page 1 only)

This is offered as a curiosity. Stravinsky used colored inks in his sketches for this piece so I thought I would as well as a tribute. Of course I've never used this original, I've always used a single color copy.

Stravinsky: Rite of Spring (MS - complete)

My version of this piece is very similar to what Cloyd Duff played. It didn't start out that way, I have gone back to his recommendations more and more as this piece has come around throughout my career. At least nowadays the standard Kalmus parts for this piece are legible (they didn't used to be), but I've always used this version.

Complete Opera Parts

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor

All Donizetti parts are a mess, this one is about as bad as they come. Some of the numbers (like the opening) are written as transposing parts, some are not. Always check for that in literature from this period. Also this part has the final aria transposed down a half step. At least with a timpani part that's easy to mark.

Verdi: Aida: Acts 1 & 2

Verdi: Aida: Acts 3 & 4

Of course with opera - don't trust markings of cuts or beat patterns, every production (and conductor) varies. This is typical Verdi, the part is a mess if you play the ink. Some of what I write is pretty difficult, don't feel you have to play all the alterations.

Verdi: Falstaff

By now Verdi's timpani writing is much improved, but some changes are still appropriate. There are no really adventurous passages in this one, it's all traditional writing. A delightful opera, if a little long...

Verdi: Otello

In addition to the altered notes there are a fair number of mistakes in this part that have been corrected. This is one intense opera. Interesting that by the time of these two late Verdi operas (Falstaff is the other) pedal timpani (and/or single screw models) were readily available but his writing didn't really change, except in a few places (bottom of p.1 for example) where you can see he expects rapid pitch changes to be available.

Verdi: Rigoletto

As Verdi operas go, this one works fairly well as written, probably about as well as any I've played. That said, in Verdi a few changes are always helpful. The end of Gilda's big aria (#6) is a good example of how well Verdi could write for timpani.

Verdi: La Traviata

This is a gnarly part (and opera IMHO). There are multiple editions with different rehearsal numbers, and the opera is often heavily cut. We just played this again and I had to have both parts out and switch back and forth. The banda part is included at the end, although it is rarely played in the pit.

Verdi: Il Trovatore

The first 3 rolls at the very beginning are SOLO. This is the opera that is parodied in the Marx Brothers movie "A Night at the Opera". It's an average Verdi part as far as note changes.

Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera

Typical gnarly Verdi opera part. Sorry it's so difficult to read, and watch the cuts in this one.

Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

This is a very demanding part, IMHO one of the most difficult pieces in our literature. Early Wagner is more likely to need some adjustments. This was a request, and it's unfortunate the part is so difficult to read. This is an excellent piece to acquire in the oversized hard copy format.

Symphonic Literature

Beethoven: Symphony #6, op. 68 "Pastoral"

This can be a problematic piece, sometimes conductors will want something really loud and/or edgy, which makes no sense given the rest of the orchestration and what Beethoven had available in his time. For example, Szell had Duff play doubled notes (on 2 drums) on the low F eighth notes in m. 42 & 46, and the 2 Cs in m. 55. Also a Bb & G are sometimes added on the downbeats of m. 53 & 54. I do not make these changes, but thought I would pass them on.

Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture, op. 9

We recorded this piece, so I gave it a little extra study and made the changes indicated. None are required by any means, as Berlioz wrote very well for timpani; but I've played them since we made the recording.

Bizet: Symphony in C (edited)

There are 2 editions of this piece. One is mostly C & G (Kalmus, etc.), the other is edited by the publisher (UE). This is the edited version; I make some additional changes.

Bizet: Symphony in C (original)

Here is the original version for comparison. You can see it's based on the same engraving and was published at a later (not earlier) date. I would expect the edited version was done by a conductor, likely Weingartner who premiered the piece in 1935.

Brahms: German Requiem

I change more in this piece than any other by Brahms. I have marked the altered notes I actually play with arrows. This part is just as challenging as the 2 difficult symphonies, #1 & #4.

Brahms: Symphony #4, e minor, op. 98

This was a request, I add the D in m. 204 to fill the empty measure in that sequence, this is common practice. This is a difficult part, with lots of technical and articulation challenges. And you have the possible range issues in the 3rd movement.

Brahms: Violin Concerto

Generally I don't change much in Brahms, but there are a few places that benefit from some adjustment. I don't actually play many of the () notes in the 3rd movement. The coda of this piece is a little tricky.

Chopin: Piano Concerto #1 - e minor, op. 11

This was a request, although the question was how to interpret the slashes, rolls or measured. In the 1st movement they are rolls, in the 3rd they are mostly measured (16ths). Any exceptions are marked in the part. Chopin did not write well for orchestra, so these piano concertos (there are 2) are problematic. I make fairly extensive note changes.

Delibes: Sylvia Ballet Suite

This is a good example of a French piece (early Durand edition) that definitely needs attention.

Debussy: La Mer

This was a request, this older Kalmus (Durand reprint) has many mistakes that have been corrected. The newer Kalmus version (ed. Nieweg) is better in that regard. How to handle the grace notes is the main issue in this part. Cloyd Duff liked them pretty open ("leave a space"). Some are placed on the beat, some are placed before the beat.

Dvorak: Cello Concerto, op. 104

This is a piece I've always really enjoyed playing. I don't change a lot, but I think the changes add a fair bit to the effectiveness of the piece. The duet with the soloist near the end is important, I have marked the rhythm the soloist plays.

Dvorak: Symphony #6, op. 60

This piece is about as bad as the 7th, the last movement needs the most attention. The Scherzo is tricky, and I don't change anything in that movement (although some are marked in ()s in the part).

Dvorak: Symphony #7, op. 70

This is the most problematic of the Dvorak symphonies by far (at least of those I've played). This part is similar to what Cloyd Duff played on the classic Szell recording.

Dvorak: Symphony #8, op. 88

The main changes are in the outer movements, especially the Finale. Again, this part is similar to what Cloyd Duff played on the classic Szell recording

Dvorak: Symphony #9 "From the New World", op. 95

Again not a lot of changes in this one. The solo in m. 22 should be one roll (according to the Critical Edition) but you still could get a request for the ink from some conductors. These days I'd play one roll at the first rehearsal. In the first movement I like to play the ink for the first ending of the exposition, then the Gs & Ds the second time through. Again, the Scherzo is a challenge.

Elgar: Cello Concerto, op.85

The issues in this piece are discussed elsewhere on the site here:

Ibert: Escales

This was a request. The piece does not need 4 drums, but one passage in the 1st movement is easier if a 4th drum is available. The main issue is what do with the double-headed notes in the 2nd movement. I think they indicate hand muffling, at least that's what makes sense after looking at the score.

Lalo: Cello Concerto

Another French piece that needs a rewrite in places. This part is actually pretty tricky for a concerto. His Symphonie Espagnole is worse.

Mahler: Symphony #8 (the published version)

For purposes of comparison here is the published part for the 8th Symphony with the tacets in the 2nd movement. Note that the part is marked "1. and 2. Pauken". This piece is rarely done with 2 players, however.

Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream (complete), op. 61

I don't change much in this, note the F#'s in the Overture at letter B and m. 350. The section from m. 419 - 427 is tricky - it's hard to get all the notes in - in time. Also you have to decide about muffling. Pay attention to the places where you imitate the donkeys braying. The final roll should not be changed, it gives the piece the "fairytale" quality that is intended. The hairpin is only on the last bar, and is often given by the conductor.

If you play any of the music besides the Overture, Scherzo (No. 1) or the Wedding March (No. 9 - watch the repeats!) be VERY careful about the "road map" of what sections are played in what order. It's a "mine field" and never done the same way twice in a row.

Mendelssohn: Elijah, op. 70

This was a request, this part is actually OK as written, I don't make too many changes. Make sure you have the correct cuts and other markings as this piece will rarely be performed without them. Interesting that one of the more popular period instrument recordings actually makes changes in the timpani part. A wonderful piece.

Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto #1

I've had several requests for this part after I mentioned it in my article. There are alternate rhythms written under the printed ones in a few places that match the orchestra better.

Mendelssohn: Overture to Fingal's Cave

A few Ds make this more palatable. Conductors may ask for different dynamics and/or attacks for the rolls that depict the waves.

Mendelssohn: Symphony #1

We just performed this earlier this season. It's not that bad as written actually. I will post all the Mendelssohn symphonies except for #2 which is a choral piece that I've never played.

Mendelssohn: Symphony #3 "Scottish"

Of course there's the well-known misprint in the 3rd movement (first entrance), it's a 16th note not an 8th. It helps to break up all the As and Es in the outer movements with some changes, otherwise things get repetitive.

Mendelssohn: Symphony #4 "Italian"

Anytime the part is mostly for 2 drums tuned a fifth apart - you have to adjust for that fact. I don't change a lot in this piece, note the D rolls going into letter E. Also the B roll in m. 546 - 549 in mvt. 1. In the final Saltarello it is common to play a B the last beat before letter A. This is a classic "seventh of the chord" spot - if there ever was one. I set up 2 As at the end, the larger drum muted for the rhythmic solo in m. 258 & 259, then switch over to the 29 for the rest of the piece.

Mendelssohn: Symphony #5 "Reformation"

Another piece that has been requested because of my article. The 2nd movement is the problematic one (timpani has D and A - the piece is mostly in Bb Major).

Puccini: Preludio Sinfonio

This is an early student work of Puccini that has been played a lot in recent years after this new edition came out. The editor should have revised the timpani part, it's a mess as written. The mature Puccini wrote pretty well for timpani.

Rachmaninov: Symphony #2 in e minor

Generally I don't change a lot in Rachmaninov, but there are quite a few errors in this part and after some recent discussions with colleagues I decided to give it another pass for some recent performances. Note that by now it is traditional to add a low E as the final note of the first movement.

Ravel: G Major Piano Concerto

This part is included by request. There's not much in it, at least the cue after the tacet section section in the last movement is easy to pick up.

Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole

This part is included because there are many mistakes in the standard Kalmus edition (Durand reprint), mostly dynamic errors. Also note the changed notes 2 before reh. 29, those are in the score and work very well.

Rossini: Semiramide Overture

Be very careful about editions with Rossini, there are many different versions of most anything. This part is edited a fair bit but I think it benefits from the changes.

Saint-Saens: Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah

This part is difficult to find and is sometimes on audition lists. There is a missing bar (m. 317) in the part that will cause a premature entrance at the big ff solo if not corrected.

Schubert: Overture in the Italian Style in C Major - D. 591

There are of TWO of these Schubert overtures "in the Italian Style", this one in C Major D. 591 and another in D Major D. 590. This is a common source of confusion. As is often the case in Schubert having a third note available, in this case first an E then a D enables you to stay with the trumpets better.

Schubert: Symphony #2 in Bb Major

This was a request. This symphony is in Bb, the part is a TRANSPOSED part, printed in G & C but in the outer movements you play Bb & F (transpose down a major second like a Bb Clarinet or Trumpet). Note the indication "B F" at the beginning, this is a German spelling, B in German is B FLAT. B natural in German is spelled H. Also note the 3rd movement does NOT transpose, it is played C & G as printed and is so indicated at the beginning of that movement. Confusing, but watch for transposed parts in literature from this period, especially older editions. I came out of retirement and played this piece recently (late September 2018). The library gave me a new edition (Bärenreiter) but the part is STILL transposed as before. This is the only Schubert symphony that has a transposed part and I can't imagine why Bärenreiter kept that notation in this new edition.

For me this is the most problematic of his symphonies. The register is low, so articulation is an major issue. I mute the drums even in a regular performance to help with that. There are places where I actually play Cs and not Bbs (a fair number) and I mark "C" as a reminder, which again - can be confusing. This would be a good part to re-do from scratch with a notation program at some point to simplify the mental gymnastics.

Schubert: Symphony #3 in D Major

This piece at least has an accurate edition. Note in Schubert what looks like diminuendos are actually accents. Sometimes he has timpani playing 7ths for extended sections where no one else has that note, there are several examples in this piece.

Schubert: Symphony #4 in C minor "Tragic"

This part has both multiple errors and benefits from some changes. The score also has misprints. Thanks to Jacques Remy (Orchestre de Paris) for some of the altered notes in this part.

Schubert: Symphony #6 in C Major "Little C Major"

This part runs kind of midway for Schubert, a 3rd note (usually D) is a big help to stay with the brass. And I add some notes to the print for the same reason. I don't play very many of the notes marked in parentheses ().

Schubert: Symphony #8 in B minor "Unfinished"

The changes in the 1st movement are pretty straightforward. I don't change anything in the 2nd movement. See the above notes for the 3rd symphony about diminuendos that should be accents. They are marked in this part.

Schubert: Symphony #9 in C Major "The Great"

This was a request, I will eventually post all my Schubert Symphony parts. Most of the changes are in the outer movements.

Schumann: Overture, Scherzo and Finale, op. 52

This piece has better writing than many Schumann parts, but (1) is a little obscure, and (2) benefits a lot from the addition of a 3rd note (F# in this case). The extra rehearsal numbers are from a specific conductor and won't necessarily match those from someone else.

Schumann: Piano Concerto

The beginning of a large collection of Schumann parts. The passage at Letter A that is mentioned in the Blades book as a possible clef error is accurate but probably not the reason it was written that way. In any case the resulting notes in treble clef would be way too high. It's a simple case of questionable writing. I also make a few other changes, and don't forget the final roll is a solo...

Schumann: Symphony #1 "Spring", op. 38

Generally these altered Schumann symphony parts are pretty ambitious, for me the works seem to need it. This one and #4 are by far the most problematic. The range is an issue here, I use an extra low drum. In these pieces play underneath the orchestra most of the time - except for a few places like the solo at the end of #2.

Schumann: Symphony #2, op. 61

This one needs the least alteration, in fact it plays pretty well as written. Articulation is a challenge. The last minute or so of this piece is one of my favorite places in the literature.

Schumann: Symphony #3 "Rhenish", op. 97

This one benefits a lot from some added high fs. I have tried to write in the Szell version by using brackets. He thinned out a lot of things, but I wouldn't leave anything out unless you've cleared it with the conductor first. Again, a piece that needs to be played underneath the strings.

Schumann: Symphony #4, op. 120

This one is thorny, there's no other word to describe it. At least the range is less of an issue. This one is often quoted in books as an example of problematic timpani writing.

Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier Suite

I made a few changes to match the full opera score better. This is the most common version of the waltz excerpt.

Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini

There are a number of errors in this part. I also change some notes.

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto #1

This is an awkward part, the ranges are a problem. I've had many requests to re-write the opening fanfare, I think my solution works very well. I just played this and played all the changes that were NOT in ()s. Usually Tchaikovsky wrote well for timpani, but this part is an exception.

Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty Suite

I have posted this as a very good example of a cross tuning (1st movement). There's also a misprint in the 2nd movement.

Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani Overture

This part was a request from an Italian percussionist. Generally I am less likely to alter Verdi overtures than complete operas - but this piece is an exception.

Verdi: Requiem

This part is the main example I use in my part alteration method article. Some of the changes I have written are difficult and not all need be played.

Walton: Crown Imperial (orchestral version)

This part was posted by request. There are some major differences between this version and the band arrangement, which was the reason for the request.

Wagner: Rienzi Overture

This part was posted by request. Early Wagner needs some adjustments, as you can see in this part. There are also a few simple mistakes.

Wagner: Siegfried's Funeral Music (original)

This part was posted by request. It includes everything in the original Funeral Music section (both parts) of the complete opera Götterdämmerung - with the original part distribution indicated. It also includes the standard concert ending.

Wagner: Siegfried's Funeral Music (one player version)

This part was posted by request. It is a one-player (my) version of the Funeral Music section of the complete opera Götterdämmerung. It is almost identical to the part written and used by Cloyd Duff. It includes the standard concert ending.

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