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Shawn Lafrenz
07-20-2008, 09:39 PM
So who was/is the greatest timpanist of all time? Goodman? Schwar? Duff? Firth? Rabbio? Komst? give me a list and we'll start a survey:

DrumYoda
07-20-2008, 11:29 PM
Start with Firth, Hinger and Goodman. Three names who are generally considered giants and who adamantly disagreed with each other in almost all areas of the instrument and approach.

Marimba6
07-21-2008, 08:01 AM
I would say, Cloyd Duff, Fred Hinger, Saul Goodman, Roland Kohloff and Vic Firth.

How about people that are playing or teaching currently?

John Tafoya and Tim Genis also spring to mind.

David Hollywood
07-21-2008, 08:34 AM
In my opinion it's Cloyd Duff. I'm also a fan of Richard Weiner, Tom Freer and Tim Adams if you want to talk about current players. Vic Firth is a legend for many reasons, but as a player only, I would take the names above.

drummaman1
07-21-2008, 09:02 AM
Some time ago, I attended a clinic with David Gross, timpanist with the Grand Rapids Symphony. He played excerpts from "Le Sacre du Printemps"....he was barely touching the drums and this amazing sound was coming out of them. I have a set of the mallets that he used to make before he sold the mallet making operation to Black Swamp. Still great mallets. Great modern timpanist.

David Hollywood
07-21-2008, 10:20 AM
David Gross is an excellent player... and a pretty nice guy too! I also like his mallets. Good call drummaman1!

motleyh
07-21-2008, 04:51 PM
I studied with 2 Goodman students (one of whom was Kohloff) and one Hinger student -- also with Fred Noak, who didn't get as much recognition because he was a generation ahead and played with the Met instead of a symphony. I'd have to give the pedestal to Goodman, for setting the bar, defining the role, and leaving a legacy of students in principal chairs all over the country.

barroomhero
07-21-2008, 04:56 PM
ME! Look for my work with the Staten Island Technical High School Concert Band.








I am sure you've heard of them... But in all seriousness I go with Firth or Goodman

David Hollywood
07-23-2008, 11:54 AM
How about Shawn Lafrenz??? He's a LEGEND in the Quad Cities and Cedar Rapids!!! :D :D :D

CharacterZer0
07-24-2008, 04:17 PM
Vic Firth, no contest

drummaman1
07-24-2008, 04:36 PM
Timpani is not like drum set....duh

we don't have "Modern Timpanist" magazine, so we can know who's the creme de la creme. I went to school with some AMAZING timpanists. All the symphony orchestras in Europe and Asia have BAD-A*S timpanists.

Guys like Goodman and Firth laid the groundwork, though.

DrumYoda
07-24-2008, 11:40 PM
Timpani is not like drum set....duh

we don't have "Modern Timpanist" magazine, so we can know who's the creme de la creme...

Interestingly enough, there actually was a short lived magazine called Modern Percussionist that was produced by the people at Modern Drummer. I believe that they decided that they couldn't compete with the PAS publications.

no.1cooldrummer
07-25-2008, 12:28 AM
WOW I DIDNT KNOW THERE WAS A TIMPANI SECTION
but in any event all great players, but to me i consider the greats to be people who i know or see. Sure the famous and well known are of course excellent players, but i narrow the scope a bit. I remember at a mixed practice with our band and rcc, rcc was warming up and their tympinist(yes it was marching timpani so it was a bit different than concert) was just fiddling around, o man he was so incredible. I don't really know his name, but he was very good.

David Hollywood
07-25-2008, 09:24 AM
Vic Firth, no contest

Well, again, it depends... are we talking about "chops" or "influence" on timpani? This happens a lot with set players... you get people trying to compare Virgil Donati with John Bonham. Having technical chops and being a great player or a huge influence on other musicians do not always go hand in hand. Many of the drummers with the best chops are unknown to most of the general public... but EVERYBODY knows Ringo! :) It's the same with timpani. Tim Adams has some of the best timpani chops ever (go to the Duff Class if you don't believe me) but he's not as famous or as influential as a guy like Vic Firth.

motleyh
07-25-2008, 08:34 PM
Timpani "chops" are irrelevant. It's about musicianship.

David Hollywood
07-28-2008, 08:58 AM
Chops are NOT irrelevant. Musicianship is more important, however, if you don't have any chops, you can't play any fast or difficult passages and that limits what you can play in terms of orchestral pieces and solos and who you can play with. You have to have basic "chops" to play anything at all. Also, when I talk about "chops", I'm not talking about just speed. Tim Adams can play fast, but he can also "bring out" the notes in a way that most people cannot. That's because he has great timpani chops and he knows the best techniques to bring out the best sound. That's what I would call "chops". The ability to judge when to use a specific technique is musicianship. Both are important in being a good timpani player.

David Hollywood
07-29-2008, 02:53 PM
Oh come on... doesn't anyone want to argue with me??? :D

promarky604
08-08-2008, 06:08 PM
What an interesting topic.
I played a little timpani in college with the symphony, and gee, I found it quite difficult.
But what an impact they make, especially when you hit that sweet spot and still get the timpani's perfectly tuned for the next passage. Not to mention, reading timpani music is way different than reading drum set music.

DrummerEH
08-10-2008, 04:16 PM
How about Shawn Lafrenz??? He's a LEGEND in the Quad Cities and Cedar Rapids!!! :D :D :D
Hey I've seen the QCSO many times he's great! Also Tony Oliver (my current teacher is good). You are great Shawn!
But for more well known people I would seperate them into two areas
1. the old: Firth, Hinger, Goodman, and Duff
2. The new: Tim Genis, Donald Koss (well he's kind of new), and David Gross

David Hollywood
08-11-2008, 10:54 AM
Good list! Yeah, Tony Oliver is a nice guy and from what I've heard, a great teacher. I'm sure you're learning a lot! :)

David Hollywood
08-12-2008, 10:56 AM
So right now we have:
Saul Goodman
Fred Hinger
Cloyd Duff
Vic Firth
Oscar "Papa" Schwar
Salvatore Rabbio
Marinus Komst
Roland Kohloff
John Tafoya
Tim Genis
Richard Weiner
Tom Freer
David Gross
Tim Adams
Donald Koss
and of course Shawn Lafrenz and Tony Oliver! ;)
I might add Paul Yancich to that list... do we have any others???

abugazi
08-21-2008, 06:32 PM
John Beck anyone? :D

DrummerEH
08-22-2008, 09:20 AM
John Beck anyone? :D\
Wow, I don't know why I didn't remember him, just look at all of the great students he's had.

David Hollywood
08-26-2008, 10:28 AM
John Beck anyone? :D

Of course! Good call. :D

DrummerEH
09-17-2008, 03:34 PM
After seeing and hearing more of Tim Adams I must say he would be added to my list.

motleyh
09-17-2008, 04:05 PM
Oh come on... doesn't anyone want to argue with me??? :D
Sorry, I would have, but I just saw this almost 2 months after the fact, so now it's too late for a good argument ...

Maybe another time.

David Hollywood
09-18-2008, 01:06 PM
After seeing and hearing more of Tim Adams I must say he would be added to my list.

Totally! You have to see Tim play to understand how amazing he is!

David Hollywood
09-18-2008, 01:07 PM
Sorry, I would have, but I just saw this almost 2 months after the fact, so now it's too late for a good argument ...

Maybe another time.

I'm sure we'll get another chance soon! ;)

DrummerEH
09-26-2008, 09:07 PM
Totally! You have to see Tim play to understand how amazing he is!
Yeah I mean the way he rolls is just unlike anyone I've ever seen. I wish I could sound like him!
Donald Koss is the same way, every time I see him I'm just in awe.

iwishihaddrummoney
10-12-2008, 02:58 PM
Yeah man. Tim Adams is awesome. It was once said that he could play so soft that "his jacket made more noise from him moving around than his actual stroke." :D

David Hollywood
10-13-2008, 10:36 AM
^ I'd believe it! That guy is SO good!!!

tension_bolt
02-01-2009, 05:28 PM
I canīt believe no one has mentioned Rainer Seegers, the timpanist for the Berlin Philharmonic! Fantastic touch and and excellent musicianship.

As for the chops-discussion going on here, I believe that such a word, which is often associated with speed/ the technical ability to fulfill the demands of the instrument, is not that relevant in this discussion. I agree completely that chops are necessary to become a great drummer/timpanist/percussionist, however I think that all the players mentioned in this thread are way beyond the level where you discuss whether they have good chops or not. Technical ability is just one out of so many things that are required for you to even consider auditioning for a position in a world class orchestra. I think itīs much more interesting to discuss styles and what makes any specific timpanist work so well with their respective orchestras!

When it comes to influence... it all depends on how famous the orchestra is, ya know? I know tons of fantastic timpanist second to none who havenīt been mentioned in this thread just because their orchestra is not world famous, although they could easily hang with them.

David Hollywood
02-02-2009, 03:07 PM
I canīt believe no one has mentioned Rainer Seegers, the timpanist for the Berlin Philharmonic! Fantastic touch and and excellent musicianship.

As for the chops-discussion going on here, I believe that such a word, which is often associated with speed/ the technical ability to fulfill the demands of the instrument, is not that relevant in this discussion. I agree completely that chops are necessary to become a great drummer/timpanist/percussionist, however I think that all the players mentioned in this thread are way beyond the level where you discuss whether they have good chops or not. Technical ability is just one out of so many things that are required for you to even consider auditioning for a position in a world class orchestra. I think itīs much more interesting to discuss styles and what makes any specific timpanist work so well with their respective orchestras!

When it comes to influence... it all depends on how famous the orchestra is, ya know? I know tons of fantastic timpanist second to none who havenīt been mentioned in this thread just because their orchestra is not world famous, although they could easily hang with them.

This is an excellent post. Thank you! :cool:

tension_bolt
02-02-2009, 06:37 PM
No man, thank you! I love these healthy discussions.

DrummerEH
02-03-2009, 01:29 PM
When it comes to influence... it all depends on how famous the orchestra is, ya know? I know tons of fantastic timpanist second to none who havenīt been mentioned in this thread just because their orchestra is not world famous, although they could easily hang with them.
True, it's sad that Tim Adams is not more famous, I mean the Pittsburg Symphony is some what world famous but and this is in no way meant to be a slam against him but I think he should be with a better and more famous symphony. But saddly the music world in the end is a business and part of success in business is knowing people. I also know tons of very talented orchestral percussionists, timpanists, solo marimba players, jazz, rock, and latin drum set players, jazz vibraphonists, hand drummers, composers, solo percussionists, and so on that haven't hit the big time because they don't know the people you need to know in order to do so.
But I still think it's possible to take a stab at who the greatest timpanists ever were and yes a lot of my list does come from influence but I've narrowed down to my top 3 (not these timpanists are all retired, I think current players like Tim Adams and Tim Genis are amazing but I think they need to keep in the business a bit longer to truly become the icons that these players were).
3. Vic Firth-Perhaps the most famous player for tweaking parts and changing things, there have been many players who have done this before and after him but he did it in such a stylists way.
2. Saul Goodman-I can't think of any teacher on any instrument that plays any style of music that has had more students become successful musicians. Also his playing was so colorful and he was in some ways a pioneer in getting the timpani to take on so many different roles in the orchestra.
1. Cloyd Duff-I have several sets of recordings of the Beethoven symphonies with some great players on them including, Vic Firth, Donald Koss, Rainer Seegers, Roland Kohloff, some more that slip my mind, and Mr. Duff. I don't know why but when I listen to Duff play on those recordings everything sounds exactly like how it should sound, his part on the 6th symphony is so powerful but he's not over powering the orchestra he just playing it so convictedly, and his part on 9 can almost bring tears to my eyes. What he could do on the instrument was truly amazing.
There's my list for what it's worth.

David Hollywood
02-11-2009, 09:54 AM
No man, thank you! I love these healthy discussions.

Me too! I just wish more people would post!

Marimba6
02-11-2009, 02:29 PM
How about a discussion about which timpani just aren't worth buying? I'll vote straight up for Ludwig. I don't think they have made a decent product in about 20 years.

One of the groups I play in is currently rehearsing at a middle school. They have a brand new set of Ludwig Hammered Bowls...which produce the most unfocused pitch I've ever heard. The drums seemed to have arrived not even tuned into the standard ranges. After much work with a pull-down gauge and a tuner the bottom 3 drums finally now sit in normal ranges, but still don't sound "clear". The 23" drum was shipped with the high pitch topping out at a D, and now when tuned properly from D-A (or B as Ludwig suggests) the low pitch D is way too floppy. I'm guessing that the head is ruined. Oh, did I mention these timps sound like ***? Maybe I'm just spoiled by using quality instruments like the Adams Professional or the Yamaha TP-6200.

David Hollywood
02-12-2009, 08:56 AM
Well, I'll say a few things about this. They still claim there are more Standard Symphonic Ludwig Timpani in use today than all other brands and models combined. This is actually probably true, however, those are not great drums. Ludwig is still by far the most common brand in High Schools and Junior Highs and they play a key role in the history and development of modern drums. They offer drums at a reasonable price and I've found from working with them over the past few years that they offer their customers and reatailers EXCELLENT service.

Also, it's important to note that the Professional Hammered Copper drums are not supposed to sound "clear". If you want that sound, you're better off with smooth copper. The hammering is going to cause the sound to be darker and less focused. Of course, that might not be what you mean... you might mean they sound like junk, so I apologize if I'm not reading your post correctly. I've used a lot of really old Ludwigs in my day and most of them were not that great. I don't think you can say they "aren't worth buying" as they are often the best option, in their price range, for schools or other places on a tight budget. However, I will agree that they are not the best sounding drums and if you're really serious about timpani, it's best to look towards Adams or Yamaha.

Marimba6
02-12-2009, 09:48 AM
Allow me to clarify. I have taught in public schools for 16 years. In that time I have used almost all currently available timpani, everything from Ludwig, Yamaha and Adams. Heck, before that I was a percussion buyer in for a large school educational supplier in Texas. I personally sold at least 20 different sets of timpani during that time and often traveled to set them up once on location. I do agree that Ludwig standard series is the most widely used timpani in schools, but I strongly also think that most other manufacturers produce better quality instruments for the price.

When I say "clear" I'm referring to the ability of an instrument to produce a round fundamental pitch. After you set up a new drum into the correct tuning ranges, use a pull-down gauge to have a good starting point and tune around the head using a strobe tuner most drums will pitch-up accurately. Timpani do have a weird overtone series (which is one reason inexperienced players tent to tune sharp) that emphasizes the upper overtones. That is the beauty of the timpani sound. Fundamental pitch with overtones that blend with the ensemble to produce a beautiful sonority. Think about what sets a Grover super overtone triangle apart from a LP triangle...even when played with good technique and an appropriate beater one of them will sound better than the other. Anyway, I'm familiar with good, and in some cases outstanding timpani sounds.

My rant from above has more to do with a brand new console, that arrived in what I considered to be an unusable condition. Heck, if it took me 2 hours with a tuner, pull-down gauge, a block of wood, a timpani key and a regular drum key to even get 3 of those drums to sound decent how in the world is your average 7th grader even supposed to learn how to tune and play that same set of drums? Easy answer...they wont.

Just my $0.02 worth. Sorry for derailing the thread.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming...

David Hollywood
02-12-2009, 10:42 AM
No problem! I really liked both of your posts. You make some excellent points. I agree with you that if something is hard for US to set up... how in the world would you expect your average wind player/band director or young percussionist to figure it out? It shouldn't take that long to get a good sound, it does sound like something is wrong with those drums...

04-15-2011, 11:42 PM
Many of these, "Modern", timpanists were taught by the master, Gerald Carlyss. But the greatest in my opinion, Goodman, Duff, Hinger in that order, but only for the US players. I don't know any of the European or South American players. I will put Mr. Firth in the lead for running a successful percussion business, but you gotta remove the pepper grinders from his sales numbers. If you need a guy to do the job right, TODAY, in the US, you gotta call Tafoya.