View Full Version : Most difficult literature

01-19-2011, 02:12 PM
I am a timpanist going into college and was wondering what was the most difficult piece you've played on timpani. This can be either solo literature or a piece performed with a Band or Wind Symphony etc. Im looking for an exciting piece that through its difficulty will open up and expose me to new ideas and improve me as a player. Thanks! :)

08-14-2012, 11:19 AM
I only played tympani in high school but that was the percussion instrument that i played exclusively. One of my favourite, most difficult (its high school, come on, [but we had a killer band and band teacher who is a percussion major!] was October Mountain by Alan Hovhaness. Its hard to find a recording of it, but its a pretty eerie piece. I still get shivers.

Pearl bassist
08-14-2012, 11:23 AM
Ahhhhh! I love playing timpani I played exclusively in high school as well and we had one really hard piece but I can't remember it for the life of me! Sorry I couldn't be of more help let me know how it'll goes.

08-14-2012, 11:34 AM
You're not going to stress yourself out over it, but I think it's good for learning a diverse sound. This is the only recording that I could find of it and I bought this CD to get it. We played it before i heard this version, and i swear our version sounded EXACTLY like this recording. I highly reccomend picking up this disc if you have any interest in percussion at all; its classic. We also played Ostinato Pianissimo (I played the roto toms on this one, it was the closest thing to tympani in the piece haha) the same year so this CD was awesome for me.


This link has the proper track listing:


08-14-2012, 11:39 AM
Elliot Carter (still composing at 103!!) - Eight Pieces for Four Timpani

The piece "Canaries" is especially challenging. I had friends try and prepare this for college recitals and they end up playing one or two pieces at the most.

For ensemble stuff, pieces by Bartok (piano concerto no 2 specifically, the second movement features timp and piano) and Stravinsky (Rite Of Spring) are just two of the many challenging timpani parts out there. Mahler as well. Heck even Beethoven and Mozart have their challenges too, they shouldn't be overlooked either.

Prog Rocker
11-22-2012, 06:32 PM
Timepieces by Richard Power is quite difficult. Each movement focuses on a certain aspect of playing timpani. Mostly tuning.