A kettledrum is a very large drum typically consisting of a drum head stretched across a copper bowl. Most large orchestras include kettledrums in their percussion section.

A typical set of kettledrums has four different sizes of drums, but some orchestras have eight or more. If you've ever noticed a sound like thunder in a classical piece of music, you're probably hearing the kettledrum. The word comes from the kettle-like shape of the drum's bowl, and kettledrums are also commonly called timpani.

Definitions of kettledrum

n a large hemispherical brass or copper percussion instrument with a drumhead that can be tuned by adjusting the tension on it

kettle, timpani, tympani, tympanum
Type of:
percussion instrument, percussive instrument
a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by one object striking another

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.