Timpani are large drums that are common in most orchestras. Have you've ever heard something that sounded like thunder in a song? That's probably timpani!

You can also call timpani kettledrums. They're big percussion instruments that can be tuned to specific pitches using a foot pedal, and they're played with soft-headed mallets that professional timpanists usually make themselves. Today's timpani evolved from military drums used during the Civil War. When you're talking about one individual drum, call it a timpano.

Definitions of timpani
  1. noun
    a large hemispherical brass or copper percussion instrument with a drumhead that can be tuned by adjusting the tension on it
    synonyms: kettle, kettledrum, tympani, tympanum
    see moresee less
    type of:
    percussion instrument, percussive instrument
    a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by one object striking another
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