Multidisciplinary composer, drummer, keyboardist, voxslinger, and music director. Sometimes draws album cover art.
Meeps plenty. Especially loves drumming.
Send enquiries via DM or my email at mail@troisnyx.co.uk

Annette Walker @Troisnyx

Age 31, she/they

Music Director

Lancashire, UK

Joined on 6/26/11

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9y 1m 15d

I need some percussion help

Posted by Troisnyx - February 16th, 2014

Hey everyone.

Someone *coughyourstrulycough* is going to be a timpanist pretty soon.

...And I'm worried. I cannot cheat my way out of a drum roll by letting the sticks bounce on the head anymore. Timpani mallets are soft, so we can rule out the bouncing.

I need help doing proper, clean-sounding single-stroke rolls. I fear the exhaustion this will bring. Anyone know any guidelines for this? Wrist techniques, etc.? It'll be much appreciated!


Uhm, try to practice this weird method first:
1) Take a pen, or something sturdy that you can hold in one hand.
2) Put your hand holding that item under a table surface, or under some other sturdy flat surface.
3) Move your body close to your hand.
4) Start shaking your whole arm with the item held in your hand to produce rapid hitting sounds of two sturdy objects.

When you get the feel of it, I think you can pretty much cheat your way around anything.

I had a go with my bare hands just now -- I may use pens later -- but I do wonder just how heavy the mallets are, if at all they are. o.O

Hm, that I do not know. Won't know until I try.
I am very much interested to read about your experiences after you try using mallets.

I'll be sure to let you know! : ) Hopefully, if I have a recording device in hand, you may be able to see an attempt or two.

Not too sure about the other guy's advice, but considering the timpani is single-stroke, you should concentrate on your time precision.

The easiest and most assured way of doing so is by practicing rudiments. Play stuff like eighth-notes at 90 bpm with a metronome and focusing on precision of attack, making sure that you're hitting EXACTLY on time and PERFECTLY between beats.

Once you're certain that you're able to sustain a constant streak of synchronized strokes, raise the tempo in small increments, always making sure that you're capable of keeping a steady pace of strokes. Once you've attained 200 bpm, bring it back to 100, but count it double time, meaning you're now playing sixteenth-strokes. Rinse and repeate ad nauseam.

You can do variations of this, like doing 8th-16th-16th or 16th-16th-8th or tuplets and so forth, but the most essential part in the exercise is the METRONOME. IT ONLY is the holder of absolute time-control, and it can NEVER be wrong. Let it be your guide when you practice, and NEVER practice without. That actually goes for every instrument you practice. If you,re not practicing with a metronome, you'll never learn to be rhythmically independant, and that's just no good.

Anyways, hope you'll find something useful in this, and best of luck with your timpanical debutes! :)

Cheers; thanks for the advice! I'll ask if I can borrow the mallets, or a metronome for that matter. I could practice while having an online metronome in hand. Will let you know how it's going!

Can't offer any advice, have never been very musical in the past, let alone drummer material!

Camoshark looks like he's nailed it, by the looks of that colossal reply. I wanted to ask: is it possible for you to make your Soundcloud stuff downloadable? I know they were made a while back, but I really like what you have there: it'll be nice to take them with me when I'm out.

Anyway, it's great to hear productive news on your side! Do take care.


I'll try do that at some point. Perhaps the WIP and Reject Reels? : )

What exciting news! I am thrilled you are learning my most beloved instrument.

On the advice front, ditto camoshark. The first thing I learned in my percussion methods course was the eighth note exercise.

On a side note, I am now very curious how you were lucky enough to gain access to the timpani. I am rather envious. In my percussion methods course, we had access to the timpani for about ten minutes and that was that. I think I struck it once.

It's your favourite instrument? Wow. <3 I can't say I know what it is; I just enjoy drums in general.

You see, the parish church I'm in, St Wilfrid's (at Preston Centre)... I sing in the choir there. Now they've got an organ, but I also noticed that on the side of the loft, they had two timps. Baroque configuration of course -- tonic, dominant. I learned that on Holy Saturday / Easter Sunday we go guns blazing on the orchestral percussion. The sad thing was, the previous timpanist wasn't able to help out -- he was taking young people to Lourdes for Easter and he was really feeling stressed.

So on Sunday after Mass the choirmistress approached me and had the batons pass to me (pardon the pun). I handled the bodhrán for Christmas Vigil, and the choir was aware I had a thing for percussions, so it fell into place.

The funny thing was, the Monday before she told me this, I was ACHING to beat those timps. I can't say I know why -- it was just a deep desire to drum for the good Lord. I wanted to tell her at some point, perhaps during practice, or after Mass. I didn't get to tell her anything -- but she somehow read my mind. Or maybe she didn't. The good Lord works in mysterious ways.

The Reels along with 'Reflexions in the Water', since I can either buy or download the other songs from here or Bandcamp. Do let me know if you release anything new on there.

All the best, Troisnyx and good luck with all the er...timpanist-related stuff. :P


Im a huge shuck with percussion unless you quiry on ethnic drums, somehow i fight the fifty armed god of the jungle with that.

I think a good tip would be to make use of rattles alot (i do that manually, dunno if other people use 'samples' but just go from low to high sound on tamtams etc, that seems to work)

(sorry if this is super amateuristic percussion advice, like i said its not my strong point :þ )

No worries. This was about playing the timpani with my own hands, rather than using soundfonts or sampling. Yes, I get to take the mallets out for a spin. ^_^