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Another notation question - tympani

erica-grace

Senior Member
Hi again

If I want the tympani roll to sound as below, do I notate the first note on the next bar, or leave that blank?

tymp.jpg

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/tymp-mp3.20787/][/AUDIOPLUS]
 

Attachments

JohnG

Senior Member
Hi Erica,

It's closer to the second one. I tie the first note to the downbeat of the next bar, but instead of a quarter note there (crotchet) put an eighth note (quaver) with an accent mark on it, since your audio seems to indicate a decisive hit on that downbeat. You don't put tremolo / roll marks on the downbeat note.
 

VinRice

... i am a robot ...
Exactly what John said. I've just been hitting the books on Timp notation for a piece. I love Timpani. A Crescendo hairpin might be appropriate as well.
 

JT

Senior Member
You also might include a l.v. after the last note.

l.v. means to let vibrate, as opposed to dampening the sound.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
Screen Shot 2019-06-23 at 1.42.53 PM.png

I have a similar spot in a score I'm finishing up. I didn't put the accent mark on the downbeat but it has the direction "let ring." The timpanist is not a native English speaker, so I added "(do not mute)" just to be super-redundantly clear.

Also I have him using harder mallets earlier, so that's why the direction for normal timpani mallet.
 

Pietro

Senior Member
John, I'd say less is more. So simple "l.v." or an untied slur for the final note would work well in your case.

And in case of changing mallets, 1 second to do so is not enough. Unless your player has two sided mallets. Which is not default, yet, I think.

- Piotr
 

JJP

I put dots and lines on paper.
View attachment 20816

I have a similar spot in a score I'm finishing up. I didn't put the accent mark on the downbeat but it has the direction "let ring." The timpanist is not a native English speaker, so I added "(do not mute)" just to be super-redundantly clear.

Also I have him using harder mallets earlier, so that's why the direction for normal timpani mallet.
Hey John, I'd rather see a hanging tie on that downbeat, either with or without a redundant "l.v.". That removes the need for all the text. A hanging tie can be understood by any timpanist and requires no reading.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
Hey John, I'd rather see a hanging tie on that downbeat, either with or without a redundant "l.v.". That removes the need for all the text. A hanging tie can be understood by any timpanist and requires no reading.
I agree, but I don't actually know how to do that in Finale! Also, it's a Japanese orchestra and honestly I don't know what they are accustomed to.

But one unusual aspect: they will actually rehearse the piece ahead of time!!
 
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The Darris

Senior Member
View attachment 20816

I have a similar spot in a score I'm finishing up. I didn't put the accent mark on the downbeat but it has the direction "let ring." The timpanist is not a native English speaker, so I added "(do not mute)" just to be super-redundantly clear.

Also I have him using harder mallets earlier, so that's why the direction for normal timpani mallet.
This isn't the best way to approach that. As a percussion player, I'd prefer that you don't use rests when you want something to ring or "vibrate." Simply tie that roll to the whole note and use, "l.v." which is the universal lingo for don't mute. Of course, you could keep the rests but it logistically, for site reading, would work better the other way.

As for the mallets. Usually, we use Soft, Med, or Hard to describe the type of mallets. Normal is typically Medium mallets so it's good to use a consistent form of description for the types of mallets, especially if you are doing stick changes throughout a piece.

Obviously you are communicating with your player which is great but if you publish this piece, you need to think about the masses versus just the individual player. Instructions like these can be seen as micro-managing, especially when there is a standard format for notating the instructions you've given. Also, they are cumbersome. Keep it simple and let the player make their own annotations in the part for their own performance decisions.

If you'd like a great percussion notation reference, I'd suggest checking out both "Music Notation by Gardner Reed" and "How to write for Percussion by Samuel Solomon." I wish I could give you an exact example (with pages) from the books but I recently just packed them up as I'm moving soon. Both are wonderful references to have nearby when notating your music.

Best,

Chris

PS: If you want to see really well done Timpani notation in the context of large scale works for ensembles, look up the music of David Manslanka. He passed away a few years ago but his site is still active and I believe you can access some PDF's of select scores (most are hand written, including the parts).
 

JJP

I put dots and lines on paper.
This isn't the best way to approach that. As a percussion player, I'd prefer that you don't use rests when you want something to ring or "vibrate." Simply tie that roll to the whole note and use, "l.v." which is the universal lingo for don't mute. Of course, you could keep the rests but it logistically, for site reading, would work better the other way.
Actually, I've seen this raise more questions than answers in recording situations because it's not the typical way of notating today. If you put the whole note, percussionists will often assume the roll indication was accidentally omitted.

The "l.v." indication over the whole note usually doesn't eliminate the confusion, but adds to it.

At least with rests it's very clear that they should not be striking the drum.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
I think the main thing is clarity. I have never heard of having pitches someplace (not tied that is) when you're not hitting something, but maybe that could work too, IDK.

Been doing this for 25 years and not had too many miscommunications (or else I blotted them out of memory...). I favour too much information rather than not enough, but I also agree that the less ink the better; sometimes it can be tough to balance.

But really, anything that is clear, is clear. I usually write "l.v." in Los Angeles but I'm not going to be there. Since it's a foreign country where I've never recorded, better safe than sorry. Worked in Canada, London, around the USA, but never in Japan before.

Besides, I sent a score yesterday and we won't be recording until October so there's lots of time to answer questions.
 
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The Darris

Senior Member
Actually, I've seen this raise more questions than answers in recording situations because it's not the typical way of notating today. If you put the whole note, percussionists will often assume the roll indication was accidentally omitted.

The "l.v." indication over the whole note usually doesn't eliminate the confusion, but adds to it.

At least with rests it's very clear that they should not be striking the drum.
I can see that for recording I guess. However, I don't think "l.v." adds to confusion. As a player, I've learned to play what is written. It's not my place to decided or question if there is a typo, unless it doesn't fit in some musical way. That's when you raise the question with the conductor/director for them to clarify. (e.g; note checks, rhythms, etc.) I was referring more for concert style notation. I just finished a 3 year run with a local wind ensemble playing timpani, almost exclusively, and I'm just relaying what I've seen the most of in modern music notation for that instrument.

As long as it's clear what the player needs to do, then it's good. It's just usually better to keep it minimal in words and explanation, especially if there are already standard markings out there to describe how to play the bar. To each their own though, I guess.

-C
 

JohnG

Senior Member
People get very excited about notation. It does vary from place to place, though. In Nashville, rhythm section players use roman numeral chord symbols, for instance, so they can change keys fast.

Just recorded in London, though, and used "regular" symbols, though even that can start arguments depending on whether someone's raised with jazz symbols or not.

I sometimes write a whole paragraph if I want a special effect. It is clumsy but I've heard J. Williams does it, and for sure it eliminates discussion.

In general though, if you are in Los Angeles and expect sight-reading, it's going to be "less is more," but the version of "less" is what's common here.
 
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