Wikipedia:Today's featured article/April 13, 2005

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A standard set of timpani consists of four drums

Timpani are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl commonly made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a special drum stick called a timpani stick. Unlike most drums, they produce a definite pitch when struck. Timpani evolved from military drums to become a staple of the classical orchestra in the 17th century. Today, they are used in many types of musical ensembles including concert, marching, and even rock bands. The basic timpano consists of a drumhead stretched across the opening of a bowl typically made of copper or, in less expensive models, fiberglass. The drumhead is connected to a hoop, which is then attached to the bowl via a number of tuning screws called tension rods placed regularly along the circumference. The head's tension can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the rods. Most timpani have six to eight tension rods. (more...)

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